The Great Canoe Fiasco

Published: April 19, 2016

About 7 years ago, my dad, sister and I noticed on the maps on the table at Headwaters in Boulder Junction that it would be relatively easy to canoe from Boulder Lake to White Sand Lake. We made plans to go in the morning, and figured we would be at our destination in 3 hours, tops. We packed some light snacks and made our way out, using a flimsy paper map as a guide. We started out on the Manitowish River, and it wasn’t long until we made our first mistake and canoed into and all the way across Little Rice Lake. After searching the entire perimeter of the lake, we discovered that the only way out was the way we came in. We went back out onto the Manitowish River, and continued canoeing all the way to the dam, when we realized we had reached a dead end. Still determined to make this trip work, we turned around, and found a creek which we figured must lead to our destination. We later discovered that this creek was in fact called White Sand Creek, but at the time we could not have been the wiser. Hours later, two hungry and tired little girls had given up on helping their dad paddle through what was basically mud (the creek was dried up in some places due to a very hot summer). We were all ready to give up. My dad pulled out his phone, hoping to get some service and reach our friends and family back at the lake. Unfortunately, the phone slipped right through his fingers and into the water, and any hope that we had of contacting our loved ones was lost. We just had to keep moving forward and hope for the best. About an hour or two later, we came to a road. The only hope that we had of returning to civilization was pulling out canoe out of the creek, standing on the road, and flagging down the next car that came through. It took about 20 minutes, but FINALLY a car came through. They stopped for us, asked us if we needed help (to which we, of course, said yes) and took us back to their home. After some talking, we discovered that their daughter knew our Aunt who lives in Alaska, and they knew each other from a similar encounter that we were experiencing in the moment (small crazy world, huh?) We discovered that we nearly made it to White Sand Lake, popped the canoe back in the water, and finished our journey (that took about 6 hours longer than we had planned.) Now, every summer, my father, sister, and I do the canoe trip the right way, in an appropriate amount of time. Even though 7 years ago I thought I was going to get eaten alive by a bear swimming along the creek, looking back, that is one of my favorite memories in Boulder Junction. The photo attached is of our most recent outing on the creek, but this time in a kayak.