May 2 and May 3, 2018
On May 2nd, Joe and I hit the trail for my first paddle of the year. Joe had been out a few days earlier and was able to get to Devil’s Cascade out of #14 Little Indian Sioux River. This in mind, we decided we would try to get into #32 South Kawishiwi River, and if we were lucky, do the whole Kawishiwi Triangle.
|South Kawishiwi River Portage|
The ice had pulled away (maybe 15 feet) from the west shoreline. We decided to see how far north we could get. Not far. Less than a mile up, the ice was thicker than we wanted to mess with, so we decided to back track and take that first campsite. We got to camp, got all set up, and started dinner. Ribeyes, potatoes, onions, and garlic. Not a bad way to start the camping season! We had a nice fire and a relaxing evening at camp. After a long, cold winter, it was great to back in the canoe!
|View from my tent pad.|
The warm sun hit my tent early in the morning. (I love to put my tent where it will get good morning sun in the spring and the fall.) I could hear at least 3 pileated woodpeckers and some trumpeter swans as I got out of my tent. I let my stuff dry for a bit in the sun and then got all packed up. Meanwhile, Joe slept. We were in no rush to leave camp—it was nice to have a slow leisurely morning. I started a fire and got some water boiling, and literally watched and listened to the ice melting. It was an incredibly peaceful morning.
|Campsite view on the morning of May 3.|
|Lots of ice had melted by mid-morning.|
Eventually, we were able to make it to Eskwagama. It was clear! We continued north to check out Clear Lake. It was open as well. We decided to keep going. We portaged north from Clear, back to the Kawishiwi River. It did not look good. The ice was pushed back into the bay, but there was a small channel of open water along the shoreline (maybe 4 feet wide). We contemplated turning around, but after some deliberation, decided to push forward. We followed the edge of the river, getting out on to shore in a couple spots as the ice was too thick to get through. Finally, things opened up a bit as we continued east.
|Things looking a little sketchy ahead.|
We pushed south. Hugging the west shore to stay in open water. Just before the 30-rod portage near the south tip of the triangle, we ran into more ice. It was a long slog, and we had to break some ice, but we made it! It was smooth sailing after that. By this point, it was starting to get dark, but the end was in sight. We needed the headlamps for the portage out but made it back to the car without incident.
By the time you read this, I suspect the Kawishiwi Triangle will be open and ready for paddlers. The bigger lakes still need a little more time, but this was encouraging. It was so nice to knock the rust off from the long winter and get back into the canoe! Hopefully you can hit the water soon!