Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Last Days of Our Canoe Trip

We are still on Ester Lake at our base camp. We had another good night for sleeping. Breakfast the next morning was fresh blueberry pancakes and oranges. One of the rabbit family joined us again. They just sit off to one side of the campsite and munch on the leaves. We had some lettuce left over from the fajitas and the rabbits have finished it off.

Today we are going into the Primitive Management Area (PMA). In these lakes the Forest Service maintains no portages or campsites. The first portage is quite close to our campsite on Ester. So we paddled over and easily found this portage into Link Lake. It is fairly short with numerous trees to step over but no big problems even for my short legs. Right off the portage we paddled through a windy area that looked like it should have moose in it. No such luck.

We followed the shoreline to the next portage. This portage is located off a pretty little sand beach. It was any easy carry into Bullfrog Lake. Bonnie Schudy at the outfitters said we would be catching largemouth bass in here. She was sure right. We easily caught enough for dinner, threw some back, and lost a few.

It was a hot day so our lunch spot was under a few shady pine trees. Except for us there was no one on the lake. With dinner on the stringer we headed back to Ester Lake. There was lots of time for a swim and a nap. Bruce and I went out picking blueberries on a nearby island. They will go well with the oatmeal tomorrow morning.

Bruce outdid himself with dinner. In addition to the fried bass, we had blooming onions and cheddar/broccoli rice. There was a little rice left but not much else. As we had every night, chocolate pudding filled in all the cracks. After Yahtze, it was early to bed.

The next morning we had oatmeal with fresh blueberries, dried cranberries, raisins, walnuts, milk and brown sugar. We finished off a couple of English muffins and two more oranges. One rabbit joined us.

The plan for today took the guys back into Rabbit Lake for some lake trout for dinner. Our job was to mind the camp. I spent some time writing in my trip journal while Melissa studied her guide book for a journey to Rocky Mountain National Park.

About 1:00 p.m. guys were back with the trout. They also brought back some dry beaver wood which was at the Rabbit Lake side of the portage. Finally they topped off our blueberry supply for tomorrow morning. After lunch it was time for a swim and a nap. Dinner with trout and chicken flavored pasta followed by chocolate pudding was all we could ask for. The Yahtze tournament was finished off and I managed to have the best score.

We were up and moving quickly in the morning. Our tow from American Point was set for 2:30 and we didn’t want to be late. An oatmeal breakfast with the last oranges was quickly eaten. The tents came down, sleeping bags went into stuff bags and everything went into packs. By 8:00 a.m. we were paddling away from our campsite.

The portages out were lots easier with no food to carry. After Monument Portage and the lift over, we had the wind at our backs. There was so much time before the pickup that we just drifted with the wind down 1st Bay and 2nd Bay. In 3rd Bay and after Cache Bay we had to paddle but it was really easy. In fact the entire trip was really easy. We had lunch while waiting for the tow. Pretty soon it was all over and we were on our way home.

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