YUM YUM POGTAGE
My second trip
into the Boundary Waters in 1981 was among my most memorable. Due
to scheduling difficulties my partner and I had to compress a planned
six day trip into five. Our destination was Khashapiwi. We were
paddling an old aluminum canoe that weighed a ton and had no portage
yoke. We two-manned this behemoth across the portages.
the old smaller scale Fisher "F" series maps was challenging at
times. In looking at the approaches to Khashapiwi we decided we
liked the looks of the route through Yum Yum better. The first night
we wound up on Dell Lake where there were no established campsites.
We found the most level spot we could and did a rather slipshod
job of hanging the food pack. After an uncomfortable night we arose
the next morning and were trying to determine if the creek shown
on the map could be paddled or if we should use the portage. As
we moved down the shoreline we noticed a tall dead tree swaying
back and forth. As we paddled closer to investigate we could see
the bear at its base trying to push it over to glean a meal of
insects no doubt. All this was taking place no more than 100 yards
from where we had camped!
bear to his endeavors we quickly portaged to the next lake and left
him behind. As I recall it was on the portage into Grey Lake that
we encountered our next dilemma. We came to a section that will
undoubtedly become a peat bog someday but at that time it was too
thin to stand on and almost too thick to paddle. So we pulled, pushed,
and poled our way across it. Floundering around briefly until we
picked up the portage trail on the other side. The view of Grey
Lake at the end of the portage made it worth the effort. It was
in a word, sublime. Whether it was the time of day, the light, or
the sky conditions, I don't know, but it is a memory that is as
fresh in my mind today as if I were standing there.
One thing the
old Fisher maps lacked was contour lines. Had we known what was
ahead on the Yum Yum to Khashapiwi portage we surely would have
reconsidered our route. With a change in elevation of 150' to 200'
at both ends of the portage our work was cut out for us. Remember
we were two-manning the canoe. Add to this our packs and you have
a double portage over an extremely challenging 220 rods. Just to
make it even more interesting a short way into the portage you are
required to negotiate a moss covered face of rock where it shoulders
its way into the path. As I recall it had to be at least 25 to
30 feet high. With no way around, it was up and over.
We reached Khashapiwi
quite exhausted but armed with a story to tell our sons and anyone
else who cares to listen. Looking back I'm glad we made the choice
to go to Khashapiwi via Dell, Grey, and Yum Yum Lakes.