It has been years since Mike’s cousin Sheri first read the book The Rootbeer Lady. Ever since she read it she has wanted to go to visit Dorothy’s Isle of Pines on Knife Lake. We have scheduled time, made plans, almost went a number of times and one year we almost did it.
We had cleared our busy schedules to allow us to be away for three nights. We had a driver/friend take us out to Moose Lake to our friends at LaTourell’s. The tow boat was ready and waiting for us but the weather turned sour. We spent the night there with hopes the weather would be better in the morning. Unfortunately the bad weather was there to stay so we took our canoe and headed back home via dry land.
The dream to paddle there together almost seemed impossible to fulfill. Any time we tried to plan it something would come up with one of our schedules. This year she was busy taking summer classes but planned to be up at a cabin on Sag and at our place during her break the last week of August. While she was up at the cabin I was back at Voyageur scheming.
I talked to Mike and we figured out how to make it work. He would drive us over on his way to drop my nieces off in Duluth. We could be on the water and have two nights to camp before I needed to be back home for whatever it was I needed to do that night(I can’t remember now). I asked my adopted mom Darlene if she wanted to come along. Even though she thought she wouldn’t be able to get in and out of the canoe I assured her where there was a will there was a way. I told her to get packed and then I invited Abby along too. All of this was done without even asking Sheri if she wanted to go.
Sheri was due back at our place around noon on a Tuesday. When she got back I asked her if she wanted to go and the answer was an excited "Yes." She got her stuff packed, reserved a permit and we were on the road by 1pm. When we got to LaTourell’s we quickly loaded our gear and canoe onto their towboat and were on our way. We portaged and paddled and found a campsite on Birch Lake for the evening.
Darlene, Sheri and I had all read the book about Dorothy. Abby hadn’t read the book so we brought a copy along to read aloud. We read until our eyes were too heavy to keep open and then went to sleep.
The next morning we got up early and broke camp. We paddled and portaged our way to Knife Lake and to Dorothy’s Islands. We explored the paths, looked at the cabin sites in wonder and had a great time imagining what it would have been like to live out there all year long as Dorothy did. We joked about how we could hear Dorothy asking us if we wanted a cold rootbeer when the wind rustled the trees. It was a very memorable time visiting a place with so much history.
After a while we decided we better start paddling again if we wanted to get home the next day. The wind picked up on Knife as it often does. Luckily it was at our backs so it was a quick paddle to Thunder Point. We hiked to the top for the breathtaking view, caught our breath and then headed back down. We spent the night on my favorite campsite in Ottertrack Lake as it rained over two inches.
The next day the rain had quit and we paddled and portaged out to American Point on Saganaga. We were an hour early for our tow in spite of the wind and waves. We continued reading the book until the tow boat arrived to take us back to Voyageur.
We visited Dorothy’s place, finally! It was a quick trip and we would have loved to have spent more time out camping and canoeing. We really enjoyed our time exploring her place and learning about the past as we created lasting memories that we can take with us into the future.