Saturday, June 28, 2008

BWCA II - Epilogue

We are four tough women 40-years and older! We worked awesome as a team and as individuals! I think each of us challenged ourselves and exceeded those challenges with flying colors! I was thinking that I'm relatively confident in my physical abilities and I've usually been able to accomplish what I set my mind to. But some of those portages, especially carrying the food pack and mosquitoes, tested my stamina. I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing, but on the hardest day on the 2nd portage (Day 4, 220r) I chose to pick up a day pack to carry on my front while carrying the food pack. There was logic behind it too, regarding the number of trips we'd have to take. But it was still a lot. I closed my mind to everything but an occasional prayer and "1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4" steps. I was proud of us that day!

Another thing... lessons. My lesson for that day was not to do two long portages like that in 1 day. But if I have to, I can! (= I was a little surprised that we didn't bond more as a group. I thought part of that could be that we couldn't spend much time around the fire or together at night because of the bugs. But usually intense experiences like these bond people more. The other thing I thought was that Sue and Terry have been friends for 22 years and Lorrie and I are a couple. So pairing off made sense or was just easier. Not a big deal, just an observation.

I liked doing a week out there. Two night and 3 days isn't enough time to shut out the world. Six nights and seven days gave me time to shut down from electronics and really commune with nature... especially those mosquitoes! We definitely became one! That part I could have done without! I need the strongest repellent known to man!

Another thing I recognized was my irritability with Lorrie early on. I think it was my nervousness about what we were doing. It's something I need to be aware of at times when I'm doing something new. Neither of us liked how we talked to each other for short periods of time during the first couple days. But we talked about it and took care of it right away. A good learning experience!

I can't wait for next time! (=

Gadgets we Need
  • Orange emergency flag
  • Hammock (A must have!!)
  • Tree hugger gadget holder
  • Bag for pots and pans
  • Two-burner stove
  • Triangle stools ($10 each)
  • Canoe chairs
  • Deet spray (or nuclear bug spray if available!)
  • Water filter bag (Ketadyne)
  • Nu-skin for my scar (Hey! It's my list! I can be gross if I want! heheh)
  • Ibuprofin
  • Tea kettle
  • Head lamp (for Lorrie)
  • A new camping hat for Lorrie )=

Friday, June 27, 2008

BWCA II - Day 6

Travel - Heritage Lake > 40r portage > Shell Lake > 216r portage > Little Pauness Lake > 40r portage > Upper Pauness Lake > Little Indian Sioux River > waterfall portage > Little Indian Sioux River

Exit day. We were all awake by about 5:30am and couldn't sleep anymore. Terry got up to use the privy and saw a moose across the cove from us. So we all got up to see that and take photos. At some point Sue or Terry saw the snapping turtle sitting toward the edge of our site. S/He just sat there and watched us get packed up. Just as we started working on our tent, it started to sprinkle, which it continued to do most of the time we packed. The turtle was still there when we pushed off. We had just been stepping around him/her the entire time but s/he kept a close eye on us without moving at all. A blink every once in awhile let us know it was still alive! (=

Once we were all on the water, it started raining. It felt refreshing at first. And usually it would stop after a short time. But this time it didn't. It just kept coming and coming. We made it across Heritage Lake with no problems and got to our first portage, 40r to Shell Lake. We saw a few more people there. Campsites with people hunkered down in the rain. And there we were on the water in the rain with mosquito nets over our faces. I'm sure we looked silly! But I was definitely beyond caring about that! Eventually we got to our long portage, 216r. Thankfully it was rather flat. There were some muddy sections, of course, and a section where we crossed a pond on little half tree bridges. At first one 1/2 log and then two 1/2 logs (not 2 and a half, 2 half) so that we could put a foot on each. No incidents there. Lorrie took the canoe and I carried the still very heavy food pack. That took us into Lower Pauness Lake, where we began to see still more people. These lower lakes also seem to have more campsites on them. So it makes sense. Still raining. Still buggy. We paddled a short distance to the next portage, a 40r into Upper Pauness Lake. We started crossing several people at this portage. Not something we'd experienced much of previously. But most people are kind and courteous so it wasn't a big deal. There were 2 young men portaging the same direction we were who looked SO clean. One was wearing Tevas and shorts. I was very curious about where they'd been. It was starting to rain a bit harder. But it seemed pointless to put on our rain gear at this point. So we just kept trudging.

