Walt had occasion
to step outside his tent at 3:30 a.m. The night
sky was cloudless, and millions of stars
predicted a beautiful morning to come. I arose at
7:00 a.m. to the sound of wind-driven rain out of
the northwest hitting my tent. We had coffee and
oatmeal for breakfast while sitting under a tarp
which we had brought along for just such an
At noon, our canoe
was loaded for the short hop over to the portage
by the falls. The 325 meter portage followed the
falls to the top and then
meandered through the woods to a mini
lake. Five easy portages later, we entered Jake
Lake, a lake with only pike in it. I made a few
casts in a likely looking pike bay but no fish
was interested in my spoon.
Paddling south on
Jake, we found our next portage nestled at the
end of a small, secluded bay. A short 40 meter
hike led us to the pull throughs. We had hoped
for one pull through but found that we had four
to contend with. The first pull through was
really a portage, as we had to unload our packs
and transport them about 50 meters to a suitable
re-entry point. The other three pull throughs
could actually be negotiated as such. Further
ahead, we came to a pull through which appeared
to be the one we had marked on our topo maps.
This was the fifth and final one we negotiated.
Soon a 200 meter portage led us into Lunch Lake,
and after a short paddle south of the portage, we
found a campsite on a small island.
It was 5:00 p.m.
by the time camp was set up. While Walt built a
fire for the evening meal, I cast a Johnson
Silver Minnow from shore. A few casts provided a
small pike. The wind direction was out of the
north, and as we tried to sit on a rock and eat,
we had to contend with smoke from our fire. We
were tired from the pull throughs and eight
portages, so we didnt seem to have the
ambition to get up and move to another location
to eat. It wasnt long until Walt and I
headed for our tents to stretch out and relax.
Thursday September 13
At 6:20 a.m., it
was 43 degrees F. on our island in Lunch Lake.
The sky was overcast, and it looked as though it
was going to be a rainy, dreary day. However,
after our oatmeal and coffee breakfast, the sun
became visible, and a light breeze started
blowing from the north.
We spread out our
wet gear to dry then fished around the island
from shore, drank coffee, and loafed for several
hours. After the dry-out time we packed up and
were on the water at 11:00 a.m.
The park service
had changed several portages on the park map, so
we were not quite sure if we had a portage or
just what our path would be when we got to the
southeast side of Lunch Lake. However, when we
got off the main body of the lake this mystery
cleared up. There was a narrows running south
that turns to the east then to the northeast to a
150 meter portage out of Lunch Lake.
We did six
portages and two pull throughs between Lunch Lake
and Leano Lake. All the portages were in good
shape; and both pull throughs were actually pull
throughs, not short portages as we had
encountered the previous day. The scenery was
beautiful, and we had an enjoyable paddle to
We started looking
for a campsite as soon as we entered Leano. We
found a very nice one at our entrance to the lake
but decided to look for one closer to our exit
When we were about
one mile from the exit point, we spotted a
dilapidated fire pit on the west shore. This site
looked as if it had not been used for a long
time, but proved to be an excellent campsite.
We were soon
settled in for our last night in the bush. It
seemed like only minutes until the freeze-dried
beef stroganoff was eaten, and we were enjoying
our last campfire when a large mouse paid us a
This mouse was not
the least bit shy and was very intent on finding
something to eat. We packed away everything which
we thought the mouse might get into. I believe
that we could have picked up the mouse, as it
made no effort to run even when we got very close
mouse ended up winning us over. We had a complete
change of heart and gave him a huge meal of left
over stroganoff and crackers.
We sat by the fire
watching the mouse gorge himself. About 9:30 p.m.
Mel, the mouse, and I decided to call it a night,
and all went to bed. Mel and I slept soundly. We
think the mouse did, also, as none of our gear
was mouse-chewed the next morning.
Our last day in
the bush dawned with some haze but otherwise
pleasant. During the night I had been awakened by
the sounds of heavy equipment operating somewhere
on the eastern side of Leano Lake. Walt thought
that crews had been working on the gravel road
which we would soon be using to return to Red
couldnt resist making a few final casts
while Walt made a small fire to boil water for
breakfast. By the time the oats and coffee were
ready, I had one small pike held out for a final
As soon as
breakfast was over and a few items were dried in
the morning sunshine, we packed the canoe for the
last leg of our journey, a short paddle up the
lake to the exit point. The exit was not visible
from the lake which caused Walt and I to have to
backtrack to find it.
As Walt and I were
nearing the exit, we heard voices. An old couple
from Minnesota were trying to round up a couple
of nervous dogs to take with them in their canoe.
As soon as they had both dogs placed in the
canoe, one dog made a leap to the shore, and the
other dog jumped into the creek.
The landing area
wasnt large, so Walt and I relaxed in our
canoe while we waited for the departure of the
Shortly, and with
both dogs on board, the couple shoved off
allowing us to pull in to the landing. The woman
inquired as to where we were from. As we unloaded
the canoe, we told her that we were from the
States. "Oh." she said, "Then you
havent heard that on Tuesday, terrorists
flew large planes into the World Trade Center and