Paddling in the Quetico
How lucky we were to be able to paddle into the Quetico for a few nights last week. Mike and I have wanted to return since we were last there in 1999. At that time I was 7 months pregnant and of course it was hot and uncomfortable sleeping on the ground but I still loved it there and couldn’t wait to return.
Wait we did and this trip the baby that was inside of me helped portage and paddle us there. Abby is now 12 years old yet it feels like the last trip was yesterday. I’m happy to say we loved Blackstone this time just as much as we did last time if not more since we were able to share it with our kids.
There are at least 3 ways to get into Blackstone and we went in one way and out another. Our favorite way to go is through the creek in spite of the numerous beaver dams you have to pull over. As my son Josh pointed out, "This really isn’t like the normal lakes of the canoe country." The creek has lily pads, twists and turns and is very different than the typical scenery of the BWCA or Quetico Park. We observed numerous Pitcher Plants along the route which is a rare treat.
There was a group fishing in Blackstone and one group camping there upon our arrival but the fishermen left quickly and the campers left the next morning so we had the lake to ourselves for 3 nights. We swam, read, relaxed, fished and played cards in the tent when it rained. I also hiked the 290 rod portage into Bell Lake that was more like a muddy river for 3/4 of the length.
We took the lakes and portages to Slate Lake to get back into Saganagons when it was time to depart. Two of the lakes on that route don’t have names and while Janice the Quetico Park Ranger called them Secret and Spooky we didn’t think they were a secret or spooky. The long portage(approximately 150 rods) into Slate proved to be challenging with mud up to our knees in places. Most of the time I thought we were following a moose path through a swamp instead of walking along a portage. The creek and cliff that followed the portage provided nice scenery nonetheless. The kids were amazing as they sloshed their way through the muck and paddled in the rain and of course made us proud as they portaged around Silver Falls back into Cache Bay.
It was great to spend time in the Quetico Park and I’ll fill you in on more of the details in another blog.
Creek into Blackstone Portage into Bell