What I noticed was that we started becoming more mechanical the closer we got to the end. We didn't canoe as close together as before and we talked less. It probably gets that way toward the end anyway. But with the rain and bugs, it seems totally natural. The Upper Pauness flowed into the Little Indian Sioux River, which after a portage past the falls would take us to the entry point portage. The river has a "roadway" of clear water between the reeds on each side. A little difficult to navigate but I have gotten much better at keeping us on track. We saw lots of people on the portage past the falls. Several were in shorts and sandals. One woman looked rady for a nice stroll in the park! I can't imagine what they thought of us in our "hair nets," dirty pants, wet clothes, and tired faces. Ha! Terry said later that she had suggested pants and shoes to some of them. (= We ran into the clean young guys again who were behind us. And we caught up with 3 fishermen who were also heading out. Seemed to go okay with all of us on the portage though. This one we had done at the beginning as well. The falls were very pretty! Honestly I didn't stand and look for very long because of the bugs. Poor me! )= As we canoed the last leg, we met several groups just coming in to the Boundary Waters. I must say that with the rainy weather, I'm glad we were leaving and not entering today! After one group passed us, Lorrie and I heard a man say with concern,"They have mosquito nets," which sounded to us like maybe they hadn't brought them. It was SUCH a relief when we saw that final portage. However, the fishermen that were in front of us had left their canoes and blocked the entrance. Rude! Lorrie and I squeezed in next to them. I got out in the water up to my thighs so that we could get in. Not a big deal at this point to get that wet. But it was rather rude of those guys when they knew we had been on their tails the whole last 2 legs. Lorrie got the canoe up and out. Actually that was the first time we lifted it up and over us the way we had learned last summer. Ha! Took us awhile but we finally figured it out! (= I stayed back for a bit and tried to get Terry and Sue into the same spot. But I don't even know how we did it. So I wasn't much help. They got in far enough for Terry to get out but there were too many rocks and it was very deep where Sue was so they had to wait for the rude fishermen to get back to their canoes. I took one of our packs up and Lorrie was already coming down. Wow! There were a lot, actually one huge, slippery rock to contend with here. I didn't remember that part. Actually, I didn't remember much! (= Our stuff was finally all up at the parking area, including the food pack, which Lorrie carried against MY better judgment. I went to get D'Azul, who I was very happy to see intact where I left her. I had to change from my very wet pants into pj bottoms so I wouldn't soak the seats. The mosquitoes there were awful still! I'm sure my bare butt was a happy sight for them! We left our mosquito nets on even while packing up the car and putting the canoe on the roof. Took us awhile to figure out how they had attached it at the outfitters. But eventually, with all four of us fiddling with it, we figured it out... or... we got something to work even if it wasn't how they had done it. So at this point it had been 6 hours of continuous exercise. We'd had breakfast bars before leaving camp and each had another bar at around noon. So we were HUNGRY! It was 2pm when we got to the car... and it finally stopped raining! lol

The drive back to Ely was a gravel windy road. Same one we'd taken out. I was tired and hungry so I needed to be careful. But we made it safe and sound within an hour. AND the canoe stayed attached! A very good thing! At Voyageur North Outfitters, they took the canoe, life jackets, and paddles right away. They were also ready to check us out right away and I got $39 back for bringing the canoe back a day earlier than my original reservation. So we picked out a "tree hugger" and some gifts for my parents and Darshi for taking care of the pups.

Then it was SHOWER time! The outfitter has 3 shower rooms available for people who rent from them. Not the nicest bathroom but the hot water certainly felt wonderful! We had left some clean outfits behind to change into. That felt great! And clean hair! Wow! Though I must say that the lake water and rain made my hair very soft! After showering we met Sue and Terry at The Ely Steakhouse where we ate huge meals of red meat. No names! They all had ice cold beer, which they'd been talking about for days! (= At the outfitters, they give renters a free beer or soda when they return. So Lorrie had a can of Hamms in the car waiting for the right moment. She didn't want to ruin her craving for a good beer with that! ha! I had an ice cold Pepsi there. So my craving was taken care of already. When the bill came, I had to run out to D'Azul for my credit card... and it was raining again! I said out loud to myself, "Holy shit!" Funny how resistant I was to getting wet again after I'd been wet all week and thought nothing of it. Got to the car where I had left the windows partially open to let the smell of Lilacs in. Oops!

After dinner we parted ways. Lorrie and I headed back to Northfield while Sue and Terry got a room for the night with intentions of checking out Ely tomorrow morning. It took us about 5 hours to get home with the rain and all. Home at about 10:30pm, which is about 1-1/2 hours past our bedtime of the past week! Ha!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

BWCA II - Day 5

Travel - None. Stayed on Heritage Lake.

Lorrie woke up in the middle of the night and saw the North Star. Then she woke up again to a very bright moon that lit up our whole tent. I wish she had woken me up to see them. But I'd had a difficult time falling asleep so I understand. Before that, we'd heard the most incredible 2 loon calls. I'm going to try and video tape those tomorrow night!

We got up pretty leisurely. Sue and Terry went fishing while we made breakfast - egg and hash brown scramble. Sue and Terry caught "Freddie," who we decided to eat for dinner. Yes, I'm a little uncomfortable naming my food. But that wasn't my choice! lol Anyway, breakfast was great!

