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      What is a trip to the Boundary Waters like?     
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Considering paddling
Guest Paddler
 
02/10/2018 02:08PM
My husband thinks we should make a trip to the BWCA but I'm not much for camping. I looked over some of the reports of trips and things to do there. What I would like to know is what is the experience of going up there like? We have done a fair amount of canoeing, just not tripping.
 
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andym
distinguished member(4411)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
02/10/2018 02:15PM
Serenity. With daytripping you are back in civilization with cars and roads and noise every day. With a backwoods trip you can leave that all behind and get truly in touch with nature. The calm time together also builds relationships with our trip partners whether they are friends, family members, or spouses.
schweady
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02/10/2018 02:20PM
Heaven on Earth, for the most part. The other times can prove to be pure Hell. The former is what you dream about while at home during the offseason. The latter is what makes up the majority of the stories around the campfire while you are out there. :-)
02/10/2018 02:36PM
There was a time in my life when I could have written the first sentence of your post. In fact, I am sure that I did utter it, if I didn't write it down. And my husband wore me down with his tales of the canoe country. He persuaded me to go.

That was 1971. I was in my mid-20's.

And after that trip, I was the one who was planning the next trip, and the next, and the next. We went to the BWCAW and Quetico (and a few other selected locations) on canoe trips for 42 years, not every single year, but as often as we possibly could. Our best trip lasted 22 days, in 1992. And when we had to quit canoe-tripping due to health issues a few years ago, we made the decision to still travel to the canoe country every summer and stay in a cabin so that we could take those day trips that andym points out are not nearly as satisfying.

It is hard for me to describe what the experience is like. It is a freedom unlike any other. A beautiful silence that is only punctuated by the sound of the white-throated sparrow, or the call of a solitary loon. The mist on a cold lake at early morning, and a campfire shared in the evening. The feeling of accomplishment when you complete a long, difficult portage and see that blue water stretch before you again. Times of solitude and companionship that cannot be matched. And sometimes, adversity and adventure to make a memory. And a story.

I made photo books and wrote in journals. But the best part is in my mind, in my memories. No one can ever take that away.

You have to try it to know if it is for you. It isn't for everyone. But I am thankful that I was open to persuasion back then. . .it changed my life and my marriage in ways I never would have imagined.

My First Trip Report

nooneuno
distinguished member(526)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/10/2018 03:15PM
It's sunshine and it's rain, part pleasure and part pain, it's a blank canvas where you paint your own journey on nature's terrain.
TomT
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02/10/2018 03:47PM
nooneuno: "It's sunshine and it's rain, part pleasure and part pain, it's a blank canvas where you paint your own journey on nature's terrain."

Perfectly summed up. I would give it a go but just keep it simple for the first time. Maybe do a couple of easy portages and set up for 2 or 3 nights or do a full blown base camp for the entire time if you like the site.

A few must brings are a good large tarp, extra pair of shoes to stay dry around camp, and good, if not great rain gear (top and bottoms). And I would definitely go through an outfitter. they can help with the route, point out attractions and good camp sites and rent you any gear you may need. Bring a good attitude and it will be wonderful.

mastertangler
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02/10/2018 03:57PM
Well it's time to be a good trooper and good companion. You go because your husband wants you to go. So, get excited and "fake it till you make it".......you can actually decide that your going to have a good time, and presto, you do!

A few hints to help smooth the process......time of year is important. August sees lots fewer bugs and the weather is usually mild. Comfortable sleep is also a high priority. While you may be going "for him" that doesn't mean you can't indulge yourself. What are your hobbies? Photography perhaps? What about reading? Very relaxing.

Lastly I would take lots of pictures. Take pictures of the two of you doing ordinary camping tasks (like pitching a tent or cooking etc.). Don't announce the pictures rather let them be natural. Then go to a site like Snapfish where you can make a picture book of your trip. Very reasonable prices. Wrap it for Christmas and surprise him. Honor and respect your husband in this way and he will crawl through broken glass to give you a cup of water.

The following year you can then suggest an excursion.........."hey hon, I was looking at one of those river cruises in Europe" ;-)
Jackfish
Moderator
 
02/10/2018 04:36PM
I took my wife on her first BW canoe trip a few years ago. We did a 4-day, 3-night trip on a reasonable route - nothing crazy, but not super easy either. We camped two nights at one spot and one night at another before paddling out. I even packed in frozen walleye fillets to guarantee a good shorelunch! :)

We cooked good meals, saw cool wildlife, fished a little, napped when we felt like it, had great campfires, saw a waterfall... just an awesome canoe trip.

