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CHAPTER TWO
The Voyage:

Day Four: Moose Muck

We awoke at 5:45AM, made breakfast, broke camp, policed the area and shuffled canoe partners. Up until today I had Travis and Joey Z in my canoe. The other canoes were also father and son teams one day Maeve was with Joe and Joey V the next with Steve and Tyler. Today Maeve would travel with Joey Z and I, Travis teamed up with Joey V and Tyler, leaving Joe V and Steve together.

We traveled a very short distance to our first portage of the day. It was 39 rods and took us to an un-named lake between Other Man Lake, Bit Lake and Bell Lake. The portage started out just fine but quickly turned into a nightmare. It was wet from the rain, had variable elevation, but worst of all, knee-deep mud, referred to as moose muck. It was very much like quick sand in that once in you chad a difficult time moving or getting out. You just sink about two and half to three feet to its bottom . Since this was our first exposure to the muck a couple of the scouts were caught off guard. As they were walking into it they found themselves quickly sinking and fell. Joey V was the first to take the plunge. Once out of the muck we had to ascend up a steep rock face which was un-level, flat, smooth, slippery rock and then down a narrow obstacle laden trail to the lake.

We no sooner launched and we were in search of the next portage. This was marked as a 4-rod portage but became difficult to find. As it turned out the portage had been obstructed by beaver making its entrance obscure when approached. We made the short portage into another unnamed lake and again immediately searched out the next portage 21 rods to Bell Lake. A couple miles later we took an 18-rod and then a 74-rod portage to Fran Lake.

We decided to find a place on Fran Lake for lunch. After lunch the scouts took to the water for a swim. They swam over to a rock that was just under the water marked on the map with a small black cross. These rocks are called Jesus rocks because you can stand on them and it appears that you are walking on water. The scouts all participated in a short swim race that Maeve promised the winner the rights to licking the evenings desert dish. Joey Z won the race.

While paddling I realized that the trees in the area had changed. While the shores further south were covered with Birch, Ash and Pines, mostly Pines, Furs and Cedar covered the lakes in this area. We also began to run across wood ducks, which have feather on the back of their heads resembling that of a woodpecker.

We paddled across Fran Lake and took a 5 rod portage to Slate Lake. We were very fortunate that the water level was high on Slate Lake or we would have been forced to take a 55 rod portage instead of the 5 rods. This put us into as marsh area that was easy to paddle through though it did have far more bugs to content with. We paddled about a mile then came to a 5 rod portage to Saganagona Lake.

Once again Maeve had been informed of a fun uncharted camp site on an island. We headed to it only to find another crew had beaten us to it. Now while it may start to sound like there were people everywhere, it just wasn’t the case. Throughout the entire day we had not passed another crew. It just happened that Saganagona Lake was large and other crews were on it. Shortly we found a site on a rock with a great sunset view, cool breeze and on the way to Silver Falls. We pitched camp and stowed the gear. While the cooking crew prepared dinner, Joey Z and I swam to a rock that protruded out of the water about 200 yards from the camp site. We sat on the small rock and enjoyed the peace of the lake and the sounds of the loon and seagulls. We swam in for dinner, told stories with the crew and as it became dark the mosquitoes came out.

In the tent that night Joe V and I shared many stories while Steve fell asleep. I set my alarm for 1:00Am to see if we could catch the Northern Lights. I fell asleep, and was awoken by the alarm. Unfortunately the Northern Lights were nowhere to be seen.