The day started with a headwind. After so much portaging the day before we had been looking forward to longer stretches of paddling. A strong south wind made it slow going and quickly sapped the relief right out of it. With achy bodies we pushed on.
By late morning we had made it to the pine protected southwest shore of Gunflint Lake. We ate lunch just out of view of Gunflint Lodge (established 1927, it’s for sale now). It was probably best that I didn’t know about it’s spa, massage, and restaurant.
Paddling past cozy cabins and luxuries such as hot showers, cold beer, and toilet paper took some grit. The sense that we had come so far and were so close to the end made our resolve tougher. We bore down for the nearly seven miles of lake ahead of us. It began to rain. The rain turned to sleet. The wind picked up.
I felt the pressure of navigating as the conditions felt increasingly precarious. Was that an island or peninsula? Should we aim for the shorter windier route or the longer hopefully protected route? Towards the end I snapped and just broke down sobbing. Will could tell from my shaking shoulders that I was upset. I just wanted to keep paddling to shore. Will landed us on a tiny island and pulled me out of the boat for a hug break. We stood hugging in the freezing drizzle. Despite it being fairly early Will decided we were done for the day.
The campsite was on high ground surrounded by large and lush pines in the center of the tiny island. It was perfectly protected from the wind and wet. We set up just in time for the storm to kick up again. The weather continued into the next day. We stayed for a healing layover.
Even after nearly 12 hours of sleep I was so tired, boiling water for oatmeal brought me back to tears. Will took over the stove.
After many mugs of tea I finally felt rejuvenated. I ended my journal entry on October 9th, Tuesday Day 15 “Tomorrow should be better, and we should have the energy to rage out of here. Still 3 more days to go *sigh*”