BWCAW 2007 – Day 7

Synopsis: Ima Lake to Snowbank Lake. 8.22 miles paddling plus 8 portages totaling 329 rods.


Today’s map.

Base map courtesy USGS; overlay by Reid Priedhorsky.
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We got up early to get out mid-afternoon and begin the trip home. The weather was calm and clear, though it had frozen overnight and there was frost everywhere.


People who live in New Mexico are remarkably cranky about ice in the morning.

Photo by Rick Kelley.
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Icy water shoes.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Ima Lake in the morning.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Dick, Marilyn, and Bill doing camp chores in the morning.

Interesting note: Andy was in several frames of this panorama, but he moved around in such a way that when it was assembled, he was gone. Sorry, Andy.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Once underway it began to get breezy again; nothing serious, just much windier than usual at that hour in the morning, and so a bit worrisome since we had two large lakes to cross still (Disappointment and Snowbank).

One short portage put us on Jordan Lake.


Approaching the main body of Jordan Lake down its scenic eastern arm.

Photo by Bill Priedhorsky.
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Jordan Lake. This was our original destination for Day 6.

Photo by Jan Studebaker.
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Approaching the Jordan-Cattyman portage landing.

Photo by Jan Studebaker.
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Andy shows them how it’s done. This effectively stopped the lazy portaging that the group was beginning to show.

Photo by Bill Priedhorsky.
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Cattyman was a very short portage, under 10 rods. The guidebook stated that this was occasionally paddleable, which didn’t seem to be the case to me, but if the water was higher one probably could have walked the canoes through.

After Cattyman was Jitterbug Lake, a fun C-shaped small lake. It was quite a maze getting from the portage landing through the weeds into the main body of the lake.


Andy and Rick approaching the Jitterbug-Ahsub portage.

Photo by Jan Studebaker.
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Ahsub Lake was quite scenic, with big rocks and lots of relief on the shores.

Then we crossed Disappointment Lake, which was scenic with its many islands, but also quite busy. Many more people than we’d seen yet on the trip. This was also our 2nd-longest continuous paddle at 2.9 miles.

It was again getting windy, and we discussed our next steps. Crossing Disappointment hadn’t been a problem, but Snowbank had the potential for a lot more fetch. There were two options, a 180-rod portage directly from Disappointment to Snowbank followed by a two-mile paddle on Snowbank, or a pair of 80-rod portages and Parent Lake, which would cut off about half the distance on Snowbank. There was also the question of lunch: should we paddle out all the way or stop for lunch?

We decided to take the Parent “shortcut” and stop for lunch; in retrospect the former was an error but the latter was definitely the right move.

The portage landing on Disappointment was very busy and rather unpleasant.

Parent Lake turned out to be very windy and choppy, much more so than Disappointment. However we made it to lunch at the first campsite without any trouble.

From there it was an uneventful but long slog into the wind to the Snowbank Lake portage, which took us out of the wilderness. On the other side was a resort! From there it was just a short one-mile paddle to the put-in, without any trouble from wind or waves.


Bill on the Parent-Snowbank portage.

Photo by Jan Studebaker.
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Loon on Snowbank Lake.

Photo by Rick Kelley.
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Unloading gear.

Photo by Rick Kelley.
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Stacking the boats and gear for the outfitter to pick up.

Photo by Rick Kelley.
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Another successful adventure. L-R: me (Reid), Andy, Rick, Dick, Marilyn, Jan, and Bill.

Photo by Dick Opsahl.
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Farewell, Snowbank Lake.

Photo by Rick Kelley.
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After the unloading, Rick and Dick left to drive back to New Mexico, and the rest of us went south to Minneapolis, stopping at Gordy’s Hi-Hat again for dinner. Bill, Jan, and Marilyn would fly home to New Mexico the next day.

The End.

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