Ascent of Rainy River District High Point on 2016-08-04

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:Derek Standen
see his TR for the details
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, August 4, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Boat
Peak:Rainy River District High Point
    Elevation:544 m / 1785 ft

Ascent Trip Report

One must read my Kenora District HP TR for the purpose of my Thunder Bay Trip and for the hiking and bushwacking conditions/challenges as they generally apply to all of the hikes.

Also one must read Derek Standen's TRs for the full details of the hikes, my write-up only gives a brief resume and are intended only for my own aide-memoire.

This was a travel/relax day for me, not so for Derek, he climbed Eagle Mountain in Minnesota.
After overnighting at the Whitefish CG we drove east to Kekabeka Falls where I called Rose, before we continued on to Thunder Bay for breakfast at a Mcdo and a screw-up/mis-communication.
I left Mcdo, thinking that Derek had left. We had agreed to meet up on the Canadian side (Eastern Time) of the Pigeon River CA/USA border in case of a problem. I got there with no Derek, so I waited at the Canada Welcome Center about half a km before the border (can't see the USA border from here). After 10-15 minutes I thought maybe he was waiting just before the USA border so I drove there, no Derek and the USA Border Guard would not allow me to wait there, I had to go through customs into the USA, waiting at their Welcome Center (Central Time).
After 40 minute with still no Derek, I started walking back into Canada leaving my car on the USA side, informing the USA guard of my movements. Just as I was getting to the Canadian customs I saw/waived/called for Derek. He drove up and we crossed back into USA together.
Derek told me that at Mcdo, he went to his phone and didn't see me leave, only realizing it 10-15 minutes later.
We drove south on #61 along Minnesota's beautiful east coast to Grand Marais then northwest to the Eagle Mountain TH - Derek climbed Eagle Mountain while I stayed back, cleaned my van and laid around.
We overnighted at Two Island Lake National Park CG (26$USD), located between Eagle Mountain and Grand Marais.

We left our campground for Grand Marais where we had breakfast, picked up a few groceries, drove south on #61 to Illgen City, then northwest to Ely, MN - on-route we checked out the hike to Stony Tower Hill, COHP.
I called Rose before driving east 31km to the La Tourell's Resort on Moose Lake - we were checked in around mid-day by Bob Latourell (a family business since 1938). The services he provided - one night in a bunkroom (20$ each), Kavlar Canoe rental 41$/day, water taxi services 27$/per person each way to Prairie Portage, Canada.
Got our gear together for the 3 day Canoe Trip to Rainy River District, Ontario, and relaxed for the rest of the day.
Tomorrow morning at 6:30hours the water taxi leaves for Prairie Portage.


2016-08-03 DAY 1 - TRAVEL DAY TO CG.
06h30 hrs .. water taxi leaves Latourell for the 30 minute ride to Quetico Park, Prairie Portage, Canada, followed by a 1st portage (100M). The Quetico park office opens at 07h45 hrs, we check in, provide our RABCP and pay the 30$/day park fee (total 90$ for both of us).
08h15 hrs .. we leave Prairie Portage and paddle northwest on Basswood Lake for 6km to the northeast portage in Sunday Bay, followed by the 800M 2nd portage to Sunday Lake.
10h00 hrs .. we leave south end of Sunday Lake and paddle northeast 6km to its northeast end, followed by a 3rd portage of 1000M to Meadows Lake.
12h00 hrs .. leave west side of Meadows Lake and paddle 200M to its east end, followed by the 4th portage of 600M to south end of Agnes Lake.
12h40 hrs .. paddle northeast 1 1/2km on south end of Agnes Lake to Louisa Falls, followed by 2 short portages east (5th & 6th, total of 400M) to Louisa Lake.
13h40 hrs .. leave south end of Louisa Lake and paddle northeast 5km to our Campground at the small Island in the middle of Louisa Lake.
14h30 hrs .. arrive our Campground at the very southern tip of the small Island in the middle of Louisa Lake. A beautiful scenic site. A group of 2 canoes came in hoping to camp here, they moved on to the small Island just to the south.
The HP is left-of-East from this CG.
We had a very quite sunny day (smooth waters) with little/no wind, if anything had a tail wind. Saw few paddlers during the day.
DAY 1 stats from Prairie Portage - 18.7km paddling, 2.8km portage - total of 21.5km in 6:15 hours.

