Lake Winnibigoshish

I had my alarm set early, but it always sucks when you wake up just before it goes off. I was still exhausted from the day before. There was a bunch of laughing and screaming from the group with all the tween girls. I assume they were a girl scout troop or something. Why were they up at 4:00 AM though? Shortly thereafter their cars pulled away and took the noise with them.

I slowly did my morning routine and got in the water it was not quite as early as the day before. The forecast still had low winds for the day, but also pushed back the high gusting until the afternoon the next day. This was good because it gave me a little cushion if I didn’t finish Winnibigoshish.

The channel to the river

There was a pretty morning fog that hung over the river and made for some pleasant paddling. There were probably gentle animal noises, but I didn’t hear them over the Busta Rhymes and Dr Dre on my speaker. No one was around to bother, so why not?

Morning fog

I guess I forgot to take a picture of the burned down bridge, but there wasn’t much left besides the remnants of some wooden pylons and the built embankment of the old road. The river opens up into another large wetlands called Mississippi meadows. There was one rest stop in there that I took advantage of. I wanted a nap so bad.

As I was leaving the meadows, there is a resort with river access. I saw a few kayaks, tents, and a guy I thought I recognized from a Facebook group for paddlers. Sure enough it was him. I chatted for several minutes and that really did wake me up. They actually planned on doing Winnie the next day, the day of the storms. I mentioned the good forecast for today, but he didn’t seemed swayed.

I paddled a short distance and was surprised to see Lake Winnibigoshish already. I thought I had another mile or two still. Before venturing out, I confirmed the wind forecast, both direction and speed. It looked good for my choice to go along the south shore. I was surprised I couldn’t even see the fat shore, my destination for the evening.

Lake Winnibigoshish

It was only a gentle breeze, not quite a straight head wind. This added a little work, but no waves to speak of. I was amazed how shallow the lake was. At some points I must have been 200 yards from shore and not even waist deep. I chose to skirt the edges because it would be insane to be out in the middle of that, more than an hour from shore. I figure this probably added around 4-5 miles to a 16 mile traverse.

When I got to the south shore I was delighted to find that they had installed a bench right next to the sandy beach for me. It was really quite kind of them. I consider waling a mile into town to eat at the diner, but decided to pass in the end. After a little rest I prepared myself mentally for another few hours of solid paddling and off I went.

As I finally rounded Tamarack Point, I was only about 3 miles from the Lake Winnie Dam. There were a couple private docks, but the next one I saw really annoyed me. It went way far out into the water. As I paddled out and past it, I realized it was another fishing resort. Then it caught my eye: the sign. I wasn’t sure I read it right so far out, so I turned straight back to shore. There was a guy scraping off his boat launch. I confirmed with him “Do you have a restaurant?” I did read correctly that the sign said burgers. Couldn’t have been a more perfect time either, right at 5:00. The burger was mediocre, but the fries were wonderful. I probably could have order a second dinner, but the call of the campground was strong.

I paddled the last few miles to the dam I took a mostly direct shot, which put me the farthest from the coast of the day. The water was glass though with no wind to speak of. I figure I approached a mile out.

Getting to the dam I was looking for the portage. Did they really not have some sort of ramp? I landed on the rip rap (basketball sized rocks to prevent erosion). My wheels were going to help me here, so I made 4 or 5 trips carrying all my stuff up the bank.

Terrible portage

Then finally I could roll to the campground. I chatted with my camp neighbors. One guy even told me about a long canoe trip he took in the 60’s going north to Hudson Bay . It sounded pretty intense and awesome. I managed to score a rice crispy treat out of the chat, which was fresh and tasted perfect. The chat also proved really helpful because I came back to them to get the door code for the showers. You see, this is why I was so interested in getting to camp. This was my first shower in a week. Thankfully the soap dispenser for the sink was moveable, so I even had soap! I washed out my clothes some too. Besides river water, they hadn’t gotten a proper washing. Then sleep.

Evening view of Winnie

Mileage: 27.4

Total Mileage: 110.8

Today’s Audio: Slow Burn, season 8 (podcast about Clarence Thomas and his bizarre shift from the Black Power movement to the hard right)

Day 8

3 thoughts on “Lake Winnibigoshish

  1. Finally an update!! I was starting to worry about you. I’m enjoying following your travels. :) Pam from Pine Point

    1. Sometimes my energy and time don’t match up with cell service locations, haha. You can see I’m still moving if you look in the menu and click “Where’s Parks”.

  2. Good mileage today, ๐Ÿ˜€ Hope the mosquitoes arenโ€™t too bad. Nick, gather up the entries after you return and submit to the newspaper. It would also make a great human interest story, too. ๐Ÿ˜˜ Auntie B

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