Lorrie and I then decided to go explore the lake a little. We saw 2 deer pretty close up, checked out the other campsite on the lake, saw a loon, and basically just glided around. Nice pace. We wet our shirts to stay cool in the breeze. It was nice. "Nice" seems to be the key word. Terry and Sue went out exploring more so when we got back, we had camp to ourselves. Lunch was summer sausage wraps with cheese. Terry and Sue came back and we lounged around for the afternoon. Eventually Terry and Lorrie were in their tents, Sue was in her hammock, and I kept shifting around trying to get comfortable. I never really did. Too hot! I read some while sitting by the water. Then finally decided to go to the tent with Lorrie to get away from the bugs. She was reading and said it was comfortable (Mediterranean women!) I was burning up! I complained that I would never be able to sleep. Eventually she opened the bottom of the door a bit to let more breeze in and she laughs that I immediately fell asleep. For about an hour. lol Then it was "cocktail hour." Terry and Sue had a head start. Ha! So I mixed some propel and vodka into my water. Not bad! Lorrie and I made mac and cheese while Sue took Terry across the lake to clean Freddie for dinner. He tasted very good! We all said a blessing on him for being our sustenance for the evening. Still wasn't really comfortable with that. But really, he did taste good.

We have gotten along very well as a foursome. I can see why Sue limits her trips to 4 as I could see 6 potentially being a problem. Ya never know! Terry is hilarious with her little quips! She works as "the lunch lady" for an elementary school in Wisconsin. Sue has funny sarcasm that I can appreciate! She's done a great job organizing this trip. And I've definitely learned from her about some gadgets that we need to get (hammock from Sportsmans' Warehouse). No conflicts among us. That I know of anyway! Maybe *I'm* the problem! lol Just easy going and hard working! I would definitely do another trip as this foursome again. Preferably later in the summer and without the amount of portaging we did in one day yesterday! Just a preference! (=

So now the dishes are done, Terry and Sue are fishing some more, and we are watching the sunset on our last night deep within the Boundary Waters. Still beautiful! Even after all these hard days and millions of mosquitoes, gnats, and ticks. And even wearing a damn babushka. Ha! Tomorrow will be a hard day... 5 portages, 2 times each. But on the other end are hot or cold showers, cold beers for them and a cold coke for me. I am ready!

Fish caught and eaten - Freddie (RIP)
Fish caught and released - Helga, Gunther, and Isis

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

BWCA II - Day 4

Travel - Slim Lake > 173r portage > Little Loon Lake > East Loon Lake > 220r portage > Heritage Creek > Heritage Lake

Woke up a little chilly at sunrise to see an incredible pink/orange (Tequila) sky and it's reflection in the still water. Wow! I only vaguely remember it. (= Back to sleep until about 8am. We all started stirring and then a mini-thunderstorm rolled through. That was nice! After the short storm, it was time to move. I like this pace. We have a mission. We all know we have a mission. And we're all working toward that mission. But there is not a rush or any pressure. We leave when we're all ready. Breakfast was bagels with peanut butter and we took oatmeal bars for a snack later. We had packed our boats at different sides of the point so Sue and Terry went and got theirs. They came around the bend just as Lorrie and I were pushing off. But I got us hung up on a rock and SPLASH! - in the water we went! We only tipped so our bags didn't really go in. But we had to pull everything out, including the canoe, and start over. Damn! Good thing we can laugh at ourselves! I slammed my hand on a rock so I have a pretty good bruise and some swelling. Otherwise all was well. We got going again after a lesson learned about not trying to get in a canoe when the tip is still on the rocks! That was just the beginning of our adventure. We went back on Slim Lake the way we had come on Day 2. We did the 173 rod portage back to Little Loon Lake. It was still long, hot, mucky, rocky, and buggy. Lorrie and I dressed in pants today, which made the spill even more entertaining. They certainly helped on this portage though! I wore a tank top and a long-sleeved shirt also with my mosquito head net. Two trips and my shoulders were eaten up. Those mosquitoes will work twice as hard to get my blood rather than moving on to easier skin to find. I don't know what it is about my blood that they love so much! Sue has gotten only a couple bits still! At least one of those is on her ass from the privy! heheh Paddled Little Loon Lake back to East Loon Bay where we camped the first night. Motorized boats are allowed on this lake. We passed up our site and landed on a beautiful beach across the cove from it. There was a group of 16 from Chicago finishing up there. They were swimming and having fun. Looked like 2 adults, 3 girls, and 13 boys. Huge!

We ate our lunch and prepared for the 220r portage we were about to do. The kids had described it as "beastly." Sue had done it before and said it was difficult but not *that* bad. Well, it was worse! I added a loose layer over my other 2 layers to keep the bugs away. But that was SO hot! Better than the bits though! We started out Sue with canoe, Terry with pack, Lorrie with canoe, and me with a pack. Seemed nice at first with grass on each side. But it turned brutal quickly. About 1/4 of the way, Sue put down her canoe and was going to go back and bring packs up to give her shoulders a rest. Lorrie did the same. Terry and I continued on with our packs. We helped each other over and under 4 fallen trees. Clamored over pretty big rocks, navigated rocks among the muck, and very eventually made it to a tiny pond at the end. I was worried about Lorrie and Sue trying to crawl over those trees with canoes so I headed back right away. We also had 3 more packs to bring through. I got to Sue who had one pack and she said Lorrie was still bringing packs to the canoe. I was glad about that since we were on a motorized lake. Someone could easily come along and take the stuff and motor away. When I got to Lorrie, she had a pack on her back and a day pack on her front. I gave her some water and she asked me to take the day pack. So off we went with those. We eventually ran into Terry. We left my orange pack and gave the day pack to Terry to keep walking back. Lorrie and I went back to get a canoe and the couch food pack. That thing is SO HEAVY! So over and under the trees I went, helping Lorrie with a couple of the higher ones getting the canoe over. Wow! Ran into Sue and Terry who were returning for the other canoe. We were all so hot and sweating buckets! Water was getting short and my body was SO tired!