When we got back into Ely, I had a hotel reservation at the Grand Ely Lodge, a couples massage booked at the place on Main Street (name?) and dinner reservations at the Burntside Lodge. We spent some time shopping before the drive home and truly enjoyed ourselves.

Every couple is different. What my wife and I liked, you may not. However you decide to do it, plan a little something for both of you - split the trip into "roughing it" in the BW and maybe a little "normal" vacation that you both will enjoy. My bet is that you'll find the BW incredibly beautiful and peaceful and you'll want to come back. At least I hope you do.
Thwarted
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02/10/2018 05:18PM
Before I tell you why you should go, I would like to know your objection to camping. Maybe you shouldn't go but encourage your husband to find some friends to go with.
Nothing wrong with that. I find that my wife and I have many divergent interests that make our relationship richer. A vibrant marriage does not require every experience to be shared.
02/10/2018 05:32PM
Well, according to the (really good) advice you are getting from the guys on here, WE did it all wrong on our first trip. ;-) And if you read my report, I didn't like it at first. (I am secretly wishing my first trip had been more like Mrs. Jackfish's. LOL!) But I learned to love it. Because I was won over by the beauty of the place, and by the time alone with my husband. As the years went by, we got better gear (never used an outfitter), a lighter canoe, and we changed our style of tripping to suit our tastes as we matured. There is no one right or wrong way to do it.

I would encourage you to try it once. If you find it isn't your thing, then he can find another companion for subsequent trips. And if you happen to enjoy yourself, you'll be glad that you were open to the experience.
Huntindave
distinguished member (368)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/10/2018 05:43PM
mastertangler: "Well it's time to be a good trooper and good companion. You go because your husband wants you to go. So, get excited and "fake it till you make it".......you can actually decide that your going to have a good time, and presto, you do! "

Really? this is your response to the one and only question that was asked?

The posters ONLY question; " What I would like to know is what is the experience of going up there like? "

Any other comments would fall under unsolicited advice. Personally, if I was the original poster, I would be offended at some of the replies and comments.
Huntindave
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02/10/2018 05:56PM
Thwarted: "Before I tell you why you should go, I would like to know your objection to camping. Maybe you shouldn't go but encourage your husband to find some friends to go with.
Nothing wrong with that. I find that my wife and I have many divergent interests that make our relationship richer. A vibrant marriage does not require every experience to be shared."

The OP did not ask for you to tell her why she should go. She also did solicit advice on a vibrant marriage.
You might want to re-read her one and only question. It might be a difficult question to answer and everyone may have a different view point, but your response does not address her question.
LindenTree3
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02/10/2018 05:59PM
nooneuno: "It's sunshine and it's rain, part pleasure and part pain, it's a blank canvas where you paint your own journey on nature's terrain."

Deep and even poetic, Ilike it.
TomT
distinguished member(5260)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
02/10/2018 06:03PM
Huntindave: "
The posters ONLY question; " What I would like to know is what is the experience of going up there like? "

Any other comments would fall under unsolicited advice. Personally, if I was the original poster, I would be offended at some of the replies and comments."


I would hope she's not offended. Nobody was trying to be offensive that's for sure!
But you bring up a good point about her question. So, what's it like?

Freedom. Bugs, rain, hard work, unbelievable atmosphere, QUIET, Hot, cold, Windy, smelly, SCARY!, and amazing things you hear and see nowhere else (wolves, rutting moose, loons, beavers working to name a few)

One of the coolest things for me is getting the opportunity to unplug. I only have a small radio, no cell phone or kindle. It's just like the 1980's for me except the gear is nicer and lighter.

Wick
distinguished member (283)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/10/2018 06:19PM
Huntindave:
You might want to re-read her one and only question. It might be a difficult question to answer and everyone may have a different view point, but your response does not address her question."


Neither of your responses addressed anything the op asked. I suppose we could ask everyone to forward their response to you for approval before posting?

I have never been there guest paddler. My first trip is this year. I think you are doing it right by reading here,,but if you find nothing on the trip reports that interest you,,,,,

My wife sort of feels like you about it. She is going on this trip just to spend time with me and try it out. I am sure if she does not like it, the next trip will be me solo.



Huntindave
distinguished member (368)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/10/2018 06:40PM
Wick:
Neither of your responses addressed anything the op asked. I suppose we could ask everyone to forward their response to you for approval before posting.
"


Actually most of the replies were spot on. My first reaction when reading some of the other responses was that I should be writing an apology to the op for the unsolicited advice she was receiving. How would you feel if some one was telling YOUR wife to "fake it till you make it".
bapabear
distinguished member(3097)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/10/2018 06:55PM
Where's Kanoes when we need him? I'd love to hear his answer on this.

