Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes (11, 842 to be exact) and we paddled-twenty three of them in this whirlwind of a hitch. After all six of us piled into our mint green truck, we drove to the Moose Lake landing where we got a tow from the Forest Service. Our tow consisted of strapping our canoes on a rack on a john boat and speeding twenty minutes to our first portage into Birch Lake. The following hours of our trip consisted of strenuous paddling and portaging through four more Lakes. Finally finding an adequate camp site on Knife Lake, we wrapped up the day with a tasty meal of coconut curry and a round of cards.
Day two began with the shrill rattle of red squirrels and cups of instant coffee. Awake and alert we prepared to clear the first of five priority sites. This site in particular, was once the home of Dorothy Molter, a local legend. She was one of the last people to live in what is now the Boundary Waters and was famous for her homemade root beer she would sell to passing boaters. At the cabin site we encountered large patches of Tansy and over grown Tartarian Honeysuckle. After an hour, of pulling and sawing we took a few handfuls of GORP and ventured off to our next location. During this hitch we also had our first encounter with purple loosestrife, a plant which is known to completely over run wetlands and choke out native wetland species.
Following our two days of work on Knife Lake, we began two most strenuous days thus far. Our arms ached and screamed at us as we paddled through fifteen more lakes and over four miles of portage trails. However, the highly sought after, bittersweet, thimble berries made the pain disappear as we popped rip handfuls into our mouths. Weary from paddling, portaging and pulling set up camp and on what we thought was named “Diz Lake,” to our disappointment it was actually named Dix Lake.
The final two days of our hitch were spent pulling our final two priority sites. One of which consisted of only a single tansy plant, proof that our treatment methods are affective. Our final night we camped on Disappointment Lake, which was anything but disappointing. The lake was as beautiful as any, lined with birch, aspen, cedars and pines, filled with looming gray boulders and pristine clear water. A few lucky crew members even spotted a group of young otters splashing about. As we paddled up to our final priority site, we were confronted with a sea of four foot tall tansy. Removing it all seemed like a daunting task at first, but managed to conquer it all. Photographic evidence of our conquest can be seen below.