More stories inspired by the Boundary Waters Canoe
and Quetico Provincial Park
Boundary Waters and Quetico travelers are invited to add
stories about their own trips into this great wilderness. Trip reports,
campfire stories, poetry... anything is welcome. Do you have a story
Where There's a Will There's a Way
Last summer I struggled mightily during an easy two-week paddle across northernmost Quetico Park. Those trials and tribulations were described in my story, "With a Little Help from My Friend", appearing in the BWJ 2016 Winter Issue. At times, the pain was so bad - and my ego so battered - I just wanted somebody to scrape me off of the portage path and deposit me in some nice, comfortable home for decrepit canoe campers. There, I could dream away the balance of my declining days, fantasizing about yesteryear and living, vicariously, through adventures of others recounted in the BWJ. I freely admit, last year I was in a very bad state of mind concerning future park adventuring.
With a Little Help From My Friend
The next morning, after the CQO shuttle deposited us at Beaverhouse Lake, it was a short ten minute paddle to the very first portage. This trail would take us to a No Name Lake en route to Cirrus Lake. Though more than a half-mile long, this old railway bed is flat as they come. Nevertheless, about mid-way across with my first load, I found myself limping, hurting, and - worst of all - second-guessing my wisdom in tackling a Quetico trip this year.
Opasquia Provincial Park… Off the Beaten Path
Opasquia Provincial Park (pronounced, as we learned, “O*pas*q*way) is remote. Drive as far north as you can. Board a Cessna Caravan and cruise above endless forest, spruce bogs, and lakes to the Sandy Lake Airport landing strip. Cram in gear and food for two weeks (100 lbs/person limit) into a much smaller Cessna 206, floating on the sand-colored water that gives the big lake its name. You pray it achieves lift-off and hold on tight. You’re headed for Big Hook Wilderness Camps on Central Lake… your starting point.
See You in September
Despite those initial disconcerting thoughts, Nancy intrepidly paddled onward and, clad in her rain gear and boots, battled every new gust and every spurt of wet sprinkles sent by the low-hanging grey clouds sailing past us. Her confidence grew as we surfed the mid-sized rollers which propelled us southward.
Fishing with Charlie
We caught a couple nice ‘eyes right away as well as some good-sized northerns and several more smallmouth. Yet, as the morning wore on, however, Chuck’s fishing appetite was not satiated. He was fixated on achieving a Grand Slam right off the bat during his very first “fishing” morning in the park!
Of Spruce Bogs And
Savoring a quest element in our paddling getaway, my frequent
paddling companion, Darrel Brauer, and I chose to follow in the footsteps
of Martin Kehoe who, for the past decade, has worked with park officials
to resurrect old canoe routes, recover historical artifacts, and uncover
Biffy Fit For A Queen
I did anticipate one major obstacle to the endeavor convincing
my Texas wife to do some things that would be very, very foreign to
her. Such things as getting in and paddling a canoe across wilderness
lakes, carrying all our gear across forest paths, sleeping on the ground
and personal hygiene in the bush were all going to push her comfort
zone. Those were going to be the major items I would need to conquer.
A Memory Too Good Not To Retell
The weather was great and the smallie fishing was good. There isn't
anything I know of that will get a kid hooked on fishing better than
a day on a good smallmouth lake. The action was nonstop and a thrill
for both of us.
In Woodland Caribou Park
WCP, an expanse of Canadian Shield and boreal forest much the same size
as Quetico, seldom sees more than six hundred paddlers in an entire
year. The route recommended for our two paddling parties would circle
us clockwise around the southeastern quadrant of the park. It proved
to be an excellent choice!
Nothing But Blue Skies
Travel south to Russell Lake that morning was about as easy as it gets.
Big Sturgeon Lake was blessedly calm. A group of teenage girls performed
warm-up calisthenics as we quietly slipped past their campsite. Passage
through Sturgeon Narrows was uneventful. It hadn't always been that
way for me. I recounted to Matunik the tale of how my brother and I
pulled two blue-faced paddlers out of the spring flood, just after ice-out,
eleven years earlier. They had tried to bypass the portage going upstream
and suffered bad results. Fortunately for them, we just happened to
be going the other way.
How I Spent My MEA Weekend with My Dad
and his Stupid Friend Al on Hegman Lake
"Hi my name is Emily!! I am 12 years old, and my Dad forced
me to go on a stupid trip to some place called the Boundary Waters with
his stupid friend Al!!! Here is how I spent my MEA weekend, when I could
have been watching videos and listening to my IPOD!!!!!"
Winter Camping Trip Fall Lake
One Mile Island
"You have heard of the immigrate book called "Bring Warm Clothes",
well I could just as well have written a camping book entitled, "Bring
Cold Clothes". It would have written about winter camping in Ely
on March 14th and 15th 2009 why? Because it was not only warm,
but by the time the trip was over, and we had driven back home to Northfield,
Minnesota, it was about 60 degrees!!!"
A Typical Day in the BWCA?
"The soft morning light filtering through the rain fly and tent
beckoned the arrival of a fresh June morning in the Boundary Waters.
Another day full of adventure and blessings in the outer reaches of
the wilderness canoe waters. I laid there for a few moments musing over
the events of the days since we had entered the Park and pondered what
this new day might have in store for us. Undoubtedly, more adventurous
memories would be added to our ever expanding list."
By Owen Secoy
A Good Day in the BWCA
"The first day of a recent BWCA wilderness canoe trip started quite
ominously with heavy patter of rain on the outfitter's bunkhouse roof,
the wind whistling through the pines, frequent flashes of lightning
and loud claps of thunder. We were well prepared for our yearly trip
to the Boundary Waters, psyched up and ready to put our paddles in the
water. But a cold front complete with rain, wind and lightening was
not how we had envisioned starting our first day."
By Owen Secoy
My Own BWCA Version of Spielberg's, "DUEL"
"This story takes place in the BWCA during June of last year, 2007.
This is the first time that anyone will be hearing the story; I've never
shared it. Partly because I wanted to get my thoughts down in writing
for accuracy and partly because the full impact of my described experience
doesn't lend itself to repetition. For those reasons I wanted to only
go through it once. Here it is."
September 7, 2009. A long day of traveling but oh, so worth it. Arrived
at Zup's via sturdy float plane to a beautiful, warm, sunny day. Our
gear and canoes were loaded onto a shiny aluminum power boat and after
a monster lunch we were ready to head out. The boat ride to our first
portage into Iron Lake was refreshing with the cool air filling our
lungs as we sped by little islands that seemed to float on the dark
surface of the water. Along the way, our guide took us to some native
pictographs imprinted on a rock face. Faded, reddish images of moose
and deer and human hands stood out against the moss and lichens that
grew on the granite wall.
This page was getting far too long so I broke it up
for my dialup friends.
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