Tuesday, August 1, 2006

BWCA Journals: What We Have Here Is a Failure To Communicate

July 14, 2001

It clouded up during the night and so far has remained cloudy. I had long been awake and was sitting on the shore watching an imaginary sunrise behind the clouds when the others finally woke up. While they were rummaging around, I started the stove and cooked our daily gruel of oatmeal. After breakfast, I did dishes and tore down the kitchen by myself, packed up my gear, loaded my boat and then spent the next hour helping the others get their stuff packed up. It is not that they have a lot but they seem to spend every waking minute in camp stringing it everywhere. I'm not the most organized person in my home life but when it comes to camping, I've had too many middle of the night pack up and move experiences to not have my stuff organized.

Despite the delay, we still got a fairly decent start and with a little tail wind, made good time. We paddled across Gaskin, portaged to Henson, paddles a couple miles and dropped into Omega Lake. There is was a quick paddle and portage and then we were back into Winchell Lake where we found a fine camp on a point very close to the portage tomorrow on the opposite side of the lake. Remember, this is a long, narrow lake. We took a quick swim and then set up camp and ate lunch.

Everyone quickly disappeared to do their own thing and I was left with empty water bottles again. I have probably filtered over ten gallons of water so far this trip for every one done by someone else. Dave hasn't yet filter one bottle to my knowledge but did come down to the shoreline once to offer advice on how to pump water using my filter. I drew a line in the sand and pumped my water bottle full and leaving the others to fend for themselves.

I spent the heat of the day swimming, napping in the shade and writing in equal proportions to make sure I was having a well-balanced vacation. I also did some exploring in the rocks behind camp and found a bear den sans bear but with fresh scat all around. I made a note to make sure our food bag was well hung this evening. Later, Dave and I paddled over to a nearby island with a large cliff and took turns climbing to the top and getting our picture taken by the other. What we do for a good photo-op! It would have been an exhilarating jump into the water from up on top had it not been for the water being only a couple feet deep.

Back at camp, I cooked up more macaroni and ramen noodles for supper. After supper, nobody made a move to do the dishes so I finally just set mine down, packed up the stove and walked away to hang the food bag. Later I would see Dave doing them by flashlight. I tried fishing but like most of the trip so far, they just weren't biting. We obviously didn't have the right bait and the sun was keeping them away. By the time the coolness of the night allowed them to come up from the depths to eat, we were knocking mosquitoes the size of bats out of the air with our fishing poles while casting and decided it was prudent to go to bed or risk being carried off.

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