2016-08-04 DAY 2 - SUMMIT DAY.
Had huge problems overnight, first I found out that my Thermarest had a leak, slept on the ground. Secondly around 4h00 hrs we had huge thunderstorm with rain, finding out that my tent had numerous small leaks. Didn't sleep all that well.
This morning we got up at 6h00 hrs as planned with some rain, menacing skies and windy conditions, decided to wait around. Rain ceased around 6h30 hrs, an hour or so later we decided to go for it.
We left the CG with a bit of a tail wind and paddled northeast on Louisa Lake for 5km (45 minutes) to a landing spot inside/south-side of an inlet (48.17500,-91.26578). This was our TH, the HP being to the southeast at about 2km.
The southeast bushwack took us over a ridge, through a wet/boggy area and up a steep short section with some mossy ledges to deal with. The typical tough Northern Ontario bushwack to Area 1 (48.16577,-91.25587, a large 540M contour) took us 1:30 hours ... the wooded summit offers no views, we didn't find the BM, added a rock cairn and hung a canister. Views can be had 100M east at the edge of the steep drop, from where we did our best to eye-level to Area 2, a small 540M contour abt 1.4km to the west. We deemed it to be lower and not worth the effort to go there.
We descended back to the TH in 1:15 hours, and paddled back to the CG in 1:20 hours, a head wind with some white caps made the going tough. We got back at 14h30 hours and spent the whole PM drying out our gear.
We erred big-time as we landed at the CG - we stepped-out of the canoe at the same time, me falling in the water.
Not my day - I fell face-first on my nose as I walked around camp, just missing a rock !!!. Had a bloody nose.
The rest of the day was sunny but windy.
DAY 2 RT stats from the Campground - 10km paddling, 4km bushwack - total of 14km in 6:30 hours.

Expecting a windy tough return trip we got up at 5h00 hours, packed-up our gear and ready to go at 6h00 hours - little wind from the west as we paddled mostly southwest. Some waves, not as smooth as first day (tougher going).
A lot of canoes on the lakes for this return trip, unlike day 1, even the portages had more activity. Sunday Lake must have had 8 canoes.
We got back to Prairie Portage at 12h15 hours - the 21.5km trip taking us 6:15 hours, same as on Day 1 (we were much more efficient on the portages).
Derek, through his wife Valerie, rescheduled Latourell's taxi pick up time from 16h30 hours to 14h00 hours. We got back to the mainland at 14h30 hours, tipped the taxi drivers, showered and left for ELY - on route we had to stop at the USA customs office to check in.

In Ely we squared up and went our own way - Derek drove south to Duluth and beyond into Upper Michigan, he wanted to get home the following day to meet up with his family - I stuck around a bit (had a sandwhich at Subway and skyped Rose) before driving south to the South Kawishiwi River Park CG (15 USD), near tomorrow's hike to Stony Tower Hill, MN. Lake COHP. My plan was to complete the "Great Lakes COHPs" around the south side of Lake Superior, before going home (I would succeed).

I want to thank Derek for his planning/bushwacking/leadership skills, everything went off as planned. A super young man and a great pleasure for me to just follow. Hopefully I didn't slow him down too much.
We had a number of long tough days, bushwacking in Northern Ontario is not easy - no open floors here.
My first canoe/portage trip of this type and for a guy my age, tough stuff. I would be very tired after each long day, but its amazing how a good nights rest recharges the batteries. I had a great time and very pleased with our effort, especially for the fact that we succeeded on all of our hikes.

I can now report here that I have one only COHP to visit "Ishpatina Ridge North" in order to complete the PB List "ONTARIO COHPS" - hopefully next summer. Derek, "Are you reading this?"

I would get home on 2016-08-12 for a 26 day trip. On route I county-highpointed in MN/WI/MI, stopped at Quebec's Zec Dumoine Accueil at Rolphton/Rapids des Joachims to check out a future hike to the QC Temiscamingue COHP (maybe October), and overnighted at my daughter Julie in Ottawa.


BECAUSE SOMEWHERE THE HURTING MUST STOP." ....... terrance stanley fox, 1958-1981

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:291 m / 954 ft
    Distance:57 km / 35.4 mi
    Route:3 day canoe + wack from louisa lake
    Trailhead:prairie portage  253 m / 831 ft
    Route Conditions:
Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp

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