Canoe Trip Stories


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?

A Special Trip Up The Beartrap River
"Through the years the groups that I have taken canoe camping in Canada and/or the Boundary Waters have always been groups of four or more. Matthew, my grandson, began going with me three years ago at the age of twelve. The 2007 trip was to be his fourth trip and maybe his last."
 Ouetico trip PDF
by Owen Secoy

Don't Stop Dreaming
"Back in the thirties my Great Uncle Rufus began a yearly trek that took him into the West Arm of Lake Nipissing wilderness area of Northern Ontario. Rough gravel roads played havoc on his vehicles, but his persistence started a family tradition that lasted nearly sixty years."
 Ouetico trip PDF
by Owen Secoy

Into Lonely
"A hint of wind blows across the bow of my Prism. I soak in the sights and sounds of the lake. Beaverhouse. That name conjures up Voyager exploits, a rich history of native people, fur trading adventure, and a logging era long dead."
 Ouetico trip PDF
by Jim Jelak

Solo Reflections
"The area in Quetico we were entering was called Hunters Island — so called, because the area is actually ringed with a paddelable and portagable ring of lakes and rivers, creating a mammoth quasi-island. Parts of this series of lakes and portages were originally used by the voyagers as part of the 18th Century fur trade route from Saganaga Lake to Crane Lake."
Ouetico trip PDF (103KB)
by Neal Oberlee

Kahshahpiwi - Quetico Trip - 2006
"The area in Quetico we were entering was called Hunters Island — so called, because the area is actually ringed with a paddelable and portagable ring of lakes and rivers, creating a mammoth quasi-island. Parts of this series of lakes and portages were originally used by the voyagers as part of the 18th Century fur trade route from Saganaga Lake to Crane Lake."
Ouetico trip PDF (173KB)
by Al Freeland

Of Wind, Water, & Wilderness
"What was settled on became an eight day loop which would take us into the desired fishing destinations of Jean, Burntside and Bentpine Lakes. The final day would be one of travel, traversing a series of lakes to the south featuring Snow, Your and Badwater.."
Ouetico trip PDF (137KB)
by Bill Kuntze

Rendezvous in the Bush
"On December 7th, 2004, Bushwhacker Jamboree's day of infamy, Stumpy posted map coordinates for his proposed Rendezvous. The destination was revealed as a small, nameless lake between Cairn and Kawnipi lakes. Internet characters with curious and sometimes colorful ID's such as Intrepid Camper, Woods Walker, Magic Paddler, Pittsburgh Portager, Quetico Passage, Kawishiway, Rangeline, Hexnymph, and many others soon applied for June entry permits with the purpose of accepting Stumpy's challenge."
Ouetico trip PDF (71KB)
by Jim Carrier

Tripped Up
"The #4 Duluth pack has been carefully packed and sits upright, waiting, next to the front door. A medium sized compression sack, occupying the bottom of the pack, contains my clothes for the week. I packed light but did include my favorite fleece jacket to keep the September early morning chill at bay."
 Ouetico trip PDF
by Jim Jelak

Adventures... West of Quetico
"A total of six scratched and patched war horse Grumman canoes, a collection of assorted aging boat motors, numerous bottles of premixed 2 cycle fuel, uncounted Duluth packs, artillery sized fishing pole transport tubes and kids all got affixed or loaded into the old canoes."
Ouetico trip PDF (51KB)
by Bryan Whitehead

My Piece of Heaven
"My adventures and accomplishments in Quetico were never ending. Each new day and each new experience brought growth, strength, and admiration for my husband."
 Ouetico trip PDF
by Sandra Walters

My Paddling Partner
"My paddling partner and my life partner are one and the same. I wouldn't have it any other way."  Ouetico trip PDF (466KB)
by Lynda Childs

A Through-Paddle from Ely to Atikokan
"Troop 214, Salina, Kansas sent four crews (32 people) on a high adventure trek through the Boundary Waters in Minnesota and Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. Two crews started in Atikokan, and paddled south, and two crews started in Ely, MN and paddled north."  Ouetico trip PDF (63KB)
Rod Franz

A Dad and his Daughter
"It seems to me, that there are many significant things that happen in our lives that we don't recognize as a special event, at the time it occurs. Taking a trip to the boundary waters with my daughter is special and I knew it, as soon as we began to prepare."
by David L. McHone