Actually the trip is only part of the experience, but it's the best part. The planning, preparation, gathering the group and all that needs doing with equipment is a lot of the fun to me also.

The trip...your first visit will impress on you the vastness of the wilderness, the size and depth of the lakes, the coldness of the water, the strength of the wind, the peacefulness of the calm, the beauty of a sunrise or sunset over a lake, the order and fun of setting up and running an orderly camp, the uniqueness of prepping and eating food that you've carried around with you or caught, the thrill of fishing a wonderful fishery such as this, the haunting beauty of the loon call or wail of a wolf, the thrill of spotting or coming up close to a moose, the historical significance of a rock painting and reverence it can bring you, the sense of accomplishment over any task out of the ordinary especially when the trip is over and you have the great memories.

I've missed a lot but take your trip and fill in your own thoughts.
GirlOnARock
member (45)member
 
02/10/2018 07:42PM
Spartan2: "There was a time in my life when I could have written the first sentence of your post. In fact, I am sure that I did utter it, if I didn't write it down. And my husband wore me down with his tales of the canoe country. He persuaded me to go.

That was 1971. I was in my mid-20's.

And after that trip, I was the one who was planning the next trip, and the next, and the next. We went to the BWCAW and Quetico (and a few other selected locations) on canoe trips for 42 years, not every single year, but as often as we possibly could. Our best trip lasted 22 days, in 1992. And when we had to quit canoe-tripping due to health issues a few years ago, we made the decision to still travel to the canoe country every summer and stay in a cabin so that we could take those day trips that andym points out are not nearly as satisfying.

It is hard for me to describe what the experience is like. It is a freedom unlike any other. A beautiful silence that is only punctuated by the sound of the white-throated sparrow, or the call of a solitary loon. The mist on a cold lake at early morning, and a campfire shared in the evening. The feeling of accomplishment when you complete a long, difficult portage and see that blue water stretch before you again. Times of solitude and companionship that cannot be matched. And sometimes, adversity and adventure to make a memory. And a story.

I made photo books and wrote in journals. But the best part is in my mind, in my memories. No one can ever take that away.

You have to try it to know if it is for you. It isn't for everyone. But I am thankful that I was open to persuasion back then. . .it changed my life and my marriage in ways I never would have imagined.

My First Trip Report

"


This is beautiful!! No words of mine can put into words what you just wrote!
02/10/2018 08:12PM
Considering paddling-

I don't know what the experience will be like for you; I'm sure it varies from person to person, as well as from time to time and from palace to place. Nooneuno said it succinctly, but well. It's life, boiled down to its essence.

I'm going to give you a link to a very well done video of a trip in Algonquin (similar to a trip in BW), which should give you a good perspective on what it's like.

Link It's about 30 minutes long, very well done (I believe he does video production for a living).

Here's another one of his, about 15 minutes longer. Link

It will help with your decision.
scramble4a5
distinguished member (464)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/10/2018 09:04PM
It's totally unplugged. It can be challenging or not, that's up to each person. It's peaceful. It's beautiful. Did I mention unplugged? That's really nice.
02/10/2018 09:55PM
In part it is what you make it. I think that this sort of trip is more dependant on the participant than many other trips.

It can be sunshine or rain, muddy, beautiful or buggy. You can get as much of a workout as you choose. Your attitude is the key to determine of the experience is great or horrible.

One thing it will be for sure is quiet. That is the part that for me I can't live without. I can sit for hours watching the wind on the trees or water, the waterfowl feeding, turtles laying eggs, a pine martin on the water's edge, a bear on a nearby island, or a fire.
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2187)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/11/2018 04:36AM
a bit of heaven for some; not-so-much for others. ya just got to have the enjoyment within you.
sidenote: I will never understand why fellow members feel the need to criticize other members post or responses. I believe everyone is trying to be helpful, at heart.


blutofish1
distinguished member(1806)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/11/2018 05:51AM
This is why the wife and I go. It's like a whole different world.
02/11/2018 05:56AM
In the words of Nat King Cole, "Unforgettable".

Didn't take my first trip until I was 56 years old. Feels like I wasted a lot of years.


missmolly
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02/11/2018 07:34AM
"What I would like to know is what is the experience of going up there like?"

Equipment is a big determiner of your experience. A light, Kevlar canoe, a watertight tent, tasty food, breathable rain gear, and water-wicking clothes all give you a measure of immunity to the trials of portages, rain, and cold. Also, paddle early before the wind builds, ask for help on planning your route and it will be given, and invest some time before you go in building muscle.

