This was our one and only trip into the park during June when the mosquitoes and black flies are so bad the park is practically empty. We were in the park for 3 nights total and the original intention was to spend all 3 nights on Pen Lake. The bugs were so bad combined with the 30 degree plus temperatures and ultra humid weather convinced us to change our plan mid trip.
Blake's tent and canoe pack. All new from the lessons learned from the 2004 trip. Nothing ruins the start of a trip faster than wet sleeping bags and no dry clothes to change into. A waterproof canoe pack is the number one must have piece of gear for canoe tripping.
You can see in this photo how muggy and still the air was. If you look close enough you can see the bugs in this photo. We knew going into this that the bugs would be an issue, but having to wear full length layers all day in the hottest muggy weather is a real pain.
On our third day we awoke with a plan to beat the bugs. First thing in the morning we broke camp and Grant and I left dad and all our gear at the waterfall at the top of the Pen to Rock portage. We paddled in record time to the beach at Rock Lake campground, hiked to the pay phone and called the Park office to change our reservation to Rock Lake interior for our final night. We hoped Rock Lake would have more wind to keep the bugs away. After confirmation of the change we paddled all the way back to the Pen portage to pick up dad and all the gear, we then headed for the best site on Rose Island, and boy was it worth it. We spent our last full day swimming, snorkeling and fishing for Rock Bass off the West side of the island. The hot sun and wind came out and blew the bugs away.
I was able to snorkel along the rock face while Grant fished above, I could see a school of Rock Bass and point out to grant the right place to put his line as well as get a great underwater view of the fish being caught on the hook and fighting. Grant managed to reel in 5 decent sized Rock Bass in total.
This site has plenty of room to space out our tents. Grant opted to pitch his tent on top of the high point of the site overlooking Picto Bay.
This photo shows the size of the usable area of this site. I am sure it is a favorite of many campers. One of the few benefits of visiting the park in June is that sites like these are usually free for the taking.
This little fellow became our supper. Just kidding.