Wet Behind the Ears
"Our first Quetico trip is a fifteen year-old blur. I attempt to conjure it up; it resists focus. It is an onion of memory. Yes... an onion. Savory stuff will eventually waft out, but only after processing. Just now, peeling skin off raw memory, it smells pretty bad and I shed tears of pity for three canoe country newbies, remembered here as something less than voyageurs."    Ouetico trip PDF (66KB)
Jim Carrier

North Country Sunrise
"The first time I decided to try a paddle at night, I decided to bring it up with a rambunctious group of boys going on a 6 day trip. At first they didn't really listen, as most of their attention was preoccupied with the 14 year old girls that they were flirting with around them. I waited until later when their attention was more on the trip and brought up the idea again."     (43KB)
by Patrick Doty

Paradise and Beyond
"It was that time of year when the hustle and bustle of a 24-7 resort and outfitting operation was quieting down, fall colors were almost peaking, and to leave behind the stresses of ever day life and head into the Quetico for my annual fall get-a-way."     (49KB)
by MooseTrack

Quetico Solo - a 20 day trip report of a solo Quetico trip
I was lonely at times. Especially around the evening campfire. One day I thought about moving up to the front of the canoe for awhile to take a break from myself. Yes, I spent alot of time laughing at... to... and with... myself."    Ouetico PDF (84KB)
by Doug Clark

Of Inukshuks and a Stroll Through the Park
"Days later, when we parted, Big Ed would pull me aside and say, "Jim, your son, Ben, is a really good man." Our go-fer, my rising twelfth grade son, this soon-to-become-man, fully blossomed during this trip. Ed's words served me as a coming-of-age benediction for Benjamin. I acknowledge him as a full partner in all we might share, in and out of Quetico."    Ouetico PDF (76KB)
by Jim Carrier

High Falls on the Namekagon -
a destroyed canoe and lessons learned

"I asked my boys what the best thing about this trip had been? They weighed the amazing fishing, the thundering water falls, but decided that in the end watching the fathers labor on the sunken canoe had provided the most memorable moments. Remember, as my Grandfather said, there are no hard jobs, just jobs done with the wrong tools! "    Namekagon PDF (317KB)
by Bryan Whitehead

The Summer of the Wolves
"We paddled to the deer, getting very close as I turned the canoe, and with my paddle I proceeded to push the deer out of the mud, while noticing the fresh open wounds on the neck and rump made by the attack!"
Curt Iverson

"A man child I know of insulted me in that he told mutual acquaintances that I was a fool and not of sound mind to visit the wilderness solo.  That any one that did such a thing was crazy.  So be it.  We are crazy.  Let the faint of heart never know of our rite of passage."
by Bryan Kegler

First Time in the BWCA and Solo
"Across Bruin to Little Gabbro, the sweat and insects, my neck locked in a vice from the carrying thwart, the wood crushing down on my shoulder, the seventy-five pound pack on my back and the mud sucking at my boots, each step became a question posed of my will to be answered and followed by another and another and another until at last I saw the water shimmering through the trees like heaven itself.
by Ben Savitt

Solo Sucks
"What happened next was only going to be a series of ill events which would put a heavy damper on the rest of this trip. As I blew out the candle lantern I proceeded to use the palm of my hand to close the gadget. Any of you who have seen these little demons know that they collapse in half and have a metal top, which gets really, really hot."
by Phantom Jug

The Challenge of the Portage
"It doesn't take much thought to discover a major flaw with the normal technique of the double portage: The portage is, say one half mile long; you carry your canoe over, you walk back, you then carry your pack over.  That's three trips over the half mile portage.  The half mile turned into a mile and a half.  Hiking back, the extra half mile is considered by some to be a rest break!"
by Tony Baroni

Cache River Passage
In hindsight, our fine progress to that point may well have been our undoing. We were, perhaps, a little too cocky. Throw in the fact that Gary's duct tape boot patch wasn't holding up so well and maybe our subsequent, rather confounding, decision becomes better understood. In a burst of mid-life, testosterone-induced foolishness that I have lived to regret (fortunately), I exclaimed, "Yo, Chief. Are you up for an adventure? How about trying a shortcut?"
by Jim Carrier

When Things Go Wrong
"We still don't know who came to our rescue to this day."
by William Lilly