I can't really describe the feelings, physical and emotional. On the first run I was getting pinch hickeys from the pack and my waist pack moving together. The fatigue was incredible! At some point I'm sure I was pissed. lol I know I experienced relief numerous times. And through it all, I had to pee! When we got to where we'd left our orange pack, I grabbed the day pack to save on a trip. Holy crap! I got all that stuff to the end then went back to help Lorrie get down one of the rocky areas with the canoe. We carried it together a few steps then she brought it in with it on her shoulders. Terry showed up a moment before with the orange pack we'd left. And we were done with that portage! What an incredible accomplishment!

No time for pats on the back. Time for a couple photos and then we were off again. We took Heritage Creek to Heritage Lake where we nabbed the first campsite. Everything on shore, we all jumped in the water for a much deserved swim. Tents up... nap time! Nice breeze but lots of gnats, mosquitoes, and ticks! Lorrie is ANAL about the bugs, especially the ticks. I basically have to undress before getting into the tent. And anything that is passed to the inside must be thoroughly checked several times. I have never ever seen her so aware of and attentive to one thing! Finally! (-; Because of the bugs, it is clear that June is probably not the best month for me to be in the Boundary Waters. They just love me too much! It's like paparazzi or something! They follow me everywhere! My adoring bloodsucking fans!

Dinner at 7pm. Chicken and wild rice soup. Yum! We sat together and ate and chatted. Another turtle was eyeing the site and we wondered if she had heard about our midwife services from the turtle on the other site. (= Things put away. Dishes washed. Time for bed... 8:30pm. Still light. Not it's getting dark and there are many more "nature sounds" than we've heard before. Should be nice to sleep to. Though I think we are all so exhausted that it just doesn't matter.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

BWCA II - Day 3

Travel - None. Stayed at the Campsite on Slim Lake

The ultimate in relaxation! Lorrie and I lounged around the camp most of the day. Sue and Terry went out fishing and exploring for most of the morning. We all got up and had breakfast together then they left and we commenced our lounging. Lorrie made a nude beach of our rock and I laid in the hammock most of the day. I read, slept, and tried to stay in the breeze and out of the sun. Lorrie meditated, read, and sunned herself. At some point we noticed Terry and Sue's canoe was parked across the lake (Slim Lake) where there is an unused and somewhat hidden portage. We figured they were exploring the portage. We ate lunch on our "food rock." Summer sausage on tortillas, pringles, cheese and some trail mix. Pretty good! Terry and Sue made it back around 2pm or so. They said the unused portage was beautiful... though long. They suggested we go check it out. But we felt lazy. We all took naps after their return. lol All that lounging made us tired! We started with a cool tent and a nice breeze. Then it rained a little so we had to put the fly down, which made it a tad warm. Eventually we were all up and ready for dinner. Sweet and sour chicken stir fry. We are definitely eating well! It tasted good but my stomach was starting to react to some of the food. Just because it was all mixed up. Sometimes I do better with meat here and the rest there. Nothing major. Just don't like going back to the privy! (= I am SO bit up already! It's not even funny! My recovery from all those bits and a little sunburn was partially the reason we stayed at camp today. Yeah, it's all my fault! (=

After dinner we all loaded into canoes to explore the other campsite on the lake. From our site, it looked so much nicer because it was high on a rock and we assumed had nice breezes. But really it was not nearly as nice and the tent sites were out of the breeze area. So we were happy with ours. Sue and Terry did more fishing and we cruised around the lake while I practiced my steering, which seems to be getting better by the way. Back at camp I started an awesome fire! Lorrie organized the test. We all just did our own thing until we ended up by the fire. At some point we all joked that we weren't as tired and could make it past 9pm tonight! Sue said it was already 9:30pm! Wow! We eventually petered out and got sick of the bugs. So to our tents we went. We chatted and joked some back and forth and were waiting for A STAR! (= I finally saw the first star of the week. Once everyone saw it, we could go to sleep. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to since I had slept and relaxed so much. That ended up not being a problem! We started again with the rain fly open to get the breeze. That lasted all night this time!

