Summer trip report: Mudro Lake entry point (Part 2)

Editor’s note: Staff members at the Friends of the Boundary Waters regularly take trips in the wilderness that we all love. Membership and Administrative Coordinator Cori Mattke wrote this trip report from her August trek. This is part of two – you can read the first part here.

Entry & Exit Point: #22 Mudro Lake
Number of Days: 5
Season: August 2013

Day 3

Blueberries!! Scads of them. All over the campsite. I suppose that is one silver lining to the extremely late spring the BWCAW experienced this year – blueberries ripening in August. Who would have thought? Not us. Though we enjoyed it thoroughly.

Crooked Lake CampCrBlueberries

Day 4

Fueled by blueberries and sunshine we set off the next morning and traveled south through Friday Bay, down Papoose Creek to Papoose Lake, Chippewa Lake, Nikki Lake, and on to Wagosh and Bullet Lake. We camped that night on Moosecamp Lake. A lake that is deceptively long as you paddle across it once, and then twice, looking for an open campsite…

Day 5

The next morning we woke to much cooler temperatures and a thick fog that not only obscured the lakeshore, but short distances within our campsite itself. It was equally as eerie as it was stunning.

Moosecamp Fog

After waiting out the fog we were on the water again. We were headed south down the Moosecamp River to Fourtown Lake for our last evening in the woods. A short paddle, but not an easy paddle, as we encountered water levels that had dropped significantly in the few days since we began our journey at Mudro. I am a firm believer that polling your way through a reedy BWCAW river is a character builder. No question. And it offers an experience of the wilderness that is much different than the experiences one has paddling in high water levels, or even normal water levels. Polling your way through water lilies and pulling the boat over mud ridges offers a bit of unfiltered truth to the wilderness experience. It keeps the challenge alive and reminds you that you have to earn the opportunity to see the complex beauty of this place. Pristine lakeshores and sunsets are one thing, but can you find the beauty in a backwater lily patch, half-eaten by bugs?

Water LilyPaddling Lillies

In time, we made it to Fourtown. Found a campsite, ate lunch, and then spent the afternoon reading in the park-like Red Pine forest that was our home for the evening. I’ve become a big fan of this slow exit of the wilderness – taking time to soak in the last hours of silence and the colors of a sunset before turning our boat to the exit point.

Fourtown Lake

Day 6

Our last day and true to form, morning coffee takes twice as long – anything to stall the final pack-up. It was sitting by the lake that morning that I realized that we had done it, we had had the ideal trip. Not a drop of rain during the day, wonderful travel days, restful hours in between, good food, good company, and a route that toured the diverse micro-landscapes of the BWCAW.

Wilderness tripping takes time to get good at. I don’t pretend to know the best way to set-up a tarp, the winning structure for starting a camp fire, or how to perfectly balance travel days, but I have learned over time and refined my routine trip after trip. My traditions have mixed with experience and now, have mixed with the traditions and routines of those that I travel with. It’s a wonderful collaboration of history, experience and interaction and I can’t wait to see how it develops in the years to come.

Boat Pic

(Photos by Ryan Mattke)

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