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Mpls, MN, United States

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Boundary Waters Report

On Monday at 4:00 a.m., Bryant and Bradley arrived. Two and a half hours later, Sunny and her brother Jonathan flew in. Colleen's flight was delayed, but she arrived later that afternoon to complete the canoeing contingent. We spent the rest of the day picking up our rented canoe, packing, and getting final supplies.

Tuesday morning we left before dawn, with the rented canoe strapped to Bruiser and Colleen's to her Honda. We stopped at Lake Superior and again in Ely, where we ate at a place called the Chocolate Moose.
That afternoon we put in at Snow Bank Lake, with Bradley, Sunny, Jonathan and Sebastian in one canoe and Bryant, Colleen and I in the other. That evening and the rest of the week we pretty much paddled until we hit the edge of the current lake, portaged to the next one, and repeated until we decided to stop and camp for the night.

The wilderness was incredibly gorgeous: the lakes were the cleanest I'd seen anywhere, the trees (the deciduous ones just beginning to turn) smelled fantastic, and it was exciting to see the wildlife (which included lots of loons, several bald eagles, a couple beavers, a handful of turtles, and--for Bradley and Sunny, anyway--a wolf). The best thing, though, was to be away from my (and everyone's, for that matter) cell phone, laptop, calendar, and even clock (our only way to approximate the time was by adding or subtracting several hours from the timestamps on Bryant and Colleen's digital photos). Watching the boys hang the food to protect it from the animals every night was also pretty great, though.

On April 14, when the trip was just beginning to take shape, Bryant was in Vegas and I was in Minneapolis, and we chatted about the trip. "Do you think there will be mosquitoes?" I asked. He presciently responded, "Uh... yeah, there will definately be mosquitoes... and portaging... and black flies... and maybe bears... and wind and rain and cold." I was excited about bears, but not about the other things, and asked what the nice parts would be. Bryant responded, "Mosquitoes, portaging, fishing, cooking on a campfire, outhouses without houses, few other people, no cell phones, moose, wild blueberries, skinny dipping, granite and conifers, flap jacks, clean smells, no showers, hard work." I suppose he was right.

We took out on Monday morning at Lake 4, having made a circuit that ended about a five-mile hike from the cars parked at Snowbank. We made another stop in Ely on our way out, and had the canoe back to campus with plenty of time to spare before they closed at 6:00. Everyone stayed at my place again Monday night, and by Tuesday evening were all gone, leaving me alone in my still-relatively-clean and suddenly quite empty apartment--wondering vaguely what I'd been thinking (and whether retraction would be possible), inviting people to a birthday party that I'd rashly decided to host here for myself and two friends tomorrow night.

If you're in the area, you are, of course, invited. It should be a good time.

All pictures courtesy of Bryant and Colleen; there were many more, and you should probably bug Bryant to post some.


some poems don't rhyme said...

that sounds like an amazing trip. i would give anything to do a trip like that. with people who know what they are doing, anyway. because i wouldn't know how to do a trip like that.

you are a very lucky girl!

some poems don't rhyme said...

oh, and i gave you an award...

Ern said...

I'm here (also via Mandy!) and so enjoyed this post for all the memories it brought back to me! I spent a week canoeing in the Boundary Waters with my youth group in high school and it is one of my favorite places on the planet. Just amazingly beautiful and peaceful.

The Churches said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Churches said...

Happy Birthday Ceri!! I was thinking about you this week as your birthday approached- I always do. It's funny how some things stick in your mind and get triggered like that after so long- it's only been like 17 years since you've lived here...!!! I'm sure your party will be a success and I hope you will enjoy it!

Mumsie said...

Don't forget that today is "Milkshake Day" and we'll expect a full report later. Loved this report on your canoe trip. . .and would love to see more pics.