Canoe Trip Stories


More stories inspired by the Boundary Waters Canoe Area
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 to share?

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.
Ouetico trip PDF (55KB)
Jim Carrier

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.
Ouetico trip PDF (59KB)
Jim Carrier

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.
Ouetico trip PDF (55KB)
Jim Carrier

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.
Ouetico trip PDF (60KB)
Jim Carrier

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!
Ouetico trip PDF (60KB)
Jim Carrier

Of Spruce Bogs And Caribou Moss
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 ancient pictographs.
Ouetico trip PDF (60KB)
Jim Carrier

A 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.
Ouetico trip PDF (179KB)
Owen Secoy

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.
Ouetico trip PDF (578KB)
Owen Secoy

Adventure 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!
Ouetico trip PDF (578KB)
Jim Carrier

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—.
Ouetico trip PDF (81KB)
Jim Carrier

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!!!!!"
Ouetico trip PDF (38KB)
Al Freeland

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!!!"
Ouetico trip PDF (42KB)
Al Freeland

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."
Ouetico trip PDF (33KB)
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."
Ouetico trip PDF (29KB)
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."
Ouetico trip PDF (34KB)
Dave Milke

Quetico 2009
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.
Ouetico trip PDF (31KB)
Mike Rush

More Stories Inspired by the BWCA / Quetico Wilderness

This page was getting far too long so I broke it up for my dialup friends.
More BWCA / Quetico canoe trip stories

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