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Wake up at 5:45. , too excited to sleep any longer. Shower and wake up the boys. Greg shows up at 6:30. Everything was packed and loaded and we hit the road at 6:58, right on schedule. Breakfast in Siren at the Main Street Cafe kicked serious ass and fueled us for the day ahead. Ice for the beer in the cooler and gas in Siren and we are underway, holding rigidly to Jake's schedule.
Arrived at the put in right on time, dropped the boats, found the campsite, self-registered, set up camp, and launched by noon. It was a beautiful, warm, bluebird day on the Bois Brule. A couple of riffles started us out and put us in a great mood. I had not paddled the Sirocco in fast water yet and was a little nervous. It turns out there was no need, the boat handled like a dream, although much different than in flat water. Little Joe rapids were a fast drop with decent action, and were the highlight of this stretch.
Maynard learned that drinking beer on a sharp corner on the Brule is not recommended. Unfortunately for the rest of us, we did not see his textbook wet-exit while under a sweeper, but we did see the aftermath. This was the only accidental swimming on the trip.
The 12 miles was over by 4 p.m., and we were ready to relax and enjoy the day. We had planned to goof off in the May Ledges, but boat launching was not allowed so the plan was ixnayed.
Copper Range campground is very nice. It has large campsites, huge trees, and enough room for a really good round of Frisbee. We set up the chairs and a cooler right next to water near a gigantic pine tree, and enjoyed the afternoon. What a day. Greg nailed it by declaring it the best day of 2005, so far. We all agreed heartily. We consumed a large dinner with wild rice, grilled pork chops, and grilled mushrooms. It was all around excellent fare, an excellent day, and an excellent fire with libations that evening.
Saturday: 15 miles, Copper Range Campground to Lake Superior.
I woke up too early again, around 5:40, and couldn't get back to sleep. I started a fire, and generally made a lot of noise to get the others up. Maynard asked if I had the coffee ready yet, and the tent holding Jake and Greg erupted at the magic word: coffee.
A large breakfast of scrambled eggs with salsa and tortillas and fresh camp coffee put everyone in high sprits. Note: the lid to my Dutch oven, when inverted over a fire makes a fine place to warm tortillas. We moved cars to the take out on Lake Superior, and put in right on schedule again. Jake's schedule was eerily accurate, and eerily followed.
This section of the river was a lot different than the day before. It is almost constant Class I rapids, very fun and enjoyable. We came upon the first set of ledges, the Lenroot Ledges after about 45 mins. of paddling.
What a great little stretch of whitewater! The water was down so the ledges were Class II, but we pre-scouted to determine the best route. Jake went first, I followed, then Maynard and lastly Greg. No problems were encountered and we all were pumped to have navigated the ledge. There were several drops of 2 to 3 feet, and reactionary waves to deal with but it was a fairly easy run. No one wanted to drag their boats back up so we proceeded to the next section.
Mays Ledges were a little more difficult, and a lot more fun. One drop of about 3 feet sent a huge wave of water over my head; I thought that was pretty cool. I almost biffed downstream on another small ledge, but a well timed brace (and a big flat ledge to brace against) put me upright easy as pie. I managed to lose my sunglasses at some point, but was not very upset. That river can put you in a fantastic state of mind.
The rest of the trip was mostly fast water, with the exception of the last mile or so. The river slowed down as we neared the lake, and the wind picked up. The temperature also dropped considerably. We decided against kayaking in the 5 foot breakers on the lake, and left in search of burgers, beers, and home.
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