Best of Friends
"A friend of mine from work was always telling me about his trips into the Boundry Waters and how great the fishing was there. He said, "the fish there don't even know what lures are, they will hit anything you throw at them". I was the one who was hooked."
by William Lilly

The Trip
"funny how just the sight of the old wood canoe conjures up thoughts of great adventure long before the craft is portaged, long before the paddle is dipped into the water."
by Jim Butler

Going Alone – A Trip To Canoe Country
(This is an off site link from Michael Furtman, outdoor writer and long time canoe country advocate. Michael once worked for the Forest service and was stationed in the Boundary Waters. If the name doesn't instantly ring a bell check out the rest of his site and it probably will.)
"Not that he didn't feel bad that it had to be this way. But his wife and bow paddler of forty years was gone now and there was no one else that really understood. Not his kids. To them he was an old romantic fool. He hoped that someday they might understand."
by Michael Furtman

First Quetico Trip August 1994
Quetico Trip Report
"This was our first trip of 7 so far in Quetico. I'm sure my son and I will be traveling here long after I retire."
by Art Scoular

Mike's Solo Canoe Trip (This is an off site link)
"On May 17, 2002 I ventured alone into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for six nights with a canoe, some camping gear, and a digital camera. This is my report."

Be sure to pack extra food in the Fall...
"This is a bear story from 1978 - one that I've told dozens of Scouts and to my kids dozens of times."
by Bryan Whitehead

Island Bear
"Trust me, when they give you advice on how to avoid bears, follow it to the tee and you will better your chances of not loosing your food!"
by Chris Bridson

Beaverhouse to French Lake
Quetico Trip report
by Dennis Moon

Pow Wow Trail Trip Report
A very detailed and interesting account of a solo backpacking trip on the Pow Wow trail in October.
"I sit at the campfire as the darkness closes in. Now that the sun is going down, the snow is starting to stick longer. About 7:30 it starts snowing very hard once again, putting my fire out and forcing me into the tent. I change into the same "pajamas" I wore last night and settle down for a long winter's nap. I didn't manage to get my third pair of socks dry."
by Larry Ricker

Angleworm Lake Trip Report
Saturday, November 25, 2000 - "Despite my exhaustion, I spend a restless night. Soon after I get to bed, I have to pull on my polypro thermal underwear. And, I still wake up chilly from time to time -- not dangerously cold, just chilly. A change of position and I'm able to get to sleep again but, wake up again a little early."
by Larry Ricker

Homer Lake Trip Report
New Year's 2001 "We're forced to make our way along the shore to avoid the thin ice long before the first 6 rod portage. Our progress is slow since we have to force our skis through the tangled grass lying under the deep snow."
by Larry Ricker

To Touch A Dream
"For those in the busy cement cities who suffer from the "call of the wild," the north woods is home, a timeless life that tugs at your heart strings and captures your soul in a single visit..."
by Breezy (aka. Wendy Cook)

Wilderness Learning: Quetico Style
When you have time here's good one about a one way route sure to give anyone a real sense of accomplishment. Clay Lake to Prairie Portage, via the Wawiag and Carin Lake.
"As we moved along the creek, I was startled when Nathan suddenly yelled as we came around a bend, "Backwater... we are about to hit a big boulder!"  Complying, I began to backwater, and as I looked around him in front of the canoe, I saw the enormous rump of a Moose, with its head down under the water, feeding on bottom delicacies."
by Harold D. Rutan

Yum Yum Portage
"One thing the old Fisher maps lacked was contour lines. Had we known what was ahead on the Yum Yum to Khashapiwi portage we surely would have reconsidered our route."
by Paul

I'll Always Remember
"I still have the paddle I bought, after all these years and all these moves around the country. I rationalize that if it got me through three weeks on that trip, I don't want to be up any crick without it."
by D,P. - Denver

Bears and Bacon
An account of a solo trip during a fire ban. Bear encounters seem to be more prevalent when the Blueberry crop is affected by a dry spell. Lake names were changed to protect author's favorite spots.
"After looking both ways he continued down the shoreline, only now his pace quickened, he looked longer, sleeker, more bear-like. Every step was perfect. He moved like a cat. He was silent. He was beautiful. He was heading for my camp!"
db QuietJourney.com

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