Thursday, March 5, 2009

Road to Nowhere/Boundary Water Canoe Trip 1978 part #1

The weather is turning somewhat warmer...55 today, but windy and clouds out in force, makes yesterday's sunny and cool weather seem more pleasant. More rain and warmer for the next few days, topping out Saturday with 68 and thunderstorms for the weekend...back to cooler weather next week. Local Baseball rules meeting at Van Wert last night, 3 down, so I only need one more, but will probably attend 6 or 7 of them. My schedule is pretty well full, including at least one weekend of Tournaments, so far a Sectional Final double header way north in Bascom(Hopewell-Louden) on May 16th...Sam and I did their finals last year, and weather permitting, we do it again this season.

Speaking of 27 he will play baseball for Ohio State-Lima this season...after 10 years of nothing more than slow pitch softball, he will try his luck at college baseball...right now he says he is in line to be the team's DH, with some first base time...their season begins with a round-robin at Xenia on March 14th...sounds cold to me, my first scrimmage contest is at Russia(Rue-she) Ohio on March 21st...once again, weather permitting.

Boundary Water Canoe Trip 1978______

Patricia and I moved to a rental farm outside of Wausau, Wisconsin, in the fall of 1977....I worked at the local ski hill that fall and winter, also did some bartending...I entered Trans American School of Broadcasting in February of 78. Patricia meanwhile was working for an investment company in Wausau called Nationwide Investments, later in 1978 she would switch to secretarial work at Wausau South Hospital. Getting ahead of myself though. My old DJ buddy Jim Olson(see previous "Road to Nowhere" posts) had moved back to North Dakota in 1976...and our move to Wisconsin gave us a chance to get together on occasion...usually at a Twins or Minnesota Golden Gopher game.

In the spring of 78 Jim gave me a call, and asked if I was up to a June trip to the Boundary Canoe Waters of northern Minnesota...seems a handful of friends of his were planning a 4 or 5 day trip to the wild country. The plan was to pack up enough food and gear for a few days and do some primitive camping. Now Olson wasn't much of an outdoors man{still isn't to this day}, I was, but my camping was usually with my wife, and our idea of primitive camping was to spend a day or two at a campground in northern Michigan where they had outhouses, then head to a modern campground with showers and hot running water for the rest of the trip. No showers or hot water{unless you boiled your own) on the islands of Moose Lake or the surrounding small unnamed lakes...

The trip was set for early June 1978. Jim and I would meet at Duluth, Minnesota, jump into one car(mine) and head to Ely, Minnesota, on the edge of the Boundary Water area. From there we would drive the back roads to the next 20 miles where our rental Canoe would be waiting for us at Tom and Woods Outfitters(Tom and Woods famous for outfitting Canoe Trips to the Boundary Waters several years ago became Williams and Hall Outfitters):

Jim and I had packed our own supplies including my old Air Force duffel bag filled with several cases of "short neck" bottles of Old Style Beer...bottles were a no-no in the BW, as were cans....if you were to bring beer, soda pop, or anything else like those into the waters, you would be fined....being young and not real bright at times, we decided the Hell with that...we needed some beer, and it wasn't going to be in plastic milk jugs. The rest of the guys(and one of the gang's wife, who was along to cook and help us fish) were ahead of us. They carted along a few jugs of whiskey...

Olson and I decided to down a few beers in town(Ely) before heading to Moose Lake and our push-off point...that was our second mistake, the first being we over packed for this trip, not realizing that we had a "portage" of a mile at our exit point from Moose Lake to our little lake, one called Finch, just a mile off the shore of Moose Lake....

The story of our "portage" and the 4 day camping/fishing/drinking trip begins tomorrow.

"How to Portage a Canoe"@

When you have a large canoe, and 3 times the equipment and supplies you can carry...a mile portage 3 times and back, especially when have assed drunk is really stupid....but the thing memories are made of.

back tomorrow with part 2>>>>>

Photos--Top Left...Our Island on Finch Lake as it looks today, somehow I found this photo on

I could not believe I found a photo of it, it looks almost like the photo{albeit much better quality than my old "Brownie"} that I took in 1978.

Since Canoe Country offered this as a free "desktop" photo I assume I can use it...if not they can let me know....the small flat rock Island(foreground) is where we took to fishing when the sun was you can see from my photo from the rock to our Island camp, things have not changed much in 30 years. Maps...Finch Lake is the small lake just about a mile north of Moose Lake...from Google Maps, you can see the area we had to portage. More photos tomorrow.


FHB said...

I'd LOVE to go on a trip like that. Spent some time at Algonquin Prov. Park in Ontario, back in 95 or so. So I understand the portage issue. We had to lug our packs and canoes over several, including one long one. Great times though. I'd do it again in a heart beat.

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