An October Towboat Ride

Before Andy and I took over at Tuscarora this June, the tow boat service offered by Tuscarora was one of the most fascinating aspects of the business to mull over in our minds. Food packing; cabin, bunk, and gear cleaning; even French toast cooking didn’t phase us, but motoring people around Saganaga Lake – the biggest lake in our neck of the woods – that sounded a little challenging and really fun. I’ve always meant to get to know Saganaga Lake better, but even though I spent five years working on the shore of Saganaga Lake (as the manager of Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center), I’d only been on Sag a handful of times. It’s one of those lakes with its own personality and unique lore and I’ve been looking forward to learning it.

NewTowDock All summer long, Andy, staff members (including Andy’s wonderful Uncle John), and guests traveled across Saganaga Lake, getting tows to and from Hook Island, American Point, or Red Rock portage as they started and ended their Boundary Waters and Quetico canoe trips. But sometimes when you’re the boss lady, it’s hard to get out of the office long enough to check the mail, let alone go on a tow boat ride. But earlier this month, I finally made it.


You couldn’t ask for a more beautiful time to be on Sag as the colors pop along the shoreline and the loons start to raft together in preparation for their migration. As we traveled up the Sag Corridor, Andy pointed out a mama moose and her calf who’d be hanging out right on the water’s edge all morning.

SaganagaLakeOctoberBecause the wind was pretty calm during our journey, it took us only about 20 minutes (versus about six hours of paddle time) to reach Hook Island where we were picking up a camper from his weeklong solo trip in Quetico. As we pulled into Hook Island, the sun peeped out from the low, grey clouds.


Our camper was all set to go and in just a few minutes, we had his canoe up on the towboat  racks and his gear loaded as we listened to tales from his trip. On the way back, we spotted the moose pair again. They looked pretty cozy and completely unperturbed by the boat passing them by.

MooseOctober Here’s to many more tow boat adventures!