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.

Navigating with 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!

Leaving the 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.