Pow Wow Hiking Trip Report -- October 2000

Sunday, 10/15/00

6:52am - Leave my sister's apartment in Hopkins, MN (suburb of Minneapolis) after saying goodbye to my son who will be staying with my parents while I'm backpacking. Grew up in Forest Lake area for 9 years, worked construction in cities area before moving to Indiana, lot of thoughts go through my head as I get on 35W and drive north.

9:15am - Reach the end of I-35 and hit Hwy 61. After leaving the cities in short sleeve weather, it started misting and raining near Hinckley, but stops as I enter Duluth. I head out of Duluth without stopping, but decide on a McDonalds breakfast in Two Harbors as my last civilized meal. I notice it's no longer short sleeve weather up north.

10:44am - Leave Isabella Ranger Station with two blank self-issueing permits, as recommended by others (I'm thinking of you). The weather is rotating between light rain, mist and just plain cloudy.

11:08am - reach Pow Wow trailhead. If you ever want to have a little fun, try driving from the Isabella Ranger Station to the Isabella Landing in 24 minutes. The wet roads made for better traction than during dry times, but I flew. I realized the contradiction of driving fast to get to the BW, but that doesn't slow me down any.

11:42am - Start hiking. After changing my clothes, doing my permit and getting everything into the trunk of my car, I'm off. There were one or two parties coming out of Isabella Lake during my time at the trailhead, but I didn't socialize. My goal was to be on the trail by noon and I'm 18 minutes ahead of schedule.

12:02pm - After lightening my "load" at the Isabella River campsite, taking a few pictures, and taking my first little break, I'm back on the trail heading north at 12:17pm.

1:00pm - Arrive at the intersection of the loop after crossing two beaver dams. I feel pretty good. I stepped in a 2 foot deep hole on the beaver dam, submerging one foot in water, but the gaiters seem to do the job and everything is dry. No people so far. Weather appears to be upper 30's, but no real rain since hitting the trail. After a 10 minute break I'm heading west at 1:10pm.

1:07pm - After crossing first beaver dam on this trail, I watch a beaver splash me as I start up the trail on the other side. I turn to watch. The beaver swims up to me, within 20 feet, as I watch. He seems to know what's going on and after checking me out, moves on. He was pretty big. It was kind of weird looking into his eyes at such close range.

2:33pm - After a 12 minute break east of Marathon Lake, I reach the Marathon Lake outlet.

3:12pm - Reach Diana Lake outlet. Note that the lake looks a lot closer to the trail in real life than the map shows. The trail has been wet since my first stops. It started to rain just after I turn onto the Marathon Lake side of the loop. By Diana Lake, my hiking pants (real Columbia Hiking Pants) are totally wet and my feet are wet. I take off my boots, then literally wring the water from my socks. I get somewhere between a teaspoon and tablespoon from each. It stops raining long enough to let my feet dry for 5 minutes. I now rule out reaching Superstition Lake today with the wet feet. At the same time, committed to Quadga. I leave Diana Lake at 3:31pm.

4:35pm - Reach Campfire Lake campsite. I've stayed here before and refuse to do it again. My feet are soked again. I can feel the water pooling, especially near my toes in downhills. In these conditions, I pass on the campsite inspection and continue to Quadga. My feet, calf, hip and back muscles are all really sore by this time. Again, this is my first backpacking trip since May 1995 when I hiked the Sioux-Hustler and the Border Route.

5:05pm - I reach the Quadga Lake campsite. In my condition, I thought the spur from the main trail was a little long, but I'm just extremely happy to be in camp.

I start with the tent first. The aluminum tent poles make my hands extremely cold. I then hang the food pack rope. I hold off on the food and dry my feet first. I decide to slip on a second pair of socks and sandals. I do this in the tent because there is a light rain falling outside. I'm just hoping my socks and feet stay reasonably dry while doing the rest of my camp chores.

