Close Encounters on the Wild Side: ruffled grouse, loons, more ticks, my brother's socks, Canada geese
My legs are going to fall off at the knee. But hey - it's not raining and my boots are dry (this is my new standard of comfort). The sun even makes an appearance! And luckily for me, the trail evens out and there aren't nearly as many hills.
We follow the shore of Rose Lake right up to the Canadian border, then turn south and will follow a 337 rod portage down to Daniels Lake. For those of you who don't speak canoeist, 337 rods translates into "A frickin' long portage." Luckily for us, we're not carrying canoes. (Quick fact: this portage was once the old Algar Smith Railroad, which used to transport timber from the Rose Lake area down to Two Harbors back in the 1920's).
It's pretty clear when we reach the portage because there's a river in our way.
|You can see the current from the river pushing into Rose Lake.|
|We take a break before following the river south upstream.|
My dad holds the girls.
We're making pretty good time, and it's another lovely day for hiking. Of course, the path of true adventure never did run smooth. In the next picture, do you see the rapid little stream ahead of us?
Yeah, that's not a stream: that's the trail.
|Rubi says, "You have got to be friggin' kidding me."|
It turns out that yesterday alone we got four inches of rain. Add that to the rain we've gotten every single day since we started, and water levels in the lakes alone has risen about twelve inches since we started our hike. All this rain fall has caused this normally tame stream to flood its banks and lose its damn mind.
|Mind = blown.|
Still, it's hard to be too annoyed when everything is so dang pretty.
|And wet. Don't forget wet.|
|This is not the view up stream; this is the view across stream.|
We literally cannot see the other shore.
|Oh. Look. There it is.|
The "trail" goes on like this for about a mile. Then things got really interesting.
|Someday, my pursuit of a good challenge will be the death of me.|
The was suppose to be a narrow foot bridge over one of the deeper tributaries flowing into our nemesis-to-dry-boots, but the overflow had washed it away. This meant that we had cross an area about six feet wide and three feet deep. There was no way around it: we were going to get our boots wet.
Or, at least, that was what my dad said. I said, "hell no!" stripped my boots and socks off, and rolled my pants up. I hadn't gotten my boots wet since the first day, and I wasn't about to now. Since the girls were going to have to swim across, I took their packs off and carried their gear to the other side, too.
Once on semi dry ground, I had my brother unhook Piper, and I called her across. She did some wild ninja-Jesus move and managed to fly across the mini-river without swimming or getting wet. I'm still not sure how she did it, but color me impressed.
Rubi is not ninja-Jesus. And Rubi, if you will remember from our little dock incident, is not a water dog. She does not swim. Ever.
|"Do you see this face? This is me telling you it ain't happening.|
Now put the camera down and find another way."
Now, I could've just dragged Rubi into the water, and she would've figured it out. But it's not often that Rubi refuses to do something for me. It seems to me that if B tells me that she can't do something, I ought to listen to her. She's a good dog, she tries hard, and she deserves respect - not force.
But still, how were we going to get across this damn river-stream?
I reluctantly settled on carrying her across. When I got her, picking up Rubi was one of the "offenses for which you may get bitten." We've done a lot of body handling work and conditioning, but I wasn't confident that Rubi wouldn't freak out, start flailing, and drop us both in the drink.
To my surprise and relief, once she realized that I wasn't grabbing her collar to pull her into the water, Rubi not only let me pick her up without protest, but she didn't move a muscle as I carried her to the other side and set her down safely. This may be because she was frozen stiff with terror from hanging over "deep" water, but I couldn't see her face, so I'm just going to go ahead and credit our success to good training and a relationship based on trust.
Once we were both on relatively dry land, Piper proceeded to do celebration zoomies, because apparently, she thought we were all going to die. You really haven't lived until you've seen a boxer do zoomies on a four foot leash.
Not much farther down the trail, we part ways with the Border Route. Instead of following it further east to Rove Lake and onward, we hop southwest on the Daniel Spur Trail. This trail will eventually take us out of the backwoods and on to Clearwater Lodge.
|The parting of trails.|
I can't say I was sorry to the the Border Route go; the Daniel Spur Trail was higher ground and not flooded out. Still, it's sad to know that the trip is almost over.
|Onward and upward! The adventure's not done yet!|
The Daniel Spur Trail curves along the southern shore of Daniel Lake, and it's at one of the campsites on the lake where we spend the night.
|Lake Daniel and one of my favorite campsites of the trip.|
The hammocks come out, and we all settle in for some well-earned rest.
|This is what heaven looks like.|
And later on, we're treated to the most amazing sunset of the whole trip.
|Each day, a new amazing: best part of the trip,|