Do these things and you'll have a fine time most of the time. Don't do them and you might still have a fine time, but you'll be more dependent on luck.
02/11/2018 08:26AM
It can be uncomfortable due to weather, insects, exertion on the portages or not feeling fresh without a shower.
It can be fearful because of thunderstorms, paddling in high winds or a bear in camp.
It can be frustrating if you didn't bring the right gear, you aren't catching fish, you get lost, can't find a good campsite or you're craving food that couldn't be brought along.
You may feel exposed using an open air latrine. Lack of privacy, sun, wind, insects, and odors from other humans are unusual to us.
It can be awe inspiring and fascinating to see a sunrise, an animal, experience an absence of noise or an impossibly blue sky reflected in a lake.
You may feel a sense of accomplishment that you got through the above challenges.
You could feel serene, peaceful and full of joy that your husband is happy and proud that you agreed to go with him.
You may feel excitement and anticipation that the trip will end and you will have leverage to get your husband to do something you want to do like a couples retreat to a Spa to get facials and pedicures.
QueticoMike
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02/11/2018 08:39AM
This isn't what a whole trip is like, but I will share a full day with you........

Quetico Morning

Eyes open, awake refreshed
Cozy bag, necessary stretch

Abbreviated crawl, unzip egress
Head protrudes, feel no stress

Water view, heaven kissed
Spirits dancing, hazy mist

Air crisp, slight fog
Search timber, conifer log

Ignite flames, smoky pine
Water bucket, boiled mine

Expedite breakfast, wood char
Hot chocolate, granola bar

Forest luminous, sun ascension
Tepid welcome, warming retention

Gear gathered, poles ready
Depart landing, canoe steady

Locate reef, drop jig
Line tick, walleye pig

Pine aroma, luscious green
Clear lake, swig clean

Stomach growl, halftime warning
Contemplate lunch, goodbye morning


Quetico Afternoon

Glistening sun, fluffy cloud
Eagle perch, wolf howl

Pike splash, shirt soaked
Passing canoe, friendly folks

Paddle dip, destination camp
Numerous strokes, perspiration damp

Island ahead, short reach
Glide in, sandy beach

Exit canoe, grainy step
Decent stringer, fish prepped

Line strung, clothes hang
Heat oil, skillets clang

Fillets sizzle, golden hue
Stuffing side, lemonade too

Gather wood, organized pile
Canadian cuisine, replete smile

Hammock begs, rest required
Arise rejuvenated, oust tired

Wake partner, lengthy nap
Fishing destination, study map


Quetico Sunset

Paddle out, muscles loose
Hidden cove, grazing moose

Honey hole, waterfall thunder
Beavertail slap, otters blunder

Serene waters, lure cast
Surface offering, smallmouth blast

Arrive back, wilderness home
Dinner calls, squirrels roam

Granite lounge, facing west
Sip flask, sublime sunset

Loons echo, winds tire
Cool ambience, warming fire

Relaxing seat, dry boots
Faint sound, owl hoots

Hypnotizing flame, poker hold
Engaging conversation, stories told

Clear sky, milky way bright
Wavy green, northern light

Shooting star, incandescent stream
Sleep approaching, Quetico dream



mastertangler
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02/11/2018 09:03AM
Naturally I don't see an issue with a strongly worded suggestion that folk be less concerned with their personal happiness ("I'm not much for camping") and instead seek the happiness of others, especially in a marriage. The good thing about advice is that it's often free.......easily dismissed and certainly not a reason to be "offended". And just exactly what is so offensive about preferring others anyway?

I read between the posters lines and it seems the initial question is directed at wether or not she will be made happy. I stand by my original post........I believe that barring any physical inabilities, she should go if for no other reason that her husband wants her to go. And the "fake it till you make it" is deciding beforehand, regardless of circumstances, to have a positive attitude. If she decides to go, but grudgingly, then she shouldn't.

But there is two sides to every coin. I would not ask my wife on any sort of rigorous trip because I know she would probably not enjoy it. Her idea of camping is a 4 star hotel ;-) But having said that, if I asked her, she would go.

I practice what I preach......my wife wanted very much to go on a cruise to Mexico with the leadership of our church (she is the women's ministry leader). I honestly really didn't want to go but knew it was important to her.
Savage Voyageur
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02/11/2018 09:30AM
I think your question is more will you be happy on a canoe trip? Will you be bored out of your skull? Will you miss all of your electronic devices? Will you have to work too hard on this vacation? Right?

