Ye Old Menogyn Guides
 Camp Menogyn  Stories  by Dan Helle Guide 1966-67
(1)  "Northern Light Falls"

Northern Light Falls It had been an uneventful trip until it wasn't. The weather had been beautiful and we had managed to escape being wind bound on Saganaga. All of those reasons had our group in a positive and ebullient mood as we approached the portage into Northern Light Lake below Northern Light Falls. As I recall some 42 years later, this was a particularly strong group of kids from South Dakota with a great work ethic and a genuine interest in testing themselves in canoe country.

I was traveling one of my favorite routes from West Bearskin down the Stairway Portage, paddling the pipe stem of Rose , through North and South Lakes and down the Granite River. Once we entered Northern Light Lake we planned to paddle Icarus, into Greer and take the challenging Greer portages into North and then back to Menogyn Landing.

 At the portage below the falls we were greeted by a halluncinated vision of young women clad in bikinis and little else. The vision turned into reality. Conversation stopped. Mouths dropped. As guide and leader I had not been trained by staff to cope with this type of diversion. I mean, I was diverted, not too mention my campers! There was no guidebook to fall back on and it was apparent I was about to lose control. Guide rule #1 "always maintain control." Guide rule #2 " Always maintain an image of control and competence, even when clueless!" As Hillary Clinton once said;"Fake it till you make it!

" I proceeded in best Hillary fashion. Knowing I was on the verge of losing control I decided to harness al the emoting testosterone around that portage and display an example of masculinity that I hoped would be contagious. I grabbed two packs , the canoe, and brusquely made my way across the portage cajoling my charges to follow suit. Searching for the quickest water entry above the roaring falls I deposited the packs and instructed my bowman to assume his position and we pushed off----into disaster!

I can say with some certainty I misread the current. Seconds later the world became wet and rushing and the image I have before being swept over the precipice is of a blonde, bikini clad girl scout and her Brownie camera photographing my ignominy! Oh to have that picture now! The pool at the bottom of the falls was quite deep and I am proud to report the only thing lost was my beret.(Symbolic and appropriate.)  The canoe had become somewhat altered in both appearance and worthiness, but a quick trip to Billy Powell and the Chippewa Inn resulted in $5.00 worth of repairs as we- our delayed journey. This time successfully portaging the Falls and eventually returning to West Bearskin. I recall telling Arm about my adventure and I also recall the interminable stare that conveyed the appropriate message. Never Again!