I awoke at 5:15am just as it was getting daylight. It is darker so much later in the morning now than it is in June. I got dressed and started coffee and tea water on the alcohol stove. It' a backup to Wil's MSR PocketRocket backpacking stove. Wil soon joined me. Wil was packing some items in the food bag when I took our frozen steaks out of the cooler. I laid them, along with my jerky, on the hatch of the Pirus. We got packed and were on the road to Entry Point #14, Little Indian Sioux North by 8:15am which was only 5 miles away. When clearing out the car I noticed my jerky still on the hatch. I asked Wil about the steaks but he never saw them. I thought they went in the food bag. He drove back towards the campground while I portaged the canoe 40 rods to the river. He came back rather quickly, finding the gallon baggie of steaks laying 2 miles back in the center of the road. The truck that passed Wil barely missed running over the meat. After portaging the rest of our gear to the river we shoved off, paddling down the Little Indian Sioux River at 9:12am.
Our portage situation consisted of the canoe with paddles and seats lashed in, the food pack and a pack carrying all clothing, sleeping gear, tent and tarp. I usually double portaged with the 50 lb canoe and 55lb gear pack while Wil carried the food pack averaging 55lbs. On the longer portages Wil met to relieve me of the canoe giving us each a portage and a half. I have to mention that Wil is a very strong 62 years old and I'm an old 53, but we both backpacked in our younger days which I feel helps us enjoy the art of portaging.
The day was beautiful and sunny with August temperatures of middle to upper 70's. We paddled into Upper then Lower Pauness Lakes, then the 216 rod portage into Shell Lake. The portage was very busy with 2 guys heading to Hustler and 4 canoes going fishing in Shell. As we paddled across Shell Lake the wind started to pick up. By the next portage, 15 rods, the wind was blowing harder. Little Shell had some shelter but Lynx Lake, 4 rods, was hard to paddle as the wind was blowing hard on the port side. The huge lily pads growing on the water were a pretty green but when the wind blew them, flipping up the underside, they were a reddish color.
The portage into Ruby Lake was killer. We didn't yet have our portage legs tuned up so the 280 rods had us panting pretty hard. Met a guy from Georgia nicknamed Mapwalker on the BWCA.com forum. He was walking every portage three times. I asked everyone we met if they were from the Canoecountry.com forum. No one was. It was 3:30pm and the wind was really blowing hard now. Mapwalker took the only campsite on Ruby which forced Wil and I to move on to Hustler with only a 10 rod crawl to defeat. I was afraid the campsites would be full over there but the 1st site we saw was open. We busted over and sat up camp. The tent wanted to blow away before we got it staked down. We decided to have Happy Hour and just milled around enjoying the solitude, the smell of pine and the temporary freedom from life. We saw an eagle on Lynx Lake, bear shit on the Ruby Lake portage and I lost my clip on watch somewhere. Not a bad first day.
As the sun descended lower on the horizon the wind calmed also. We got a fire going and cooked the traditional steaks and baked potatoes. The moon came up bright as it was nearing full so we hung the food bag, took a few pictures and called it a day. 14.25 miles total including the double portages. Not too bad.