What We're Doing: Mr. Nielsen's Time in the Boundary Waters
This summer some old friends, my younger brother, and I took a canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This area encompasses over a million acres of wilderness in northeastern Minnesota along the border with Canada.
The area is famous as a fishing and canoeing destination for its solitude and for offering visitors a glimpse of what the wilderness of this region has looked like for generations. All of us agreed that as born-and-bred Midwesterners, this trip was a rite of passage.
Everyone does a canoe trip in the Boundary Waters, right?
So despite our inexperience as overnight canoe travelers, we headed up toward Minnesota right after the Fourth of July to begin our journey.
We spent six days and five nights camping and paddling along the interconnected lakes of the Boundary Waters. We caught more fish than any of us could eat. We saw lots of turtles and bald eagles. We jumped in the many available bodies of water often. With no shower, a good swim was the best we could do.
The trip wasn't without its challenges. We braved some serious rain storms. The worst storm came upon us on our first night, at our least organized and prepared point. We struggled to get a stove lit for dinner and had to move our tent after it became clear we had pitched it in a flood zone. We ate wet carrots under a tree. All the while mosquitoes had a feast of their own on any of our skin they could reach. Oh, the mosquitoes...and the flies, those little buggers were active, and some nights it was just better to get in the tent and wait for morning. These trying moments were worth it for the lakes we had to ourselves, for the sunsets, and for the laughs we shared by campfire. It was a great trip, and I would recommend the Boundary Waters to anyone...just bring a mosquito net.