11 Miles of Rowing
August 26, 2022
We rounded the point in the island and could hear the falls ahead. Then we could also see the portage sight as the groups ahead of us began to reach it. Soon we did too. And then our first portage, which wasn't too long or too hard. Glad I went with someone younger who is used to lifting heavy things and was willing to carry the canoe (though I did keep offering).
Then it was off on our second lake, Newton Lake, which we'd traverse the entire length of. The weather was pleasant, with lots of cloud-cover. This lake included some grassy sections we navigated through, watching out for underwater boulders. Then it was the second portage, not quite as long, but rockier and more up and down. Though it did include a nice place to see Pipestone Falls (really more of a cascade).
Finishing the portage, we lunched before setting off again. Now we were on Basswood Lake and would be the rest of our trip till we returned on Monday. Basswood has many long fingers and bays, and so Pipestone Bay was first up, filled with lots of small islands. We passed lots of full campsites and groups of people clearly having a good time.
It was on the northern end of Pipestone Bay, after we'd gotten through all the islands that we stopped for a small break and saw that rain was sweeping in from the north. We donned our ponchos and got back in the boat and began rowing through the rainfall. It wasn't too bad and passed quickly enough.
But as we rowed on we could see a small thunderstorm developing off to our right. It looked for a longtime like we wouldn't encounter it, before it seemed to suddenly shift direction and come our way. The lightning got a little closer, so we pulled off in the Lewis Narrows to let it pass.
Back in the boat, it was still raining, but we canoed on. We had now reached the area (and time and energy level doneness) that we were going to start searching for an empty campsite. A couple we had hoped for were occupied. We checked out one we didn't like, so had the disappointing experience of getting back in the boat, in the rain, and rowing on.
Where we ended up was idyllic, with our own cove and no other campsite in view. It would make a pleasant home the next few days and a great launchpoint for our adventures.
The rain stopped long enough for us to pitch our camp and only returned after we had our tarp up to sit under. We rigged it such that the rain drained off on its own, with an occasional lifted arm when necessary to push the water to the edge. We read, rested, and watched the rain on the water, before turning in for the night after a successful day. We figure we had rowed over eleven miles.
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