Monday, June 23, 2008

BWCA II - Day 2

Travel - East Loon Bay through a very tiny opening > Little Loon Lake (no more motors!) > portage 173r > Slim Lake

Awake pretty early, around 6am. But went back to sleep until about 8am. I had woken up once in the middle of night because my hands were swollen and asleep. I hate that! But they have lots of mosquito bits and a bit of sunburn on them. Ouch! I had oatmeal for breakfast and the others had oatmeal bars and coffee. We got packed up pretty quickly and were off heading away from the motors and toward Little Loon Lake. Which actually was quite little. Paddling was SO much easier with less wind. Steering seemed a little easier for Lorrie too! We made it to our first and only portage in no time. The portage was FROM HELL! 173 rods into Slim Lake. Tons of muck and mosquitoes. A lot of uphill with rocks and logs to balance on. It was my turn to take the food pack, so I did that one first. I was pretty sure I would just fall over and die with that thing on my back. It is SO freaking heavy! Lorrie did great with the canoe!! We all stopped at one point because there was too much muck to balance the canoes through. So Sue and Terry took their and we took ours about 3 rods holding them by the handles on the ends. I'm sure there's a name for them. I don't know it! Then we resumed our positions. I hated putting that pack on my back again! lol We ended up having to straddle and climb over two downed trees. Lorrie got a little gash on her leg from one that had little branches poking out. Then we got to go back and do it again! We still had our two packs and 1 of Terry and Sue's plus some paddles and misc. stuff. I cannot describe well enough in words how the mosquitoes were for me. I seem to be their main dish while everyone else is just hors d'oeuvres. I hate that! I need better bug spray! Or, I heard before we left that taking a B Complex regularly repels them. That would be good! As soon as we got to the end, Lorrie and I put the canoe in the water so we could get away from the swamp asap. Turns out the campsite we were aiming for is right around the corner on Slim Lake so we didn't go very far. The only other site on the lake was taken. The other looked like it might have more of a breeze but ours seemed okay too. Right on a point with views all around. There were a few good spots for our tents. So we are set!

We got settled in and it was time for lunch. Bagels with peanut butter and/or cream cheese, chips, trail mix, some kind of nuts, and candy for dessert. By this time a nice breeze kicked up and it felt really good! We all decided to take a swim to cool down and clean off some of the muck. Then Lorrie and I decided to go exploring. We took the canoe and headed toward the other portage on this lake. We did the 52r portage with the canoe and day pack. It too was quite swampy and buggy. At the other side was Section 3 Pond. At first it was like a very small river with reeds along both sides. Very pretty! I was steering at this point and it had to be pretty precise with the small width. I think I did okay. And, for some reason, we bickered less with me steering. Hmm! We came out onto this very tiny pond. It feels so secluded! We started working on a Horror screenplay. (= There was one campsite there that we stopped to check out. It was tiny, just like the pond. Our little tent would have fit, but that's about it. I imagine it being pretty buggy right now. It was also a pretty sketchy climb up to the site. At the end of the pond was another little portage to South Lake. We parked the canoe out of the way and did the 52r portage carrying nothing. That was nice! But it was still buggy. Lorrie twisted her ankle looking around at scenery. We usually don't get to do that with all our stuff on our backs. We usually have to be aware of every step. I guess we should be anyway! (= At the end it was very mucky and, YES!, buggy! So we turned around quickly. But we did notice that it looked like it had been flooded. I'm not sure how far we'd have to walk in to get going with a canoe. The walk back was uneventful. Back in the canoe with Lorrie steering. She wanted to do a quick video for her family. Cute!

Everything was going great until we got back to the portage. We'd put on our mosquito nets in preparation. I planned on carrying the canoe this time. We had some trouble getting it up on my shoulders. We'd also left our Nalgene bottles dangling, which posed some problems in my balance. Also, my hands were exposed and were on the canoe so I was really being bitten. I would look up and there would be 4 or 5 mosquitoes on each hand. I need to do something to prevent that next time! Then the water bag came lose and was going to drag (sorry Sue!) but Lorrie went to take it off the canoe. In the process she accidentally pushed the canoe forward and down, which rammed my neck with the yoke. Ouch! So then I just wanted to get out of there quickly. Which I did, though not very gracefully. We snapped at each other a few times and then, once in the canoe, away from the bugs, talked about it. No one's fault, we just wanted to get out of there fast and weren't working very well together at the moment. We got the video made and headed the short way back. We had to stop in the middle of the lake to fill up with water. Then came in to a PAR-TAY! The girls had brought out the hooch and were a little tipsy. Vodka and raspberry schnapps. Guess that's what they went to when the water ran out! (= We drank a little and then had some dinner. Pork and noodles. Yum! Can you tell I get very excited about the food!? lol

After dinner, we went swimming again to cool off. I, so far, am always the last person in the water. They all step out onto a rock and then basically sit back into the water and float with their life jackets. I don't like the idea of going backwards into the water... partly because it's water and partly because I don't want to ram my ass into a rock. lol Where that fear came from I have no idea. So I stand there, then squat down, whine a little, then finally glide into the water... screaming the whole way. It's very relaxing! lol After swimming it's time for our evening-wear. Pants! (= Sue started a fire, Terry did some fishing, and we just hung out. At some point, Lorrie, I think it was Lorrie, discovered a turtle digging a very deep hole with both of her back feet. Seems like she dug for almost an hour. Lorrie watched her most of the time and yelled when she started dropping eggs. Five total! Amazing! Then she had to cover them up again. Imagine if we had to do all that work while in labor! We were all fascinated. It is still not dark and we are all ready for bed. Lorrie and I decided to leave the rainfly pulled back to get some air. We'll see how that works!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

BWCA II - Day 1

Travel - Entry Point 14 > Little Indian Sioux River > portage *60r past rapids > portage 40r > Upper Pauness Lake > portage 40r > Lower Pauness Lake > portage 160r > Little Indian Sioux River > East Loon Bay.

