Middle Kilburn Lake
325 m port
600 m port
375 m port
125 m port
Total Distance: 11 miles (17.7 kilometers)
Ports: 1425 meters
When I went to the tent last night I laid on my back at first. I could sure feel the tightness in my lower back. This is a different form of exercise so the body needs some time to adjust to it.
I woke up a few times during the night. It was too warm when I first came into the tent last night, but it eventually cooled off nicely. Last night if I left either one of my hands outside the sleeping bag for any length of time they would get cold. I slept in a long sleeve light weight wool top and under shorts.
When I woke up during the night I could hear the sound of some rushing water. The wind must have changed.
When I woke at 3:08 am there were sounds being made all around me. The birds and frogs must think it’s time to start their day, but it’s too early for me to join them. I tried going back to sleep. I did fall asleep, but woke up several more times between 4:00 am to 5:00 am.
I began doing some lower back stretches at 5:00 am. Once I was done I packed up my gear that was in the tent. I greeted the outside world at 5:20 am. It sure looked like it was going to be a nice day. There were mostly blue skies with just a few gray, puffy clouds in the east.
The sound of the rapids that I was hearing was coming NNE of me.
Breakfast was oatmeal, cinnamon, bananas, strawberries, raisins and cranberries. What’s up with all that fruit! I mixed up a cup of protein powder and milk. The coffee was being prepared in the press.
This trip I must have used some different colored stuff sacks because I started putting some things in the wrong bags before realizing it.
I made my way toward the first portage at 0737 am. I started the day wearing a short sleeve shirt, but the NW wind was making it just a little too cool for only it. I put on my lightweight blue long sleeve shirt. This shirt is to keep the sun off the body but I find it’s simply too hot to wear when the sun is out. I wear it now for a light-weight wind breaker. I put this shirt on when I was crossing Kawnipi Lake in Quetico a couple years ago and seriously became overheated.
By the time I crossed Middle Kilburn Lake the 2 km to the portage the sky was now completely overcast and gray. Wow, what a change!
This first portage of the day showed it was 325 meters long. I took my first pack across and walked 340 meters. This portage came out into a bog area and it depends on the level of the water on where you actually can put back in. I carried the pack near a small pond like area before setting the pack down. I looked around the area as I walked back for my other gear to see if I could put the canoe in some water sooner.
I grabbed my pack and canoe and walked approximately 100 meters before putting the canoe in some open water. I paddled as far as I could, maybe 150 meters then carried the second pack over to the other one.
Walking back to my canoe over the floating bog I could see a very narrow channel. Just maybe I could paddle or drag my canoe. I made it over to my packs by pushing and pulling the canoe through and on top of the floating bog. I only sunk in the bog in a couple places. Of course, it would have been easier and quicker to have just done the one long portage, but sometimes you just have to do something that’s just not so obvious.
Once I placed my gear in the canoe I scanned the far shore to the west looking for the next 600 meter portage. There wasn’t any obvious opening in the woods and there wasn’t any obvious trail going through the floating vegetation along the edge of the pond to get to the portage. I stood up in the canoe and still couldn’t find the trail leading through the vegetation.
I eventually found a small opening in the vegetation that meandered almost to the edge of solid ground. I got out of the canoe to make sure I was in the correct area. I found a large tree blocking the beginning of the portage. Back to the canoe to unload my gear.
The tree at the beginning of the portage on top of the rock face was at an angle. I was able to get under it by walking under its highest point. This portage went up and down over higher ground. There was one area I had to cross a rock face at a slight angle that had water running down it. The water made the rock face very slippery. I made sure of my footing before crossing this area. There were 5 trees blocking or lying over the trail. One tree was smaller in diameter and the rest were around 10 inches in diameter. When I was able to look up while walking the portage I saw several trees that had old blazes on each side of them marking the way.
There were a lot of moose droppings and several piles of wolf scat on the trail. I triple portage this portage. The first trip across took me 12 minutes and it took me one hour and two minutes to complete the whole thing.
The wind was still a little chilly as I paddled into the wind on Dragon Lake. When I had paddled about 2.5 km and was about 300 meters from where I would make a turn to the west I pulled over to the west shore and put on my light weight wool top and hat. I felt much better!
When I was done putting on my warmer clothes I spotted two eagles on top of a tree on a peninsula near a campsite. I pulled over at the campsite at 11:04 am to have lunch. I was hungry and I needed some food before the next stretch. I ate lunch on the east side of this site out of the cool breeze. I finished lunch at 11:37 am.
I began looking for this portage too early. It was difficult to spot. At first I got out of the canoe at a shore lunch site that ended up not being the correct spot. I eventually found a rock cairn right at the waters edge that had a thick stick stuck in the middle of it at 11:50 am. The stick in the middle was leaning over.
I followed this 375 meter portage until it came out to a very narrow creek. I began paddling the creek at 12:16 am. The creek had a nice swift current and it was 2 to 3 feet deep. This creek was very twisty. I needed to get out of the canoe a few times to maneuver the canoe around some of the bends and to pull the canoe across some beaver dams.
When I got into the open water of Boomerang Lake at 12:48 am I spotted an eagle that could quite possibly to one of the ones I saw back on Dragon Lake. There were also two loons swimming around.
The wind followed Boomerang Lake the whole 7 km making me paddle into the headwind all the way to the next 125 meter portage. This would be my last portage for the day. I planned to camp on Talon Lake for the night.
I arrived at the portage at 2:10 pm. With a double portage I was done at 2:35 pm. This portage was in good shape after I got the saw out and cut a section out of a tree that was blocking the portage toward the end of it.
Now I’m on Talon Lake. I continued more or less along the north shore toward the islands where I was hoping for a site to camp.
I found a site on one of the islands at 2:50 pm. I set up camp and began filtering water. I was having problems with it, but determined I only needed to clean the filter.
The skies began to clear at 4:15 pm.
This was a tough day. My packs were slightly heavier due to my tent and tarp being wet from the dew when I packed them away this morning.
The skies have completely cleared now.
I cooked dinner that consisted of venison stroganoff, pudding and coffee.
While the sun was out I decided to take a bath. The water was so cold that it wasn’t even pleasurable. Wow, it was cold!
I haven’t taken too many photos today yet, but right now I’m content to just sit in my chair. I can feel the tightness in my lower back.
I finally got up and took some photos, checked out my water filter and got out my GPS to mark the campsite. I also looked at my maps.
The mosquitoes and black flies have been bothering me some, but not nearly as much as I though they would be.
I should sleep well tonight!
Here are a couple things for me to think about and remember. Do I bring a hand pump water filter or gravity filter for my solo trips? I need to have both of my portage packs sown. Some of the straps are ripping out causing the seams to tear. I’ll need to call Granite Gear when I get back home. Once I was back home I sent both my Superior One and Quetico portage packs to Granite Gear where they repaired the packs. These packs have a Lifetime warranty. I’ve had these two packs since the mid 1990’s.
Today I haven’t seen anyone, but a couple loons have been coming to visit me at the campsite. Although they are hanging around they are keeping their distance.
Around 9:10 pm I decided to have a fire. It’s not too often when I travel by myself that I build a fire, but tonight I did.