Dinner. I never bought any packaged meals. I brought and 8oz pack of chicken strips that I mix with salsa and wrap in tortillas for dinner. They hit the spot in the light rain and wind of Quadga. After this I hang the food pack, eat the rest of a little bag of gorp and retire to my tent for the evening.

I notice my hiking pants dry out while setting up camp and eating dinner, despite the light rain. I'm grateful. I never was quite compelled to put on the rain jacket today. My fleece pullover was always wet to the touch on the outside, but never on the inside. My boots are completely wet as are one of my two sets of hiking socks.

Decide that a fire isn't worth it. Everything is really wet and I really don't feel like hanging out in the light rain trying to get one started while the evening goes dark. The odds of me making significant progress towards drying out boots or socks is limited.

While in the tent writing in my journal, I ponder some of the days events. First, I write by the light of my candle lantern. I like my candle lantern, much better than a flashlight for reading or writing. Also, saw eight grouse today, about what I'd expect. Interestingly, I saw at least one set of wolf scat, no moose scat on the trail to Quadga. That seems odd and quite different than my hikes around 1990. I saw some remains of the lumbering era (I think) just before Campfire Lake. In one area that was gravelly, I saw an old garbage can. In another area, bordered by a little grassy clearing, I saw four identical things I first thought were ladders. Upon further investigation, one end was rounded. So they looked like a U with either 3 or 4 braces across. They were made from steel and were approximately a foot across and three foot long. Not sure what they were for, but got to be used in the lumbering process.

According to my maps, I did 8 to 8.5 miles in about 5.5 hours. Not bad speed, but I'm not fooled for tomorrow. I know the trail gets rougher and I'll be lucky to average 1 mph.

This gets me thinking about the next day. I'm camped at Quadga, same site as Larry Ricker who tried to hike this same trail a week earlier (and only made it as far as Quadga/Superstition). I've got wet socks and boots, same as Larry. It's raining and likely to snow over night, same as Larry. Was I destined to the same fate as Larry? I try to put that out of my mind.

I change my hiking pants for long underware bottoms. I put on dry socks. I leave my long underware top and now fairly dry fleece top on and climb into my 20 degree down sleeping bag (on top of my 3/4 pad) in my Eureka Timberlite 2 tent around 7:30pm.

After months of living on 4, maybe 5 hours sleep, I am so looking forward to the sleep I'll be getting on this trip. I'm out about as soon as my head hits my stuff sack pillow.

Monday, 10/16/00

5:50am - After waking occasionally to the sound of rain (or sleet) on the tent, I wake up and notice neither rain nor cold. I'm really pretty warm in my sleeping bag and it's no longer coming down outside.

6:15am - I get out of my sleeping bag. I can see the south shore of Quadga thru the lightening sky.

6:16am - Not so fast. It starts to sleet. I hadn't heard any rain for a while and was actually getting pretty excited to get the day going. This is a mental setback. I think of Larry. I try not to think of Larry. I'm not going to let the weather and wetness get to me!

6:32am - The sleet appears to have stopped, at least temporarily.

6:45am - It hasn't rained in over ten minutes, I'm going to try to get up and going. A little thinking. The sleeping pad really seemed to make a difference. I've never used one while camping in colder weather, but it seemed well worth the weight. Also, I was a little worried about my down sleeping bag, but everything was pretty dry in the morning. This could have been because of my generous openings on both sides of my tent to help circulate fresh air throughout the night. First big decision of the day...wet socks or dry socks. I opt for the dry ones, thinking they will help me get started. Again, I only have two pairs (plus a sleeping pair).

8:37am - Break camp and leave for the day's hike. I got out of my tent at 7am after organizing my stuff. My dry socks were completely soked by my wetter than expected boots within a minute. Shortly after leaving my tent I noticed the moon. A few seconds later, I realize what the moon means and notice that much of the sky is now clear. I got food down, filtered water, ate oatmeal and had a cup of hot chocolate. It actually feels warmer than yesterday.

