Isolated Islands in Boundary Waters
Two buddies from college were making the 950 mile road trip from Ohio. Gathering my gear, I waited for them in anticipation. The last stretch of their trip included an hour long drive on an old dirt logging road, 4-wheeler ride to the lake, and a private barge ride to a small island which houses several cabins.
This 11 acre island rests on the edge of a beautifully shaped lake between Voyageurs National Park and Superior National Forest. Cell phone service? Not a chance. Perfect is an understatement. This place is secluded, but we wanted more. Packing our gear into a 14 foot fishing boat, it was full-throttle until we reached an even more isolated island. There wasn't another soul for miles. After setting up camp, the next several days were spent living out our fishing dreams.
There’s something special about adventurers. They long for a variety of scenery. They wonder, “what’s beyond that mountain?”, “how far will it go?” and “where are we going next?”. Adventurers want to experience as much as they can, and they're willing to put the miles on their hiking boots to do so. This is exactly what we planned to achieve.
Heading north, Lake Lucille was a wonderful discovery. I'd heard stories about Lucille’s beauty from a couple of old timers who had been coming to the area for decades. Aside from them, I know nobody else who has experienced it, let alone set up camp there.
After a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs, biscuits, granola and coffee, we landed the boat and began navigating. There are no trails, markers or directions. There is no correct way, but many wrong ways in which you do not arrive at your destination. This forest was more dense than anything I had ever experienced. The lush green pines seemed to go on forever. We stayed alert, watching out for bears, moose and wolves.
Pushing aside the last few pine needle filled branches - there she was, Lake Lucille. It seemed like an eternity to get there. Untouched by anyone as far as we were concerned. Sparkling water surrounded by bright green trees, a light breeze, and the smell of fresh air. Is there anything better?
Soon after pitching our tents and lighting a fire, I threw the line in, getting a bite on the first cast. I lost the fish before getting it to shore, but succeeded on the second attempt. As the sun set, we became stuffed full and exhausted. The next several hours we enjoyed each other’s company, drinking hot cocoa and listening to a family of loons sing from across the lake.
That night was one of the best nights of sleep I’ve ever had.
Flash forward to early morning. Half dreaming yet half awake, there's a faint howl in the distance. A few minutes go by, and there it is again, a little louder this time. Convinced it was a dream, there is a third howl. This time louder and sharper than ever. It woke me up faster than a hot cup of coffee could ever do. There was a timber wolf nearby, it had to be within 50 meters of our camp. The other two were up by this point and heard the same thing. This was no dream. And just like that, the wolf was gone.
Mustering up the courage, we packed up camp and made the hike back to the boat. Like the wolf had come and gone, so did our adventure. Great friends, beautiful country, and wild animals. No matter how many years go by, the three of us will always have these wonderfully fond memories of the Boundary Waters and Lake Lucille. When will you discover Lucille?
Written by Nick Ziegler