I was itching to go when I first woke up at 4:00. It was an awkward place to camp and wanted to head out before early morning walkers started going by. It was still too dark though, so I set my alarm for another half hour.
At first light, the wind was low enough to finally go. I continued my way around the lake. I was thankful for the plants growing out of the water. They helped cut down the waves.
Finally the river opened up and made for some enjoyable paddling. The wind was still pushing me around, but it wasn’t as bad without waves and the trees to block a bunch. I went past the northern most point on the river. Some house along there has a sign, but I didn’t see it as I went by.
I arrived at another dam, but this one I can’t blame on the beavers. I did get a chance to use my new portage wheels and put them to proper use.
The section after the dam was wide and shallow, but was some of my favorite paddling so far. I saw my first of 7 bald eagles for the day here. It was wooded and twisted it’s way around. Eventually it opened up into some wetlands, and then into Wolf Lake.
I had forgotten that Wolf Lake was even on the map and thought I had gotten to Andrusia Lake. Now typically a name doesn’t matter, but at Andrusia Lake I needed to turn right, and I’m sure you can guess, at Wolf Lake I needed to turn left. Bonus miles.
I got back on track and through Wolf and Andrusia Lakes, before arriving at my biggest challenge for the day: Cass Lake. The wind was pretty significant and I was pretty tired, but it was still within doability. I probably would have stopped before this, but the forecast for wind was light for the next day. If I could crush miles 2 days in a row, I could finish Lake Winnibigoshish on an easy day, instead of risking getting stuck in shore again. The days after were calling for high winds and storms.
I set out on my way along the north shore of Cass Lake. The wind was northwest, so this route had the smallest waves. They will build over the course of the lake, so going south would have been tough. Just before I got to the outlet of Buck Lake, I saw a bright white ball in the water. Is that a golf ball? Sure enough as I continued to paddle that stretch I came across at least a dozen.
As I wrapped around the last section of the shore, the waves were tougher to handle and I was tired. Along here the waves had a significant stretch of lake to build. Thankfully it was mostly sandy beach. I did stop for a little break. Oddly, there were a bunch of houses and I didn’t see a single person sitting out. It was a pleasant temperature and otherwise nice weather.
The last several hundred yards before the dam had lots of private docks. The forced me farther out in the water and exhausted me. I finally had to take a break on the last beach before the dam. A couple of nice ladies came out to check in me. It was nice to chat and they explained where the portage was exactly.
I camped at the Army Corp campsite where the former Knutson Dam was located. They had removed it and replaced it with rock cascades.
Mileage: 28.7 + 3 bonus miles
Total Mileage: 83.4 mi