9:06am - Cross Myth Lake beaver dam. New dam w/out a defined shoreline on it. It took work picking my spots, but I managed it w/out getting wet. There is another beaver dam just a short distance after Myth. Here I get my camera out and rig it so I can carry it under my fleece jacket between my waist and sternum straps without it moving around or hanging from my neck. I start taking pictures.

9:47am - Reach shore of Superstition Lake. Lots of moss as I follow the trail along the shore. There are two wet spots on the trail before just before it reaches the lake, after the bend to the north. The first, despite "knowing better" I walk around by hopping from alder clump to alder clump. The second one actually had a second trail going around it.

10:00am - Reach campsite. Need break and dry feet. Stop to write, eat a snack, remove boots an ring out socks. Back hiking at 10:25.

10:37am - After a hike completely along the shore of Superstition Lake, I reach the beaver dam outlet of the lake.

11:16am - Reach Mirror Lake Campsite. Rough trail. The trail follows old logging roads all the way to the shore of Superstition, then leaves the old road beds. At this point, the character of the trail changes tremendously. The trail is definitely rougher, with more verticle movement and some difficult steps. The trail between Superstition and Mirror is not particularly beautiful, but I do enjoy the change from the old road beds. I saw 5 grouse this morning before Superstition Lake, none since then. Notice what had been mostly a clear sky was starting to cloud up some, but still nice weather. The trial is still very wet with every pine or blade of grass or twig containing moisture, hoping the sun and wind might soon change this. Start hiking again at 11:29.

12:00pm - Cross beaver dam on the NE corner of Mirror Lake. The dam is a little wet, but not too bad. Situated in a neat little, narrow valley between two rock walls. Actually have my toughest crossing so far on a little cut-in off Mirror Lake before this beaver dam where I cross a 8-10 foot wide, 2 foot deep, very muddy channel. It is surrounded by wet ground which I make it across relatively well, then a small diameter log crossing of the actual channel. Everything is wet and unstable, but I make it.

12:34pm - Stop for lunch at Path Lake campsite. I give this campsite a 9 on a scale to 10. Sorry for the confusion here, but I've rated sights out of a possible 10 since I started coming up here. The site has white pines and a flat rock that slides into the water. It's also picturesque with a house sized boulder out in front. Doing a quick review of other sites. I give Mirror Lake site a 5. Bad access to water, virtually unused with weeds growing out of the firepit, but not bad. I give Superstition an 8, the tent site is not the best, but it's location on a peninsula is nice. Quadga gets a solid 9. Campfire lake gets a 2. I didn't really check out Marathon Lake, so I hate to judge. I actually feel surprisingly good today after how sore and tired I was last night. Feet are always wet, but not hurting at all. I ring my socks out again while eating my bagel and cheddar cheese at the Path Lake site. I try to dry the socks in the warm sun, but just not enough time. I leave at 1:12.

1:40pm - Reach Rock of Ages campsite. Give it a 4. Looks really good perched up on rocks, but couldn't find a tent pad and just can't give a site without a decent tent pad a good rating.

2:30pm - Reach Lake 3. Ridge between Rock of Ages and Lake 3 is Aspen with young spruce, kind of reminds me of a place called the Foothills State Forest in the dead center of MN. Cedars along most of Lake 3 shore with some red (or norway) pine. Both are the first stands of these trees I really remember seeing along the way.

2:48pm - Take a break at the Old Logging Camp (or at least a meadow that would pass for one) between Lake 3 and Horseshoe Lake. Find no artifacts. Dry socks, trim toenails that are starting to hurt, eat Powerbar and rest. I take off at 3:08pm and head in what feels like the wrong direction. After heading generally north, the trail heads off to the SE here. I notice others are looking for the "real" trail to the north, but all these little spurs are deadends. Along the way you pass an old dump. After heading in the SE direction for a couple hundred yards, you reach the shore of Horseshoe and head back to the north. All along the west and north shores of Horseshoe, the trail hugs the water in mostly cedarand balsam forest. Big credit goes out to whomever located the trail here.

