Posted by: Bearskin | June 4, 2009

Erik’s Journal: Cloquet to East Savanna River 5/17/09 – 5/22/09

Erik keeps a meticulous journal of his trip.  He has not been able to access a computer for quite awhile, so he tore out the pages of his journal and mailed them to Bearskin.  There are many pages of tiny print.  We will gradually type them up and add them to the blog over the next few days

A page from Erik's journal
A page from Erik’s journal

 5/17/09  Day #26   50-70º   Wind NW   5-10 mph   Sunny / Departed Cloquet    Up St. Louis River. High water, fast current. Averaged 1 mph on flat water.  Began “lining” rapids (pulling canoe up swift water by rope lines. ) Made 5 miles.

 5/18/09  Day #27   45 – 85º   Wind S  10- 25  mph   Clear  / Repair Day  Layover day to repair canoe hull. Many cracks in pitch and bottom back from previous day.  Dried out gear. Patched pack liners with duct tape to keep gear dry.  Caught and cooked Northern Pike.

5/19/09  Day #28  50 – 70º   Wind E  10- 30  mph   Cloudy, clear, sunny, rain at noon / Struggling up river.   Very dangerous, near continual rapids and swift water, requiring lining.  Big slippery boulders underwater make footing treacherous.  Kitigan works excellent in harness helping line canoe up river from shore.  Sweepers (down trees in river from shore)require wading and pulling canoe by hand or line up swift rapids.  Hit many unseen rocks with canoe, causing severe leakage.  Near-disaster lining around sweeper late in day when line tangled in branches, canoe swamped, planking cracked and canoe almost broke in half.  Saved canoe by quick actions of untangling line, all-out strenuous heave, and bailing water.  Made 2 more miles on flat water with very strong tail-wind but had to stop every 10 minutes (1/4-mile) to empty water out of canoe by rolling canoe over on shore (with all gear still tied in).  12 hour day, made only 5 miles.  Exhausted.  Found huge, old snapping turtle which recently died.

5/20/09  Day #29   40-70º   Wind NW   5-20 mph   Cloudy, then sunny / Brookston    Re-pitched canoe. Catching Northern Pike daily.  Saw bobcat on shore and wood duck in tree. Passed mouth of the Cloquet River. Saw eagle’s nest with 2 eaglets and both adult eagles nearby.  Made 5 miles.  Camped at Brookston.  Met friends Bruce and Denise Jerome and Brook and Bob Rabbers.

5/21/09 Day #30   45-60º   Wind W   10-20 mph   Sunny, clear / Paupores  Poling with 7 foot aspen (beaver chewed, 1 ” diameter) along river bank, faster and easier than paddling up currents. Lots of maple, oak and basswod trees. Made 12 miles.

Beaver dams

Beaver dams on river

5/22/09 Day #31   50-75º   Wind E   5-10 mph   Sunny, cloudy / Floodwood  Entered East Savanna River.  Many deadfall, sweepers, log jams, and beaver dams.  High water, swift current. River 10 feet wide, 4 feet deep.  Saw black bear (medium-sized) on shore. It ran away quickly. Made 14 miles.

Journal to be continued in next post.

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