Sometimes I get lazy and just make a list for the day. This is one of those days...

  • Got up to wet
  • Sue was packing the food into her new toy food barrels
  • We took awhile to get organized
  • Me = irritable
  • Lorrie = Angry face at me that I did not like at all!
  • Lots of mosquitoes at entry and during portages
  • Lots of zig zagging in the canoe while Lorrie learns to steer we get used to paddling
  • Lorrie lost her had in the first river )=
  • Lorrie slipped while walking to the waterfall
  • Some guys from Youth for Christ helped haul our stuff on the long (160r) portage
  • Lunch on some rocks - salami & cheese on tortillas (yum!)
  • 4 portages total, 5 if you include the entry. Which I should. 5 portages total
  • Got the campsite that Sue wanted, overlooking the river
  • Hamburger with green peppers, potatoes, carrots, and onions over the fire for dinner.
  • Tired!
  • We all sat in front of the fire waiting to go to sleep... at 9pm.
  • It's still bright out
  • Spotted 3 deer
  • No moose yet
  • Lorrie and I did lots of bickering this morning (nerves?) but we got much better in the afternoon.
  • We swam after we got to our campsite, which was COLD! But felt great!
r = rod, which is basically the length of a canoe (e.g. 40 rods = 40 canoe lengths)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

BWCA II - Day 0

Happy Summer Solstice!

We did well getting everything prepared. Yesterday we drove all over Southern Minnesota dropping Tori off in Mankato and Emma with my parents in Geneva. Darshi fed us lunch and my parents fed us dinner. That was nice! But we got home a little late and still had to pack and shave. Got to bed around midnight. We were up by 8am and on the move. But with all the stops we had to make, it was a long day! Grocery store for hard candy (necessary when paddling near lunchtime!), gas station, The Tavern for breakfast. Then on the road we had a major detour to deal with. That was after stopping at REI to return my aluminum Sigg bottle and picking up mosquito head covers. Once on the interstate, after the detour, I decided I wanted an iced coffee and Lorrie needed a computer to use so we stopped at a Dunn Bros. That taken care of, we went into the grocery store to get some lunch. But it was stacked with samples! So we filled up on those! lol That was a fun meal! Back on the road. Again. Finally off the interstate and more on the back roads or county highways. We stopped in Virginia for gas then got into an argument about where to eat. That sucked! We got that cleared up pretty quickly then found a Mom & Pop place to eat. A couple burgers in us and we felt great! A little while later, we were in Ely, MN. We had a canoe on the roof of my SUV in no time. The magic of Ely I suppose! You pull into town and a canoe appears on your roof. (= We got our paddles, life preservers, permit, and Sue's food barrels. Ready to rock and roll! Another hour down Echo Trail, which is mainly gravel, and we are at Jeanette Lake Campground for the night. Lorrie and I did okay building a fire with lots of wet wood. Actually, the credit goes to Lorrie! Sue and Terry, our travel companions for the week, showed up a couple hours later. Terry'd had a wedding to attend so they got a later start than we did. Now everyone has gone to bed. Sue is in the back seat of my car collecting "hair of Emma Blue" for the trip and Terry is in Sue's pick up. They didn't want to set up their tent for a such a short period of time. Early morning tomorrow! "Hey Lorrie! We're in the Boundary Waters again!!"

Monday, June 16, 2008

Woodley out... Getting my legs loosened up

Distance = 11.26
Time = 47.19
Avg speed = 14.2 mph
Max speed = 24 mph
Odometer = 2993.6 miles

Back on the bike after a day off. I wasn't sure how I would feel but I'm glad that I did it! Lorrie has pulled or overextended something, possibly a ligament in her knee, so she didn't ride today. I did our quick and dirty Woodley loop. Out to CR 42, left turn, left again toward Northfield. I tried to work hard on the hills so that I could start getting more used to them. Still so much work to do before I'm ready for the RRR or TRAM. Yikes!

