Today's early morning snowfall will turn to rain and I race through my breakfast and race through my portage to the big lake. It is calm and especially so in the cove where I start, but as I move north the wind builds. It comes to me that it takes so little wind during a winter canoe trip to make the lake somewhat threatening.
I turn the point and head to the big beaver lodge, my favorite of the lodges and a favorite place for me to sit. Its backdrop is the tangled beaver forest of the east marsh and whether any animals are visible, the signs of life are as vivid as that of a cemetery...markers, so many of them. An eagle sits above the lodge when I get there and a flock of buffleheads, which always seem to be where they are, have to move as I paddle in.
When I get into the open water of the bay, east of the burial island, I spot four eagles. The two north nesters are hunting a flock of coots in unison while the south nesters split, one going to the east shore and the other landing in a tree on the burial island not far from where I sit.