Posted by: esimula | August 11, 2009

Pigeon River to Grand Portage Arrowhead Journey Ends 8/4/2009 – 8/7/2009

Day 105     8/4/2009     Partridge Falls       60-70 o F     Sunny      W Winds 5-15 mph

Filmed with CackleTV’s Justine Curgenven, professional canoe filmmaker, and Bearskin Lodge’s Quinn McCloughan, wilderness guide and canoe engine.  We started paddling and filming on Lake Superior at Artist Point – Grand Marais.  We hiked in and toured my Arrowhead Trail cabin, birch bark canoe building shop and sled dog kennel (10 Dogs, Alaskan Huskies).  Then we resumed the Arrowhead Journey at Partridge Falls of the Pigeon River, where we made camp at the head of the spectacular 20-ft. waterfall.  Pitched canoe.  Beautiful Full Moon.


Day 106     8/5/2009     Fort Charlotte     50-65 o F      W Winds 5-15 mph     Sunny/Thunderstorm

Portaged around Partridge Falls (120 rods) and paddled two miles down the Pigeon River to the site of Fort Charlotte, the western terminus of the 8.5-mile Grand Portage (2,720 rods), and made camp under beautiful old-growth white pines by the class I rapids.


Day 107     8/6/2009     Dog-Freight-Pines     50-70 o F     NW Winds 5-15 mph     Sunny     

Rained most of night at remote Fort Charlotte camp.  Cleaned and dried canoe and gear and prepared outfit for final portage.  Warm humid morning with mosquitoes bad.  Filtered four quarts of water.  Left camp at 2:30 p.m. in a single carry, with a 50-pound canoe, a 50-pound pack, and Kitigan pulling in harness and carrying a 20-pound pack.   Carried for 10-15 minutes, rested for 5-10 minutes at each pose.  Met professional photographer and friend Layne Kennedy and his daughter Austin on the Grand Portage Trail.  Stopped and rested at Junction Pose (Old Cascade Trail), High Pose (Highest Elevation of the Grand Portage), Beaver Pond Pose, The Cedars Pose, The Fountain Pose, Poplar Creek Pose, and Dog Freight Pose.  Portaged six miles along good trail in respectable time with no injury.  Made bivouac camp at 9 p.m.  


Day 108     8/7/2009     Grand Portage Rendezvous – End of Arrowhead Journey!      Sunny/Calm

Mulligan (very small) cook fire for coffee and breakfast.  Outfit, Canoe, Man and Dog all ready to finish strong.  Portaged three miles to Lake Superior, arriving at the mouth of the Grand Portage Creek at 4 p.m.  To welcome me in and help me down the last mile of the Grand Portage Trail were Dawn Simula, Vern Simula, Layne Kennedy, Austin Kennedy, Voyageur LaFreniere (John Powers) and a promising engage (young laborer).  Paddled Lake Superior around creek to land at the Historic Encampment to a very warm welcome.  Upon landing, was greeted by many friends, including Grand Portage National Monument Superintendent Tim Cochrane and Chief of Interpretation Pam Neil.  After Talk of the Trail and friendly re-aquaintences, we made camp in Grand Portage for the last night of the Arrowhead Journey.


Arrowhead Journey (April 22 – August 7, 2009) – 2010 and Beyond!

It’s been an incredible canoe voyage through the Arrowhead’s most pristine north country.  I am grateful for a safe return and thank all of you who have supported me.  I have a greater appreciation for wilderness, wildlife, traditional Native American lifeways, the tenacity of the Voyageurs, early settlers, and the region’s current inhabitants.  I plan to write a book about the trip and continue my work as a birch bark canoe builder, outdoor skills instructor, park ranger, and wilderness guide.  

I’ll update this website periodically with information for ordering Arrowhead Journey photographs, maps, original artwork, and for book publication news.  Happy Trails!  

Erik Simula & Kitigan



  1. Erik your trip in inspiring. Loved your picture and reading journal entries as you traveled.

    It was great meeting you way back in early May at the Fall River.

    Great Job! Cory

  2. so glad and proud to have you back safe and sound. Treasure your memories. Can’t wait to get your book and beautiful pictures. Have enjoyed them all. Have even sent your journey to Fla. air base in Panama city. take care Love you

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