On Woodley, after it isn't Woodley anymore but is a County Road, a big dump truck honked at me. Scared the crap out of me! Not sure why he did that. There was no one else on the road and he certainly had enough room to get around me. I don't understand that. Wish I'd been close enough to catch him at the stop sign. Though he couldn't have seen me anyway! lol

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Red Ribbon Day on the Ride

Distance = 56.76
Time = 4.38.45
Avg speed = 12.2 mph
Max speed = 29.5 mph
Odometer = 2982.3 mph

Well, we jumped from 20-mile rides to a 60-mile ride. Wow! It was pretty warm and I had forgotten my sleeveless jersey. I knew exactly where it was! lol Hanging in the bathroom to dry. Ah well. I should start from the beginning. We got most of our stuff ready last night. So that was good! The alarm was set for 5:45am. That was not good! We got up around 6am and were off in pretty good time. We were on time for the required safety speech and to start with everyone. I got a little nervous at the beginning because they made it sound like we were all expected to stay together. Yikes! That could be painful! But that wasn't the case. They just preferred that we stay together... and, I think, realized that it wouldn't happen. Anyway, we rolled out in a group of about 71 from the St. Joan of Arc church where the RRR office is housed. We made our way through Minneapolis along well trafficed roads. I got a little concerned that we would spend the entire time in the city. Now I sortof wish we had! lol

We road around near the airport and the group had started to spread out a little because of traffic lights. I rode behind a guy, who I think is on my team, that kept lurching and hitting his breaks. So I'd ride up on his ass even though I was trying to be careful. Because of the traffic, it wouldn't have been safe for us to pass him. So I just slowed a little more and stayed where I was. Lorrie was behind me. We got to a major overpass intersection near the airport and I think I-494. Everyone in front of us was "rolling" through a green then yellow light. So all I heard was "rolling." Well, the man I was talking about before decided to stop suddenly without saying anything. So the guy behind him stopped suddenly. I swerved to barely miss them and crossed on the yellow. As I was in the middle of the intersection, I heard Lorrie yell, "JESUS!" She had run into the two guys. The exact reason why expressing one's intentions is imperative when riding in a group. By the time I got across and was able to safely stop and turn around, she was already up. I went back over and besides a scrape on her leg and being shaken up, she was fine. Her first accident out of the way. I said to the guys standing there, "You have got to tell people when you're stopping!" I could easily have gone off on them because Lorrie was hurt. But I controlled myself. It would have mainly been my fear of her getting hurt being expressed. So I just focused on her. We started out again slowly, making sure her bike and body were okay. They seemed to be. I was surprised at how little concern anyone showed. Maybe no one saw what happened. Though I know the two guys saw it. But they took off as soon as the light was green. Not exactly the "community" I would expect of an AIDS ride in general and especially after what I'd been told. I will keep an open mind though. For now. I've seen the other side of the community as well, when Joe was hurt, so I'll just assume that this was "individual" and not group. Okay, done being a psychologist for now.

The rest of the ride was a mixture of fun and pain. We had some rolling hills before the first rest stop and it was a little difficult for both of us to get our legs into it. But we are both "late starters," so we don't do great the first 10 or so miles and then kick it better toward the end. We stopped for a little while at the first rest stop. Got some salty snacks and used the rest room. Lorrie had thought about sagging after the first or second leg. She decided to head out and see what the next leg would bring. More of the same. It was getting a little more windy at this point too. And obviously hotter with the afternoon approaching. The next rest stop was interesting. No food except these little "coin candies." I'm not sure what to think about that. Even some little snack packs of peanuts would have been better. But if people aren't cyclists or athletic at all, how would they know? It was "manned" by a major sponsor of the ride, Wells Fargo. So I guess I can't complain too much. But how about some oranges or bananas? PB&J?

The next leg would be one of the more difficult. Although, at this point, we were getting beyond our longest past ride this year so all segments were difficult! lol But this one was long, flat, straight, and windy. My least favorite! As you may remember, I made peace with the wind in California. But it's different to make peace with views of the ocean to distract me. It's another to be peaceful when the scenery is lacking. Lots of green. I was also getting hungry. Those coin candies didn't quite cut it! lol So we just kept pushing and pushing. By this time, Lorrie and I were basically alone. Couldn't see anyone in front and no one behind. Thankfully the signs were well-placed and often enough! They definitely had that under control! The lunch stop was great! Hamburgers and chips. Just what we needed. But... I ate too much! lol I should have just had 1/2 a hamburger. But, like I said, hungry! By this time we only had about 18 miles left. That's nothing! We were nearly done. Ahh the mind! (=

The next 18 miles were very hard. Remember, we have only ridden about 20-miles at a time by this point. So we'd already doubled our trip mileage in one shot! It was so friggin hilly the next section. Wow! No wonder it was short in distance... 10 miles. So we just chugged. Can't say much more than that! Well, except that we did catch up with the guy who stopped short and I made sure to pass him right away. He passed us again later and got pretty far ahead. Worked for me! At one point we were on a bit of a flat area and some guy in a huge car honked at us. Presumably to get out of the way... there were no encouraging waves or anything like that. Then he had to stop at the light ahead. I was feeling a little feisty by this point. Anything to get some energy. So I peddled hard to catch up to him at the light. Once I caught up to him, I just waved and smiled at him. I know it made no difference to him and he will likely continue to honk at cyclists who impede his progress in any way. But it gave me a little boost and that's what matters! Off again to conquer more hills. I honestly lost count of how many hills there were. AND THEN, the bridge. HOLY CRAP! After the hills we turned onto a paved trail. That was fine and dandy. Until we started riding next to what I think was I-494. There was a major headwind anyway. And then the traffic added to that wind. It was painful. SO painful! I started getting pre-cramps in my legs. You know, those little spasms that tell you any one of the next five exertions will lead to a mind-numbing cramp. We stopped on the bridge for about a minute so that I could settle my legs down. Drank some Accelerade. And off again. Once across, we had just a little jag to get to the final rest area. They just smiled and nodded knowingly at us. Apparently everyone had been telling them how painful the bridge was. We stayed there for about 5 minutes recovering. Well, not really recovering so much as trying to keep from turning into one big cramp. Then off we went for the final 8 miles.

