Sunday, February 14, 2016

BWCA Late Season

October 1st is the best time of the year. It marks free range in the BWCA. You still have to fill out a permit, but its at the entry point and there are no fees this time of year. It essentially means that you have a month to look at the weather, and pick a stretch that looks like nice weather and then head up.
It also means that there are no bugs and not many people.
The downside, its pretty chilly, the fishing is marginal, and you have to portage in knee boots.

The Stampers, the Johnsons, and the Brohaughs and a pack of 6 man-children set up base camp not too far past Lake 1 in Ely. And for 3 days, did nothing but cut wood, cook, eat, and make merry.
This is that story in images:

"Blue Steel, Griffin, Blue Steel"

Griffin is stoked on the camp vibes
Since it was pretty chilly we spent a lot of time around the stove and feeding the fire.

Butch in his element

I also have admit that the bushcraft of Paul Brohaugh blew me away. That dude camps on a whole other level. I felt like a tenderfoot several times. If nothing else, he showed me the magic of cornmeal in pancake batter. 

We had a south facing site so we caught some warm afternoon rays and we sheltered from the wind. Not quite "guns out" weather but morale stayed high despite some snow at night.

They get it from their mothers

I don't even know what to say.

One must have a minstrel with a repertoire of several chords 

Never disturb the wildlife when feeding.

A few observations about gear and camping with the progeny:
  • Get a big Boat. We rented a 3 person boat from Ely Outfitters (Thanks to Kristen and Corey Larsen, We guided together back in the early 2000's, and now they live in Ely year round). We put all the gear, two boys and a dog in it snuggly.
  • Make sure that there is plenty of food stuffs for grazing. Carb'ed man-children are happy man-children 
  • Bring several saws and axes. When its cold, you will spend much time gathering firewood, and we probably would have fished a lot more if we had cut our firewood gathering time in half. 
  • Have a large tarp that you can rig into a covered kitchen should the weather become inclement.
  •  Don't be afraid to let the man-children maraud freely. We were on an island so there was not too much trouble they could get into. We kept the smallest in a pfd any time he was near water.