One of my favorite Laketrails memories involves a particular paddle back to Base Camp. We had taken a fairly long trip with our guides, Mike “Lucky” LaCoursiere and Harv, and so had to paddle many miles each day to get back to Base Camp on time. As luck would have it we encountered high winds, and even with the shelter of the islands simply couldn’t safely paddle during the day. We had run out of time and still found ourselves well north of camp.
The gods were smiling on us though, and as the sun was setting, the winds died down to a light breeze. We had dinner that evening and then loaded up the canoes and began the many-mile trek home. As we entered French Portage Narrows, the winds died completely, and we were soon gliding on a proverbial sheet of glass, creating silent silhouettes cutting through the water. We were tired, so there was little conversation as we went.
A short while later a full moon appeared overhead, accompanied by a few brave stars that could be seen through the celestial brightness. It was a clear night, and the moon cast a long reflection on the water and painted shadows along the shore. At this point Lucky broke out his harmonica. There was soon an eerie, soulful melody that transported us to another Lake of the Woods dimension. The beautiful blues and tunes blended us as one with the elements, and we were soon lost in our thoughts as we passed the miles unaware of sleepiness or sore muscles.
By some magic of Lake of the Woods, harmonica music, and the full moon, we made it back to camp in what seemed like only a passing moment with more memories to add to our Laketrails albums.
by Mike Smith, former camper and camper-guide