I went up with my best friends Gabe and Murph, another friend Bob, Gabe's mom Helen and her best friend Sue. Helen and Sue have gone up there every year for the last 20 years or so. Helen is a phenominal cook and proved it once again with meals of shrimp jambalaya (2x), chicken soup with dumplings, chili, biscuits with sausage gravy, pancakes with fruit toppings, brownies, peach crisps with freshly picked blueberries on top... needless to say, we ate real good. Gabe and Bob have been up there about 20 times between the two of them as well. So we were with some very knowledgeable people.
We started out going on the Moose River to Nina Moose Lake. Our starting point is marked with the red pin at the bottom of the map. We had a 160 rod portage to carry the canoes and packs to start with to get to the river. A rod is 17 feet, so I had about 900 yards to carry a canoe by myself on my shoulders along a dirt path with roots and rocks springing up from all over. River paddling can be both fun and infuriating at the same time. Going out from the portage to the lake with the current was not too bad. The worst part is when the weeds come right up to the surface and you are putting a hell of a lot of effort into paddling, but the weeds slow your progress to a crawl.
We then went out of Agnes (middle bottom of the above map) and through the Nina Moose River and over 3 beaver dams. Yes, we had to get out, step into the river, and get the canoe over the dam. I even created a lower area over one of the dams so that our other canoe and those people that were behind us could just sail their canoes over the dam and not get out and get their feet, socks and boots soaked. (I know, I'm a great guy) We had to go over several other portages varying in distances from 30 rods to 90 rods. We then continued onto Lake Agnes to our campsite. About 3/4 of the way up the map there is a spur that comes out on the right, the red dot directly on the left hand shore is where we stopped and camped for the next 2 days. I was an incredible site with a great swimming hole. It took us about 4 hours to get to that site. There was an eagle who decided to watch us for the better part of our first day there.
We then did a quick 2 hour trip to Lac La Croix to the Boulder Bay site which if you follow the yellow triangles to the north of the lake and extrapulate the angle, the red dot would be that site. This site was awesome. It not only had a great swimming hole, but it had a nice rock spur out into the lake that had a great view of the northern and western sky. On Wednesday night, Gabe and myself went out to the point and watched the Perseid Meteor shower for about an hour. Then on Friday night we went back out again with Murph as that was the pinnacle of the shower. We saw meteors that were streaking through the sky that were as bright as fireworks. Then the big attraction occurred, the Northern Lights. It was the most incredible thing I have ever seen (other than my wife coming down the aisle). The lights covered about 20% of the sky and shimmered and spiked for the next hour and a half. Combining this with the meteor shower was worth all the hassle and time we had to go through to get there. To top it off, I got to enjoy it with my 2 best friends who appreciated it for what it was. I may never get to see something that incredible again, so I am extremely thankful that I was able to witness that.
The next 2 days we did our trek back to our starting point and then civilization where all I really wanted at that point was a soft chair and a cold anything. I got to have a great time, read a couple of books, and was able to hang out with some great people away from everything else. I was just stunned at the absolute quiet that was up there. It's amazing how used to airplanes, traffic and noise you get used to. If any of you get a chance to go up there, even if it's just for 3-4 days, it's worth it.