Hitch #1—An adventure in the rain

By William Thompson

Day 1. At 6 am alarm clocks sounded the start of our first hitch. Sun shining above, we loaded our truck, picked up our canoe trailer, and started on the four hour dive to the BWCAW (Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness). After a stop for gas and snacks, we rolled into the Brule Lake parking lot. With a sense of joy we unloaded our truck and enjoyed a quick turkey sandwich in the parking lot.

Paddles finally in the water we set out across Brule Lake. After thirty minutes of paddling winds began to pick up on the lake causing large swells. With the weather in mind, we began our search for a campsite. We looked for over an hour, but had little luck. Unable to find a campsite, we trekked to the next lake up and set up shop. Finding a wonderful little campsite on an island, we settled in for the night anxious for our first strenuous day of work.

Day 2. The next day brought an unexpected turn of events. After breaking down camp and preparing to leave for the day, the weather report predicted a grim forecast of high winds and thunder storms. We quickly set up camp again and began a day of learning. We inventoried plants on the island and talked about risk management for part of the day before calling it quits and settling down. We also a learned how to play Carcassonne (a wonderful board game).

Day 3. Eager to set out on Day 3, we got up and prepared for the long day ahead. This day marked our first full day of work and paddling. In a glorious fashion, we paddled 14.5 miles, portaged 310 rods (rod = 16.5 ft) and crossed 5 lakes. Along with this we inventoried 8 weed sites and began to understand the work in front of us. At days end most people seemed pretty exhausted, but happy none the less.

Day 4. With Day 4 came another hard day of work with 8 miles of paddling and 13 new weed points. During the day we encountered hawkweed and the occasional oxeye daisy. The day went as planned and seemed normal. While sitting around cooking dinner, a brilliant flash and a tremendous boom entered our camp. A minute later we found ourselves in a large thunderstorm and with it, in lighting position. Lighting position is a flat footed squat, and it’s not very comfortable to sit in for any length of time. While in the lightning position a chorus of songs broke out among the group and lifted sprits a bit. An hour later we were free from our awkward squat and allowed to eat our much awaited dinner. Most of the crew was pretty soggy from sitting in the rain and decided to head to bed early.

Day 5. was centered mainly on travel. We canoed 10.25 miles and portaged 260 rods (0.8 mi) to end up on Henson Lake. The day was marked with a few long portages and hefty weed sites. On a brighter note, the sun came out and we got a chance to dry our things and take a quick swim. By this point in our trip our crew really began to click and everything was going according to plan.

Day 6. The following day marked our last full day on the water of the BWCAW. We set out with a weed intensive day in mind and did just that. After our 10 weed points for the day we settled down in camp and enjoyed a few games of Carcassonne and watched the sunset on Winchell Lake. Soon after everyone crashed, dreams of society in their heads.
Day 7. The day started off with a gloomy sky and promises of rain after 10 Am. We set off portaging our canoes over 323 rods (1.0 mi.) and traveling a total distance of 7 miles back to Brule Lake. On our way back to Brule, we were greeted with a moose sighting. We quietly enjoyed watching the large Bull Moose from across the lake. The moose eventually left and we set of back to Brule Lake for a few last weed points. After some rain and weed points, we loaded up our trucks and set back off to society. A quick coffee break and some singing in the car and we were back. Everyone got back and passed out for the night, waiting for our hitch preparation the next day.

Our first hitch was a great success with many triumphs and laughs. We have a few days off now, but were looking forward to the rest of our summer up here in the Superior National Forest.