The last leg was not so much difficult as we were just ready to be done. The route took us back into a neighborhood. So we had some stop lights and such. Not a big deal. At one point, one of my teammates passed us in her truck. Why couldn't we be done too!?? lol It felt great to be back... and done! There was a filmographer there asking us to say things into the camera like, "I'm a daughter." For some kind of RRR promo I guess. One we got our stuff put away, we decided to wait until Jean, another team member, made it in. So we waited about 20 minutes and cheered her in. Then left!

At home, we showered and took a nap! lol It was a lazy lazy night after that day! But I'm proud of us for making it with so little training under our belts! And I'm SOOO thankful that Lorrie didn't get hurt!

I didn't take my camera because I thought there was too much chance of rain. That would have been a relief! I'll start carrying it more often. (=

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Red Ribbon Team Ride - AGCMCC

Distance = 20.7 miles
Time = 1.44.57
Avg speed = 11.8 mph
Max speed = 22.5 mph
Odometer = 2925.5 miles

At church today my team was rolled our bikes up to the front before the offering was given. We are the recipients of 2 months worth of DUO (do unto others) fund offerings. This should help complete my fundraising! As we stood up there with our bikes, one of the board members who is also doing the ride said a few words about us and the ride. The congregation gave us a standing ovation. It was much more emotional than I expected. We all stood up there, our eyes tearing, just looking at each other like, "What do we do now." So we just stood and took in the energy. It was awesome!

After the service, we hosted an official training ride. The plan was 30 miles. We started with 17 riders. We rolled through Minneapolis, down the same trail we rode several weeks ago that I can't remember the name of, into St. Paul and around the state capitol. Somewhere toward the beginning we lost a couple riders. One was a ride leader who was the caboose as no rider gets left behind. The other was a woman who I don't think had ridden yet this year and was having some bike trouble and riding trouble. So we were at 15 riders. In St. Paul around the capitol, there was a short steep hill near the capitol. My favorite kind! One of the guys got a flat at the bottom so we had to wait at the top for them. I turned around and went about halfway back down and rode it up again. Really. I love those kind of hills! And I definitely need the work! Took awhile but they finally got things under control. Something is going on with his spokes because that was his second flat during that ride. Once we were reunited, we all headed off again.

We got into a neighborhood around the capitol and, from the front of the pack, we heard, "Biker down!" Not what any of us ever want to hear. Our other ride leader had fallen at the bottom of a short hill when he was trying to turn. I was sure he had broken his collarbone. He was in shock and had possibly lost consciousness for a very short time. We called an ambulance. The incredible thing was the people in the neighborhood. SO many of them came out and asked if we needed help. It was really incredible! We happened to have 2, maybe 3, nurses riding with us. So they basically took over until the ambulance got there. The rest of us stayed out of the way, directed traffic, accepted wet cloths from neighbors and checked on each other. Joe was laying in the middle of the road so we were definitely in the way of traffic and very visible. Ambulance didn't take long getting there. They assessed him and decided he should get to the hospital. He was out later that night and went to one of the other rider's home to recuperate. Very scary! And definitely a reminder that anything can happen. He wasn't goofing around or being careless. His tires just slipped out from under him on a turn. It happens. Lorrie was a little freaked out. She's never seen a cycling accident before. There was no blood or anything like that. And he'll be fine. But she was still shaken. Side note... Joe, miraculously, did not break any bones!

We decided as a group, 14 now, that we should turn around and go back. People were shaken up and our minds weren't on the ride. So it was best to get home. No further issues after that point.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Dundas - Natalee Loop

Distance = 19.12 miles
Time = 1.27.06
Avg speed = 13.1 mph
Max speed = 14.5 mph
Odometer = 2904.8

Perfect day for cycling. Not much wind. Not too hot. Nice! Only thing wrong with this ride was the first stretch out of Dundas on Hwy 1. Too much traffic. One of the main back roads here (Hwy. 3) is closed so it's being detoured to this road. Not great for cyclists. We won't ride it again until 3 opens back up. We made it to the stop sign over I-35. I don't know the name of the road but it goes past Natalee's (my co-worker) house. So it's Natalee's road. (= Not much traffic there, which was a relief. After looping back around under I-35 we got onto Old Dutch Road, which is usually pretty good. We usually are on this road going the opposite direction. Today it seemed VERY long! Sometimes those flat stretches get a little difficult. I start feeling it in my butt mostly. So I stand up and peddle awhile. Shake my legs out. Get the blood flowing. An uneventful ride is usually the best kind!! Glad to have one!