Re: The Storm of August 16-17

Illini John,

My 13 year old son & I were camped at the southern end of the channel connecting upper & lower Cirrus Lake in Quetico during the storm. Gusts easily clocked 60mph during the late morning hours. When 10 inch diameter trees started snapping within 20 yards of our tent, we hurriedly grabbed some essentials & ran for the windward edge of our promontory. There we waited on the rocks for about an hour or so in torrential rain with storm-whipped waves pounding at our feet. After I was convinced that a major blowdown wasn't in progress, we returned to our campsite to find our tent still standing, miraculously... though several guy lines were lashing about in the breeze.

Afternoon & evening hours were spent IN the tent playing chess, checkers, poker, tic-tac-toe, etc.. Dinner was simply peanut butter & jelly sandwiches; the incessant wind & rain raised havoc with the performance of my stove. All afternoon my son kept insisting that "the tent ain't going to blow down, Dad!" and that I should "Get back inside the tent & play cards!" (versus my continually adjusting guy lines & tarps outside). HIS confidence actually kept ME relatively calm in what I rank as a tough situation. Nevertheless, I slept uneasily, both the first & second nights. My young teenager slept just fine. Anyway, with more wind & rain in the forecast (it rained ALL five days we were in the Park), we bolted on Sunday morning when conditions permitted. I was greatly relieved to learn that the long Park access road had not been washed out (as it had been back in the Spring) and that we were not stranded in our four-wheeler near the Beaverhouse Lake entry point.

This was my son's third trip to Quetico. I suspect this episode, "Man versus Nature", will remain among his more memorable visits & one we'll still talk about when I'm too old & feeble to paddle. At the very least, the experience will earn a "wink" whenever we hear other park campers complain about "bad weather." Our trip had a safe conclusion but I'll warrant many others in the Park didn't fare so well. It was as rough as I've seen it in my dozen or so trips to the Park.

Just like your son, my boy is ready to head back soon. Perhaps the dandy lake trout he caught just before the storm has something to do with that outlook?? I'd rather believe that our working together through the challenge has more to do with it. Time & story-telling will reveal the truth of the matter, I suppose. As for me, I'll remember two key points from this trip: 1) Listen more carefully to weather bulletins, and 2) minimize the western profile of the tent I pitch IF I must "weather out" such a wind storm!

Happy paddling,


Posted by Jimbo on August 22, 2002 at 17:35
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In reply to: The Storm of August 16-17 posted by Illini John on August 20, 2002 at 22:04
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