It was 4:30 a.m. in the latter half of May and it was the first day of my planned twelve day Quetico solo. Quetico Dave of Quetico Wilderness Outfitters, graciously accommodated my desire for an early start and ran me all the way down to Three Mile Lake from his base of operations off of Flanders Road. A light rain was falling as Dave deposited me and my gear near the put-in. Undeterred by the weather, I sucked it up and donned my rain slickers as the truck rumbled off. I figured I'd better get used to sucking it up. From here on, I was on my own!!
The first part of my trip would take me up through Bearpelt Creek. Day One was "light" by design since I wanted to fish Wolseley Lake. I planned to troll over to the Bearpelt portage and look for a nearby campsite on Wolseley.
Raindrops had nearly stopped but by the time I crossed Three Mile Lake and crossed the short portage into Wolseley. The wind was blowing hard out of the north, whitecaps were rolling and, soon, trolling the main body of Wolseley was simply out of the question. I was paddling hard just to make headway!! I hugged the western shoreline. By the time I reached the Bearpelt portage, I estimated the wind gusts to be over 30 miles an hour. I walked the portage only to discover "mini-whitecaps" rolling up Bearpelt Creek! The narrow confines of the creek funneled the wind, creating a wind tunnel!
Back on Wolseley, I picked a "quiet" moment and bolted for a campsite over on the western shore. I quartered with the wind, running a fine line between taking waves broadside and being pushed along by a howling northwest wind at my back! It was a wild ride racing headlong towards the flat rock landing of my chosen campsite. As I drew close to shore, I realized I had a problem. I wasn't sure I could land in these wind and waves there without dumping! Somehow I managed to swing around a small outcropping of rock and scramble out of my canoe. I pulled it up as high as possible and tied it off. Whew! Nothing like a wild paddle and an adrenaline rush to start your trip!
The campsite was fine except for one thing. It was wide open to the north wind. I wasn't about to get back on that lake. At least there would be NO bugs!
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