Thursday, July 27th, 2017
I wake up, roll out of the tent buck-naked, and jump into the lake for a swim. Every day should start this way. Then breakfast. Next on the menu today is a hike around the peninsula. There are trails heading west and north; I decide on north to start.
It's hot and buggy but quiet and peaceful. I hike all the way to Cruiser Lake without seeing anyone. The lake has a backcountry campsite similar to mine at Agnes Lake but it's vacant at the moment. To use this campsite would be a 5 mile hike either from Lake Kabetogama to the south or Rainy Lake to the north. Not something I could have done with my gear setup. I'm thinking about replacing the cargo bag on the rear rack of the motorcycle that I use to hold the tent, sleeping bag, mattress, etc... with a big backpack; that would allow me to get farther off the beaten path.
I'm hoping to see a moose. There are plenty of signs of them around but it's so hot I'm sure they're holed up somewhere for the day. My best shot is at the nearby lakes at sunset, I plan to check them out tonight.
It's a ten-mile hike to Cruiser Lake and back. As soon as I reach my campsite I jump into the lake to cool off. I spend the rest of the afternoon taking a nap and picking blueberries for desert. I stoke up the fire for an early dinner so I get hiking again.
I hike down to the dock to check on the canoe (everything still in place), then head over to Elk Lake. I see two Forest Service canoes tied up on the shore. I'm not sure where the campsite is on this lake, you might actually need a canoe to get to it without a long hike. I follow the shoreline path heading west but turn around after the campsite doesn't materialize in the first half-mile. I'm just curious as to what it looks like, but I've got limited daylight to work with so I follow a different loop that will eventually lead me back to Agnes Lake.
On the loop I find an area that is definitely inhabited by at least one bear. Scat all over the place, prints in the mud, blueberry bushes picked clean. I have mixed feelings about seeing a bear: I'd like to, but then again I've got no protection and I'd rather not get mauled, so I'm not terribly disappointed I don't see one. Bummed out about not finding a moose though...
It's almost dark when I get back to the campsite. I stoke up the fire again as protection against the bugs (which only sort of works, they chase me into the tent after half an hour). It just occurs to me that I haven't seen a single human being today. 24 hours without human contact... a rare thing, I think the last time that happened to me was in the Andes.
Stats for hike (Strava data):
Miles hiked: 13.2 miles
Elevation gain: 1,398 feet
Moving time: 5:14:16