Location: Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
|The last great adventure of this trip!|
I decided to kayak around the Kabetogama Peninsula (Kabetogama is pronounced cab'toga-ma) of the Voyageurs National Park area. This was a serious undertaking which required some serious gear! I found an excellent outfitter with Northern Lights Resort in the town of Kabetogama, Minnesota. They were very kind and set me up with a touring Kayak and all the necessary gear for $27/a day (great price).
So I set off for a complete circumnavigation of the Kabetogama Peninsula! Right from the beginning it was raining. This is classic for Minnesota! It can be cold and rainy straight into June! I set off just one week before the season opener for fishing. This ended up being an opportune time for some serious wilderness solitude. It was warm enough to kayak comfortably but there were absolutely no boats or crowds!
|A vast wilderness|
There were hundreds of islands, inlets and smaller bays. Getting lost would be so easy up here so it was a constant challenge in navigation. I bought some hardcore navigational charts for the entire area and depended on my compass as a lifeline. Cell phone and GPS coverage are very spotty.
I can't deny that I felt a strange sense of loneliness on the first day of kayaking. I've been on the road for a full 25 days now. Although I've had good times with some friends, the majority of this time I've been alone. I guess it all just hit me on that first day. This isn't my first time dealing with loneliness; I've spent weeks alone in the wilderness. For me, its a feeling that simply passes with time. By nightfall on the first day, I was back to enjoying the solitude!
|Alone in the wilderness|
The next morning was hell. As most these things go, it started off well! I was in great spirits and hit the water early. I came around the very exposed Soldier Point and headed off into the southern part of Rainy Lake. As I was kayaking in the furthest section from land, a GALE FORCE wind hit me! I mean it- there were white caps, full-on waves and everything. I was literally 5 miles away from being halfway around the peninsula. Nevertheless, it was so bad that I had to turn around. Or rather, I had to let the wind and current take me. It was so bad, that it was useless to try and fight it. I paddled (drifted ) to about a mile south of Soldier Point and was able to make my way back to the island where I camped. The wind and waves were simply intolerable.
|Soldier Point, after the weather|
I had to go back through the Gold Portage but I was able to camp on Lake Kabetogama again. I found me a nice little site with a dock, a tent pad, and even a bear locker! There are perhaps 70 campsites in the Voyageurs National Park area that have such amenities.
|Docked on an island|
All in all, it was a 55 mile trek! Its funny because a full circumnavigation around the Kabetogama peninsula is around 60 miles in length. I pretty much did half of it, twice! Oh well, its just one more reason to come back here! If you would like to kayak in Voyageurs National Park, let me know and I'll help you with your plans!