3:35pm - Reach the Horseshoe Lake campsite spur. Just before getting to this spot, I hear people canoeing from the portage from Lake 3, across Horseshoe. I hear one guy say something about how nice it is to be "alone". I think of yelling something like "your not alone!" to spook them, but don't want to ruin their trip. They paddled what I'll call a weird looking canoe. It was translucent blue and had the rounded bow and stern of a aluminum canoe, only in what must have been kevlar or some similar composite. Never seen the color or shape in a kevlar before. I had been hoping all day to have the chance to get to North Wilder today and not stop at Horseshoe as I had in 1990. It's still about 2 miles to the North Wilder site, but at 1 mph, that still leaves me plenty of time and I head off. I skip the campsite inspection. I remember it as a decent site with no firegrate. Not sure if they fixed that problem yet or not.

4:45pm - After a short break half way between Horseshoe and North Wilder, I reach the extreme NW shore of North Wilder. The shoreline is spruce and/or jackpine with lots of moss. Very nice, and very rugged trail along the shore. By the way, the trail was pretty much dry from Horseshoe to North Wilder, the weather was around 50 degrees and mostly sunny. My feet where still wet, but not getting any wetter.

5:00pm - I take a break. I figure only 15 more minutes to camp and I'm tired. I sit down on the trail. I watch a spruce grouse fly from some distance away to a tree above me. He moves to a couple different trees before I loose site and interest in him. About a minute after this it walks over a little hill in the trail not 15 feet from where I was sitting. She was checking me out. Very interesting. In this section of the trail, in addition to being rough, has a fair number of blowdowns. I remember this trait from 1990, so it can't all be attributed to the big storm of 1999. After 10 minutes or so I start back at it.

5:35pm - I notice that right where I think the campsite should be there are a lot of blowdowns. I realize the trail is cutting back inland and this is exactly where I expected to see the campsite. It's possible that I missed the campsite due to the blowdowns. It's just as likely that in this part of the BW they closed the campsite. I think about going back to look, but decide it might be best to try the site on South Wilder.

5:38pm - I cross the portage trail between Harbor Lake and North Wilder. Now I'm sure that I missed the campsite. I'm going to have to move fast to get to South Wilder before dark. I'm hungry and tired and dark is coming.

6:12pm - I finally reach the South Wilder outlet. I fill my water and use an iodine tablet, no time for the filter. I know the campsite has poor water access and don't want to mess with it near dark when I get there. I eat some gorp. I cross the creek after I'm done on a decent log bridge that is part of the portage from North to South Wilder. No trail goes straight, I look. I walk down the portage to the North Wilder end, no trail. I walk back, then follow it all the way to the South Wilder side looking for the trail, nothing. At the end there is a log jam so I cross and look, but again, no trail. It's getting dark and I can't even find the trail to South Wilder. I go back to where I started and look in the same spot I swore there was no trail. It looks like a blowdown might have rerouted it in a manner that makes it hard to follow.

6:28pm - I find the trail. It's getting dark! The trail from the stream to the campsite has a few twists and almost no blowdowns. It is thankfully easy to follow in the darkening night.

6:58pm - I reach the South Wilder campsite in near complete darkness. I manage without a flashlight. I quickly get my stuff out and start making tortilla pizza with the other half of the tortillas and salsa. I get a rope up and start setting up the tent in between eating. The tent pad isn't too bad. I cleanup, hang my food and hit the tent around 8:30pm. I write in my journal and get to sleep just after 9pm. A long day and I'm exhausted. I'd have never thought of staying at South Wilder tonight. I'm glad I'm there, but not sure I'd do it again. The hike from Quadga is rough and I hiked a long way in wet boots.

Tuesday, 10/17/00

1:52am - I wake up and look outside for northern lights. I see what I think is the moon thru some trees and go back to sleep, without checking them out. Two things hit me in the morning. First, the moon seems to be in the same position it was at 2am, Maybe it was northern lights, but I'm still thinking moon. Second, I've had problems with my contacts twice now, temporarily loosing one. At 2am with my contacts out, I didn't really feel like putting them in to check things out. I forgot my glasses and a second pair of contacts. If I loose these, I'm in trouble.

