Ever since we got our canoe over 2 years ago, we've been wanting to give canoe camping a try. Even Sierra has voiced her excitement to try getting to a campsite by canoe. We had considered a trip in Voyageurs National Park, but with big lakes even a breeze of 10 miles per hour can make paddling a challenge. We would need to go somewhere with smaller lakes. However, the Boundary Waters is too restrictive and our canoe is too heavy (85 lbs.) to portage. Instead, after doing some research on the Superior National Forest website, I found a PDF brochure about the Hunting Shack River Canoe Route. I checked the weather forecast for Sunday into Monday and things looked pretty good. There was a slight chance of rain and the wind looked reasonable. Last night we packed our sleeping bags and other camping gear and today we loaded everything into the car and made our way out the Echo Trail to where it crosses the Hunting Shack River on a culvert.
We loaded the canoe at the side of the road
There were lots of aquatic plants with clusters of purple flowers growing in the shallow stream.
After a brief wrong turn (we headed up a tributary to a culvert where Forest Road 200 crossed the stream) we made our way further up the Hunting Shack to the pretty Astrid Lake. The campsite on the east shore that I had read was the preferred site was taken and so we made our way in a light headwind to the campsite on the south shore on an elevated rock outcropping. We pulled the gear out of the canoe and then carried the canoe away from the water to higher ground.
After getting cap set up it was time for a swim. Noelle and Sierra found a small beach while exploring, but it led into a mucky lake bottom. Instead we opted to enter the water from the rock. We probably spent about an hour swimming around
Eventually the biting flies drove us into the tent for a break before dinner. At dinnertime I cooked up some noodle/rice dinners on the Whisperlite Stove. There was a nice log to sit on near the campfire ring.
After eating Noelle filtered some water.
Clouds rolled through and thunder rumbled in the distance. We never did get any rain though. In fact, by the time the sun set, the sky was largely clear.
This morning we awoke to cloudy skies and much chillier temperatures. I explored camp one last time before we started to pack things up. There were some Indian pipe
We packed up camp and got into the canoe for the paddle across Astrid Lake
and back into the Hunting Shack River.