TROUT LAKE in upper WI...near MinocquaLeslie and I went to Minocqua, Wisconsin for a few days in the last week of July. The rain was promised to hold off for at least a few days which I hoped would afford a quick trip to the north woods for a paddle in Northern Highland State Forest where Gerry and my paddling adventures began back in around 1974...I think? Anyway, Les and I launched at about 11:15 AM from the north Trout Lake campground beach and paddled at 245 degrees toward the number 6 canoe campsite about one mile to the west on the opposite shore. The wind was from the SW at about 8-12 mph with occasional gusts to around 15. Despite Leslie's joint problems she did quite well. I had intended to put on a tow line when we launched but she paddled nearly all the way across into the breeze before she needed the assistance. We discovered that site six had a beautiful and apparently quite popular sandy beach. After we lingered a few minutes we noticed a boat and two jet skis barreling down on the beach. We decided to leave before it got crowded. I think that even if you claimed the campsite you would have to share the beach with whomever shows up to use it. Site number 5 was my favorite, located at the mouth of a small bay off the lake and where a family of Loons welcomed and tolerated us as we passed by them. We stopped and had lunch at the site as it too was unoccupied. While we dined on our pbj's, a kayaker came by and we visited with him for a little while. He was a local who said that he paddled the lake 2-3 times a week. He also said that these campsites get very little use even in the summer. What a waste! We did check out all six sites and visited a few small islands before heading back to the truck. We paddled around 4.5 to 5 miles in total and had a great time. Leslie was a trooper even though I know she was uncomfortable at times. I kept the tow line on for the rest of the trip even though she paddled most of the time. But if she needed a little rest once in a while we were still able to keep going with the tow. I think it took the pressure off both of us and I still like towing better than paddling (and car-topping)a double. We got back around 2:30 PM after paddling about three hours. I think maybe we might try Moonlight Bay next. We don't set any speed records but at least we can paddle together. It must be love.
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