7:04am - I wake up. I start a fire now that the ground is pretty much dried out. It seems relatively warm for Oct 17. I later trek to the lake to get water in my sandals while I'm trying to dry my socks over the fire. I give the campsite a 6 out of 10. It could have been an eight without the class 5 climb to retreive water. I have my two helpings of oatmeal and a cup of hot chocolate again. I decide 10am is my goal for departure. After yesterday's hike, I have only 5 miles max to tonight's destination. I thought for a second about hiking out, but I'm here to enjoy and I'm really looking forward to tonight's camp.

10:00am - Start hiking. The trail stays above the water until the first island, then travels along the water until the last island on South Wilder, where it moves back up and inland some. This is a beautiful part of the trail. Along the shore there are numerous rock gardens. The lake is almost calm with the sun shining brightly. The trail is not the most well defined at times all the way to Pose Lake. I take it slow and enjoy.

10:48am - Last look at South Wilder. I cut inland to Pose. I am only wearing my fleece jacket and getting warm at times. Beautiful day!

11:05am - I reach the rock cairns as indicated on the McKenzie map between South Wilder and Pose.

11:42am - I reach the vista along the creek that flows into Pose Lake. Stop for lunch. Listen to the wind in the pines and the running water from the creek below. Bagel and cheese consumed. A little gorp to go with it. I'm ready to continue around 12:15.

12:35pm - I cross the little creek I've been following (though almost never see). There's more water than I expected. The crossing is 30-40 feet below a beaver dam and is easy, but I step on an unstable rock and my feet go in. I react relatively quickly and I escape serious damage. My feet are still dry.

1:07pm - I reach the Pose Lake campsite spur. I never could find the "vista" marked on my McKenzie between the creek crossing and here. I set down my pack and take a walk to Pose Lake to fill up on water and take a little break. On another note, the trail mentions old logging roads. I find it more difficult in this area to tell if I'm on an old logging road or not. Also, just before the Pose Lake spur, the trail goes right thru a marsh and you have to cross on logs. I'm glad it's dry because the logs are definitely "slippery when wet" and this part doesn't look like fun. I give the Pose Lake campsite a 6. Everything appears decent, just not outstanding. You walk thru weeds to get to the lake from the firegrate. I'm almost thinking of Campfire Lake, when you come out on a nice slab of rock, great for enjoying the indian summer afternoon.

1:38pm - After returning from a nice jaunt to Pose Lake, I start hiking again. By this time, it feels downright warm out and, after thinking of Larry's "good" weather, I remove my shirt before hiking. It's got to be close to 60 degrees. I'm even seeing a fair assortment of bugs.

1:42pm - The trail takes a 90 degree right turn under a pine with a 1 foot cubed boulder next to it. I think its marked on the McKenzie map as "Abandoned USFS trail at fork". Doesn't look like you could keep going if coming in from the other direction.

1:50pm - I reach the junction with the old logging road that I followed in 1989 and got lost. Decide I really want to camp on Ahmoo Creek tonight, my secret destination all along. Take the trail 50 yards and run into a beaver dam with downed trees and after thinking about it long and hard decide to push thru it.

2:10pm - I reach the first Ahmoo Creek crossing. While I was kind of hoping it was the place where I was almost ran over by a moose back in 1989, it's not. I decide, however, that I'll spend the night right here. I move some brush aside so I can set up camp off the trail. I remember that moose and don't want to be crushed to death in my tent by some moose walking or running down the trail. I get my tarp out to dry off and make sure I have enough room to place my tent. I set out my tent and then something happened that I considered very strange (I've since modified my thinking some). After days of seeing no one (except those people on Horseshoe from a distance), and while being "off the official trail", a grouse hunter walks up. I'm at first stunned, then somewhat disappointed. He stops and we chat for a couple minutes before he keeps going further in. His visit cements my plan of exploring further up the trail.

