August 16th, 2019
July 3rd, 2019
I had coffee all day at Subway yesterday, which unfortunately, made it impossible to fall asleep. A grave miscalculation. Also around midnight a local woman and her teenage daughters come to “party” at the boat landing. It wasn’t all bad as we were waking up, only two hours later. We decided to sleep in until 3:00 AM to let the still audible wind die down a little. We paddled into Little Peter Pond, after granola and coffee pills in the dark. There were still some big rollers that splashed some water over the gunwales. The group had to stop after an hour or so to bail. We decided to portage after another peninsula to avoid an open section of Peter Pond. After bushwhacking through 200 meters, we saw that the open section of the lake was still unpaddleable. We decided to have a nap and see if the rollers and wind might die down. At about 3:00 PM we decided to move, donning spray gear and aiming for a point on the far shore. The boats are quite ornery in wind. The wind roared up again at 7:00 PM so we decided to camp, hoping for calmer wind through the night.
June 21st, 2019
Today, June 21st, we continued our slow ascent of the Churchill, deciding midway through our first stretch to pick up the pace a little, attempting to make up one extra day. We paddled, pulled and portaged up and around falls and made the rest of the miles over Black Bear Island Lake. Oh, and we saw a bear also, climbing up the shore and generally ignoring us. Also, we had pancakes for breakfast. Later in the afternoon we ran into some fisherman who didn’t believe us when we told him our route. Quinn (Cliff) saw a cliff and convinced the whole group to jump off. I almost lost my hat. We camped 15 minutes later having gone 24.5 miles. Space Camp has turned into Summer Solstice – the days are getting longer from here on out.
PS. there were pictographs too
June 9th, 2019
Woke up to clear skies and cold temps. Breakfast turned out to be a mix of “yogurt nuts” and oatmeal. We bobsledded our boats down the muddy bank, leading them down to the log bridge to avoid stepping in the oppressive mud. The initially calm morning turned into another windy disaster. By mid-morning we were battling both current and headwind once again. I cannot believe this water is low and the current at points looks ironically fast. We ended up making it 17 miles by lunch but, unfortunately, fell asleep for 2 hours afterwards. We woke up and decided to push further, but made it only three miles until camping next to an outcrop of rocks. We were moving up the shore at points right before the rivers delta. I took some ibuprofen to battle the swelling in my fingers from this morning, possibly the result of paddling mostly on one side. There is currently a gull, making some annoying noise…
May 16th, 2019
Woke up to a relatively warm morning and the rain had subsided during the night. The wind, however, was still gusting from the north, an element that would prove to slow us tremendously throughout the day. We pushed through a ripping side-wind at Native Lake and another sneaky long portage around a dam. At the end of the portage we stared down a large headwind from the north. Without the current to help us we would surely have been wind-bound. We pulled over for lunch at a park in Lac du Bonnet, also sandbagging a local’s favorite fishing spot.
We pushed as far as we could but were eventually shut down by the open section of lake north of the town. While waiting for the wind to subside we ran into some heavily accented locals who congratulated us on our journey. As one of them put it, “You guys are just going for it, huh?” Camped a few hundred meters to the south within sight of an air field.
The next few weeks we will be introducing ourselves. Here is a little bit about Bram Lloyd:
Hi, friends. Meet Bram Lloyd, the trip’s youngest and most muscled member. Bram is an absolute cannon to bring on a canoe trip. He will find a solution to any problem, even if it’s not immediately evident, desirable, or intelligent.
For example, Bram elects to show up to work over an hour early to avoid the burdens of car ownership, and he willfully burns the beans to ensure that they are not too watery.
We are all looking forward to carrying the extra mass that Bram has been cultivating this winter in preparation for the trip.
Where do you start”? Everyone asks us late into the night, to which we reply “THE SOURCE!” Camp Kooch-i-ching, a wilderness tripping camp in the Boundary Waters. It is there we all met as boys, discovered our love for the outdoors, and became friends with other amazing men and women who have inspired us, through their own adventures, to embark on this trip.
For these reasons, we begin at the source.
It’s pretty much North from there.