In previous posts I have described that sometimes while adventure traveling adversity must be dealt with and overcome. The first example was taken from a bus trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Then I provided another example from a recent trip to Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. In the last post I described an awful couple of days camping due to hordes of mosquitoes and hot humid temperatures. This post will explain how enduring that difficult time set up a couple of days in paradise.
We cleared the last couple portages of the Falls Chain and finally made it to Kawnipi. It was a cloudy overcast day, but hardly any wind, which was perfect for canoeing. The mosquitoes were fierce on the last portage, but we made our goal. Now we just had to paddle ten miles to the northern edge of this vast lake. Incredibly, over the next four days everything turned around.
Kawnipi can be a difficult lake to paddle on when windy, but the lake was like a pane of glass. When we made it to our campsite the sun magically appeared as the point where we wanted to camp came into view. We pulled into our campsite and we were elated. We were even more joyous to find that the mosquitoes were not so bad here. I have no idea why, but there were a few around during the day, but nothing like the swarms we experienced earlier.
The next two days were spent fishing, swimming, and canoeing in one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. The amazing thing is that we did not see a soul. In the four days we spent on Kawnipi we saw three canoes and they were all over a mile away from us. It is awesome to have a wilderness lake like Kawnipi to yourself.
The highlight was the second day. We went out fishing and caught enough fish for a fish and pancake brunch. My Dad caught two enormous smallmouth bass and an impressive walleye, and I caught a nice northern. The taste of fresh fish from these crystalline waters cannot be matched.
We relaxed in camp for an hour or two and returned to the lake for more fishing. We caught enough fish for an all you can eat dinner. While cleaning the fish an osprey flew over us with a huge walleye in its talons. Even the birds were enjoying this amazing day.
The two horrible days prior to heaven were now a mere interesting story told around the campfire. If we would have turned around we would never have experienced the memorable days on Kawnipi. Sometimes in adventure travel there is no gain without pain.
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It is so beautiful. I would love to go on a canoe trip. Is there a time of year still warm enough but no mosquitoes?
I once spent two weeks on Kawnipi lake back in 1972. I still dream about the lake almost 50 years later. The trip was the greatest adventure of my entire life. The lake is a “crossfire” paradise. After a few subsequent shorter trips, we determined that September to mid October was little to no mosquitoes and room temperatures during the day. Access to this lake is brutal, but the reward is profound.
There was Walleye on the grill every day and the Small mouth regularly trashed my tackle. Something stripped the entire spool of line out of my reel twice in one afternoon. We were fishing along the shore where the water was 125 feet deep just 12 to 15 feet off the shore line. The drop off must have been an underwater cliff. The lake is 200 feet deep out in the middle and holds some nice Lake Trout. While snorkeling, I caught a glimpse of the tail of a very large fish that shot around a tall rock. The tail fin was about 16″ to 18″ top to bottom. I got a little nervous. As a young man, Kawnipi introduced me to the Northern Lights. I woke up in the middle of the night and the sky was full of light. Not that much color but brilliant enough to scare the b’Jesus out of me. One morning I hooked into something violently. As my drag was screaming and my line still going down, a split second later, a very large Small mouth broke the surface a hundred feet out, did a tripple cartwheel and spit my lure back at me. He was BIG !!
We only saw two other people in a canoe the whole trip and flagged them into our campsite. The two men were seasoned explorers of the park. Their anecdotes were amazing and full of advice at the same time. Always release the trophy Walleye, grill the yearlings. I found that out the hard way a few days earlier.
If you have the fortitude and desire … head for Kawnippi. You will never forget the experience.
Thank you for the wonderful comment. Kawnipi definitely has a way of sticking in your memory in a positive way. I am glad this post evoked those memories for you. I have been fortunate enough to visit Kawnipi more than five times. I am looking forward to my next adventure there. I might try and make it out there next summer if Canada opens its borders to us by then.