3:18pm - I have setup camp and everything is picked up and in place. I've hung the food pack and take off up the trail intent on exploring this abandoned logging road. I'm also somewhat in search of the place I was lost back in 1989.

3:23pm - I see what apprears to be a trail running west. I consult my map and it looks like it might actually be on my map as well. It looks faint. I push ahead on the trail I'm on. Just 40 feet up the trail I see an old moose shed, decent sized, off to the side of the trail. It's rotting some or I'd be taking it home.

3:26pm - I spot my grouse hunting friend off the side of the trail taking a break. There appears to be a campsite here. It has a fire ring and a decent place to put a smaller tent. I'll have to keep this in mind. He says "I thought you might be a moose". I pull over and we chat for about 10 minutes. He's got three grouse lying out. Says he lives in Ely, but works as a network admin at the CC's in Virginia and Hibbing. Says it was just too nice a day and he wanted to do a little hunting and exploring. Says he's heard of people hiking all the way back to Insula. We consult our maps and are not completely sure which trails they might be using to get there. He says he lost his compass or he might try one of the side trails and see if he can make it. It's about 3:40, when I comment that he'll be walking back in the dark (he's at least 5 miles from his car), he agrees, but doesn't seem worried. He leaves to the south, I go north. I continue on and quickly notice the trail turning east. I see another faint trail off to the left (this time it's north) and continue on the main trail. I figure I'll follow until about 4:30pm. I'm really curious to see if this trail takes me to the place I camped at and took the picture of the moose back in 1989.

3:53pm - The trail squirts the edge of Ahmoo Creek. At first it just looks like a marsh, but I notice the sound of running water and consult the map to verify that it is indeed Ahmoo Creek. Awhile further I can see open water from Ahmoo Creek to the south of the trail. I then notice the trail turning north. I decide I have enough time for the two creeks/water crossings shown on my McKenzie map.

4:34pm - I reach the second of the two water crossings. I'm about a 1/2 mile SE of Tornado Lake. Neither water crossing is the one I took the picture of the moose. I've noticed the trail starting to get a little challenging. The old logging road bed seems less distinct. Blowdowns are more numerous, but most have very recognizable trails around. I'm really intrigued by this. Could the location of that moose encounter be yet further down this ever fading trail?

5:03pm - I'm on my way back to camp and I reach the spot where I can see open water on Ahmoo Creek to the south about 100yds off the trail. I decide to go check it out and luckily stumble upon an active beaver area with a trail virtually all the way to the water. I eat a little gorp, drink some water and keep going.

5:32pm - I find the trail/spur heading north and follow it for 100yds. It's pretty faint, but I can follow it this far. I notice two pails off to the west side fo the trail about 50yds north of the main trail. Not enough time today, but you could probably follow this trail some distance if you were daring enough. My map shows it ending just to the west of Tornado Lake, but I wonder if it could also be used to reach Insula.

5:48pm - I find the trail that goes west. As much as I want to follow it, there's not enough time. I do follow it 200yds or so. While I found it a little difficult to notice at first, it appears easy to follow. It makes me think that this is infact the trail I took 11 years earlier. It starts to make sense, after I missed the original turn of the trail towards Pose Lake I took the next available westerly turn. As I continue my hike back to camp, I become more and more positive that I took this trail in 1989. Maybe I'll explore it on another trip.

5:55pm - I get back into camp. I eat my Uncle Bens rice. Just before I retire, four Mallards fly right over my head. There wing beats almost scare me at first. This is why I wanted to camp along the Ahmoo. Unfortunately no moose or other wildlife appear before I call it an evening.

