A blog from former staffer Amy –
On August 8, my friends Laura, Tessa, Steph, and I set off on a wonderful, witty, wandering wilderness women’s adventure. All of us had spent summers guiding and traveling through the Boundary Waters on the US-Canada border, but this was the first time any of us had ventured north of that border on a multi-night Quetico trip. We were so excited and so ready to go (especially guide dog Avery!).
A tow from Tuscarora gave us a jumpstart on our 95-mile journey. Thanks Kyle!
After checking in with Janice at the Cache Bay Ranger Station, we paddled north toward the Falls Chain. It was so much fun to put “faces” with the names we’d heard so many times (Silver Falls, Saganagons, Kawnipi), to see the unique characters of the many waterfalls (Bald Rock, Koko, Four Falls, Little Falls, Canyon, Kennebas) around which we portaged. Turns out the sound of rushing water is very encouraging when you’re carrying a heavy pack and/or canoe!
Although we saw several other people along the Falls Chain, by the time we turned south towards Agnes it was beginning to feel like it was just us and the Canadian wilderness. We loved the still mornings and evenings (good for sunset yoga on the rocks!), streams along the Agnes River, pictographs, islands, and cliffs during this part of our journey. And we did a lot of singing of voyageur songs and oldies!
On our 4th day we stopped at Louisa Falls and were glad to be hiking up the steep, rocky, rooty trail without our canoes and gear. There the sun peaked out for the first time in a few days…it felt pretty glorious!
Our campsite on Sunday Lake that night was one of our favorites. We’d fallen into a pattern of good rock time, cooking yummy meals and taking out the map to talk through our plans for the next day. And that night we watched the sky and lake for a long time.
Over the next few days we looped south along the border and then northeast along the man chain. These lakes are very confusing to talk about… “Was that This Man or That Man? Is this This Man or That Man?” …but cliffy and island-y and calm.
In addition to large “Welcome to Canada” signs, we experienced lilypads and knee-deep mud during this part of the journey. It was all very wonderful!
The last few nights of our trip were cold and brought beautiful misty mornings. On our final morning in the Quetico we paddled through Ottertrack Lake in awe as the mist revealed perfectly still water and cliffs brightened by elegant sunburst lichen.
It was hard to leave this beautiful place experienced with beautiful friends. But Quetico, we will be back!!
If you go…
They did the route in 7 days but be warned, these girls move! Moving 15 to 20 miles a day is not unheard of for them.
- Day 1: Hook Island to Saganagons
- Day 2: Saganagons to Murdoch (comes right after Kawnipi)
- Day 3: Murdock, Agnes River, Agnes (halfway)
- Day 4: Agnes, Meadows, Sunday
- Day 5: Sunday, Bayley Bay of Basswood Lake, Birch Lake, Carp Lake, Sheridan Lake, That Man, No Man, This Man
- Day 6: This Man, Other Man, Bell, Fran, Saganagons, Lilypad, Jasper, Ottertrack (Canada side)
- Day 7: Ottertrack, Swamp, Sag, Roy, Grandpa, Seagull