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Day 6 - July 24, 2000

Once again, we awoke to groups paddling by our campsite. I think they were from the groups that were camping on Hammer Island. As we dined on Quaker Chewies and bagged cereal, they were heading past the waterfall up toward Eddy Lake. That's where we were headed. It was once again cloudy as we started our day. We packed everything up, loaded it onto the canoe, and set off for another day. Again, we were planning a short day, as we wanted to camp on Kekekabic Lake tonight. All we had to do was get up to Eddy Lake and get through the Kekekabic Ponds.

We paddled over to the waterfall and checked it out for a minute again. Then we brought our stuff up to Eddy Lake. This portage was a pretty steep one, and that's why the waterfall was so big. Notice the large number of red lines (topography) on the map between Eddy and Knife Lakes. Anyway, after carrying the canoe and the rest of the gear up, we set off into Eddy Lake. There was a pretty strong current pulling you toward the waterfall as soon as you set off. Thankfully there were also tens of trees blocking you from plunging down the waterfall. That woulda been like going over Niagara in a canoe! After negotiating around Eddy Lake, we found the start of the Kekekabic Ponds portages. These portages are a story by themselves.

After crossing the Kekekabic Ponds, we came upon the huge Kekekabic Lake. The sun had come out, but with strong southwest winds, the lake was really kicking when we got out there. Again, we could've really used a map with campsites located on them. We travelled from shore to shore looking for a campsite, but never really found any. Not that they were occupied, we didn't see ANY sites! There were some simply huge cliffs on the north shore of the lake. They would have been fun to explore and they had some Native American drawings on them. Just past those cliffs on the north shore, we spotted a fire grate up on the side of a hill. We beached the canoe and began sizing up the campsite. It was a pretty cool campsite, with cliff-y areas to the east and west, but we don't think it was in the Boundary Waters park, actually. On the map we were using, it was colored a different shade, meaning it was owned by someone else. We think it was owned by the state of Minnesota. We were ready to leave if someone came and told us to, but we never saw anyone, so we just stayed there.

We set up the tent up the hill a ways from the fire grate in a nice flat area that didn't have many roots. After unpacking everything, we kicked back and relaxed. Shawn headed into the tent to take a short nap, while Tracy and I explored the cliffs on the other side of the campsite from where the tent was. We headed back down when we heard Shawn chopping wood with the hatchet. Then, I decided to go lay down for a while in the tent. It was pretty windy out, so while I was laying down the tent was whipping around a lot. After relaxing for a while, I got up and helped those guys gather firewood for the campfire that night. That wasn't too hard, as Kekekabic Lake is a pretty high profile lake, and it got hit hard with the storm.

We were going to take the canoe out to explore those cliffs with the drawings on them, but the water was really rough so we decided against it. Up by the fire grate, we noticed an unusually large number of wasps in the vicinity. Yep, there was a nest in a stump near the fire grate. We definitely had to be careful where we stepped around there. Don't want to get mauled by wasps out in the middle of nowhere! We started up the campfire and got ready to make dinner. We were having a time starting it up tonight because of the wind. Therefore, we didn't build too big of a fire to guard against sparks flying off into the trees. Thankfully, as sunset approached, the winds died down dramatically. We mixed it up again and had some Ramen noodles tonight. We each had our own flavors. I had shrimp (not really that good - synthetic shrimp just don't cut it!) and roast beef (that was pretty darn tasty!). After the wind died down, we let the fire get a little bigger. We boiled quite a bit of water for the jugs, getting the used-up jug nearly 3/4 full with boiled water! We sat around, talked about the next day's trip and other stuff, and watched the sunset. Then, of course some clouds moved in and it started to sprinkle again. We were 4 out of 6 days with rain now. Although today had been nice for a good part of it. Thankfully, a suitable tree for hanging the food bag was nearby. That was especially lucky, considering the lack of tall trees standing in the vicinity.

Thankfully, the drizzle didn't last for too long. We sat around the fire for a while longer, before dousing it and heading off to bed. Tomorrow was going to be a long day. We wanted to get to Vera Lake tomorrow, and then Newfound Lake and Horseshoe Island for the last night. Again, Ma Nature had other plans for us.

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