6:45pm - With food hung, I retire to my tent and start to catch up on my journal. Within a couple minutes, a beaver splashes just outside my tent. He sounds so close, I almost expect to hear water splashing off my rainfly. A few minutes later, I "pass some gas" kinda loudly and immediately the beaver splashes again and again he sounds extremely close. I see 8 grouse today, six on my exploration after setting up camp. My feet are hurting. Amazingly, after two days of water in my boots, no blisters. It's my toenails. Both big ones and one smaller one hurt quite a bit. When I wore a new pair of very cushiony wool blend socks to start yesterday, they seemed to make my feet too small for my boots and jam my toes. While I've now switched over to another pair of socks, it almost appears like the damage has been done. Of course, not so bad that I wouldn't take a completely voluntary 4 mile hike this afternoon. My boots are now, however, almost completely dry and my socks are likewise all but dry. One other note, after having a couple close calls with my contacts the two previous nights, I elect to leave them in my eyes tonight...might even get a chance to see the northern lights.

7:30pm - I'm wanting to get an early start tomorrow morning so I call it a night.

Wednesday, 10/18/00

1:00am - I awake and see light outside. I think it's probably the moon, but figure I have to relieve myself so might as well check it out just in case it's northern lights. It's only a brilliant moon, just beautiful.

6:05am - I get up in the dark. I do almost everything in the dark, skip the flashlight except in extreme cases. The moon helps enough to keep me from any mishaps.

7:26am - After my now ritual of 2 servings of maple and brown sugar oatmeal and a single cup of hot chocolate, I hoist my fully packed backpack for my hike out. I had a goal of leaving by 7:30, beat it by a couple minutes. It takes me a couple minutes to negotiate Ahmoo Creek, not 10 steps from where I put my tent. Without any serious damage, I make it across the open water. In the process I notice that while there is no ice on the water, just about everything is covered by frost.

7:44am - I reach the real Pow Wow Trail. I then take the trail across what must be 300-400 yds of beaver dam, but most of it is pretty easy going.

8:07am - I meet up with a grouse hunter. He says he's on a day trip to Arrow Lake today. I greet him with "You must have gotten an early start." He replies with "You too". I'm over 4 miles from the entry point, he must have gotten started by 6am when I woke up. Arrow Lake...I'm thinking he'll be taking the same trail I did the day before, just another mile further. I'm really starting to think that the locals know and use these trails regularly.

8:22am - I reach the 90 degree corner and take a five minute break.

9:04am - I reach the Marathon Lake turnoff. Stop only long enough to take some pictures of the mist on the beaver pond with the rising sun.

9:12am - I reach a line of boulders across the trail and take an 8 minute break. I notice that the McKenzie map shows this line of boulders in the wrong place, unless I missed that line of boulders and one that they decided not to mark on the map suddenly appeared.

9:43am - I reach the old Pelt Lake spur trail. It's pretty hard to notice and it looks like it's no longer being used. I don't really check it out that closely because it has a number of trees down across it right at the start.

10:04am - I reach the Isabella River bridge. I take a couple pictures, but move on relatively quickly. As the grouse hunter had told me earlier, there was someone camped at the site here. Didn't see anyone, but as I was leaving I heard someone playing the harmonica.

10:18am - I reach the old trailhead, surprised not to see the grouse hunters car parked here. With the tire tracks in the dirt, it looks like you can drive up this far.

10:32am - I reach my car at the Isabella Lake entry point parking lot. Despite feet that don't feel all that great, I was able to cover ground at almost 2 mph while enjoying the hike out.

10:52am - After changing into clean clothes and getting everything squared away in my car, I leave. There is only one other car in the parking lot, none on the lake side of the lot. Makes me wonder how either the grouse hunter or the Isabella people got there. After finding out so much about "abandoned" trails, I take the road east and find what I'm pretty sure is the old trailhead for the Pow Wow Trail east section in a stand of 20 year old pines. After the turnoff to the Isaballa Lake landing I followed the road east a few hundred yards up a hill to where it turns more south and notice an old, little BWCAW sign and sure enough there looks to be an old trail thru the pines. I want to get going, no exploration today. Maybe another time...

What a great trip! A special thanks to everyone that helped make it possible.

Posted: 07-Nov-2000 Updated: 30-Apr-2007