April 18, 2018: Ice Out Report from early season canoeists
#14 Little Indian Sioux North and the Portage River
Open water can’t get here soon enough. We decided to go check out the Little Indian Sioux River. The river south of the Echo Trail was still frozen, but we had some luck heading north. We made it all the way to Upper Pauness. We couldn’t quite get to Lower Pauness, but I bet in a day or two you could. The portage trails are snow covered and icy in spots. Portaging was a little sketchy, but we took our time and made sure we had good footing.
On the way back, we took the Range Line Creek, a small tributary that runs into the Little Indian Sioux River. We weren’t sure how far we would get, but with spring time water levels, we thought we would give it a try. With lots of winding and turning, we made it all the way to the start of the Sioux Hustler hiking trail. This was all new water to me, and I am not sure how late in the season this would be paddleable. It was really fun to see this section!
After walking back to the vehicle, we decided to check out the Portage River next. Neither of us had been on the Portage River before, and we thought with the high water (and the success we had on the Range Line Creek) we should give it a try. From the Echo, we headed north. It was smooth sailing (no ice!!) and gorgeous. The portages are not very well defined. In fact, we didn’t really find any portages; we just bush whacked through the woods. It was hard work, but a lot of fun. We made it about a mile away from Nina Moose Lake when we ran out of time. The next “portage” looked rough and we wanted to get back to the car before dark, so we started heading home.
It was a great day! We saw all kinds of critters: eagles, beaver, ducks, swans, grouse, geese, woodpeckers, red-winged blackbirds, to name a few. Everything is ready for spring!! Open water gets closer every day. Ponds and lakes need a little more time, but the rivers are opening up!
The Little Indian Sioux River at the 60-rod portage. The water is high!
Snowy portage. It was very slippery. Watch your step!
A view of the canoe at the end of the portage. Had to be careful not to go over your boot in the water or in the snow in spots.
A deer carcass on Upper Pauness. Must have been a wolf kill. It looks like it will fall through the ice any minute.
Suspended ice plates on Upper Pauness.
Mossy tree along the portage.
Sunny reflection on the Range Line Creek.
Have to love a day on the river!