Three Day trip to Clear Lake with our Grandson
Each late August we like to do a three day trip with whatever grandkids can join us. This year we couldn’t get the granddaughters but we did get our grandson Jack & his mom, our daughter, Karyn to join us. One of the permits that were open was for Farm Lake, entry #31. This is a nice area, close to Ely and once you get across Farm Lake and over to the Kawishiwi River, it is more sheltered from the wind. Since there was four of us, we chose a Wenonah MN4, 23 foot, 61 pound canoe which has four seats.
We started out mid-morning on Farm Lake and had some fairly strong winds that were coming from the south but with a few bursts that hit us on the side of the canoe. The MN4 can be a little harder to steer so John did a lot of ruddering. It is only two miles across Farm to get into the North Kawishiwi. The river is big and wide here and has several small islands. After the river narrows down for the second time, about 2 miles from the mouth of the river, the maps show a short 10 rod portage. You only have to take the portage in very low or very high water. We were able to paddle right through it and then headed south into a bag. Maps show the next portage on the top of the bay but you actually have to go all the way to the back of the bay.
There is a 160 rod portage into Clear Lake and the trail is a good one and rolls up & down just a little. We did the portage in just one trip. Jack carried a small VNO guide pack; John carried the canoe and a pack, Karyn & Lynn each took one pack. Once on Clear Lake we headed over to the island campsite. It is a great spot for a small group. It only has one tent area but the fire pit area is great and the canoe landing is a fair one. After getting the camp set up, we threw a few bobbers off the site and Jack played on the rock by the water. We caught a couple small bass and bluegills. John, Karyn and Jack took the canoe out to get water and they also scouted the edges of the lake for some firewood. We had some dinner and afterwards made some hot chocolate and S ‘mores for Jack. We watched the full moon come up over the lake and then it was time to go to sleep.
The second day we had a late breakfast and then went out fishing and checking out the other sites on the lake. We were the only ones on the lake for all three days. Fishing was a little slow even though someone that summer had told us that Clear Lake had been a hot spot for smallmouth. Oh well, that’s the way it goes, sometimes it is “hot” and sometimes it is “not”. We spent the rest of the day just laying around, enjoying not having to do anything. Jack kept himself busy playing with some of his toy Power Rangers by himself and also with Grandma. This was our first trip after the busy summer and we were sort of burnt out, so not having to do much of anything means a lot to us. It was a great relaxing day. Later on we made some Mexican food for dinner and watched the full moon come up again.
The last morning we had to get out early because Karyn had an appointment with her dentist for a root canal at 11:30 a.m. John called the shop and had one of our employees, Jacob; meet us at the north end of Farm Lake (where motors are allowed) with a tow boat to make sure we got Karyn to town in time. Karyn jumped in her car right away, the rest of us stopped at the Dairy Queen drive-through, and then took the Suburban back to the house to get cleaned up. Jacob took the canoe, gear and towboat back to VNO. BTW, Karyn got to the dentist with just a bit of time to spare and the root canal went well.