This is my take, my experiences, my opinion, yours will be different. I start my planning the week after I get back from the last trip. I spend hours getting my fishing tackle ready. I spend hours researching lakes to fish and explore. Months of planing, packing, and getting gear rounding up, going over routes, loading GPS coordinates, studying maps for routes and lake depths. To me this is part of the fun. My BWCA trip starts right after the last one ends.

BUT...if I had to I could pack in about an day and be just as prepared. You can contact an outfitter and pack your clothes and a toothbrush and let them do all the rest. You could let the Outfitter do all the work. For me planning is a huge part of my trip.

On the drive up there I’m really excited to start the trip. Some trips we get there late in the day and need to stay in a bunkhouse. At sunrise I’m ready to load my gear into a tow boat or start paddling. First day we tend to push bit farther and set up camp for a few days. There’s lots to do once we get to camp. Set up tents and tarp, gather wood, filter water, swim, fish, relax in a hammock with a book. I like to explore the woods or walk a portage trail. Pictures of Waterfalls, birds, scenery. Chopping wood, building a fire, watching the sun set or rise, stargazing, northern lights. The list on what to do seems endless.

There are no televisions, newspapers, internet, cell service up there to distract you. Nobody from the office to interrupt you. Because they can’t reach you. The most important thing to do up there is to leave behind your busy life and relax and enjoy yourself.

If you can disconnect from the hustle and bustle of life, be willing to work a bit, I know you will have a great time.

Look at the 7th forum down here that’s called trip reports. Read a few of these. Most will tell you what they did on a daily basis.
ozarkpaddler
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02/11/2018 02:55PM
Well, everyone is different. I cannot get past the line "I'm not much for camping." I'm not sure WHAT to tell you other than relay my own experiences with introducing new people to the BWCAW.

That said, I've taken about a dozen different people to the BWCAW. EVERY SINGLE PERSON fell in love with it and all but one returned within a year. some of the statements that are prevalent with the "Newbies" I've introduced is "I can't believe how peaceful it is," "It's like being in God's back yard," "This place is really God's country," etc. Everyone is "Moved" by the experience. BUT, these are all people whom enjoy the outdoors and camping. If you don't...... And if you're the type of person that needs to be connected to your phone, social media, etc, well, maybe it may not be your cup of tea?

TuscaroraBorealis
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02/11/2018 03:39PM
TomT
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02/11/2018 04:12PM
There's also a nice hybrid solution where you could park your vehicle and rent gear from a resort (with cabins) on a lake connected to the BW. Spend a few nights in the wilderness then come back and finish the vacation in a cabin. You then have time to check out the attractions in and around Ely.

We stayed here in 1999 and 2000. Nice spot 15 minutes from town. Timber Trail Resort

This would be an excellent introductory trip IMO. The best of both worlds.

mjmkjun
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02/12/2018 04:59AM
Yep, lots of hybrid alternatives. Hungry Jack Lodge and Campground is another option just off the Gunflint Trail (east end of BWCA). I stayed there a few years ago and on my way out I spotted a bobcat and a fox on that back road. Very nice lodge, cabins & bar with eats. A day trip to Rose Lake stairway is fun. I stayed in the campground with a travel trailer.
02/12/2018 07:49AM
I would tell you what I tell anyone that is considering going.

DO IT!

You may love it, you may not like it and decide to never go back...but you will never regret going. I’ve never been wrong on this. Even people that never went back or decided it wasn’t their thing, they still talk about the experience and look back fondly.


T
02/12/2018 07:53AM
There have been so many thoughtful and interesting replies to the question on this thread. I find myself wondering if "considering paddling" ever checked back and followed along, or if it was a question thrown out (as non-member posts often are) and never thought about again. Are you there, guest paddler?

I was particularly struck by Miss Molly's assertion that "equipment is a big determiner of your experience." This may be so, but I would also say that your partner, especially in a tandem trip, and even more importantly in a trip with a spouse, is the other big determiner. He wants you to go. He knows that camping isn't your "thing". Is he willing to make some concessions, to help you be successful in a wilderness camping experience? I'm not necessarily saying make it easy and comfortable for you--just be supportive and positive? Make it fun?

Many of the posters have pointed out the beauty and the joy of the canoe country, and many others have pointed out the challenges, the difficulties. There are both. But the attitude comes from you. And how your attitude develops, many times, is greatly affected by the person with whom you are traveling. Their attitude, their support, and their reaction to your highs and lows--that can make the difference between a few days of companionable silence and a few days of conflict. You know your relationship. That is the key to whether or not it will be a good experience.

That, and good rain gear. :-)

NoisyWetHermit
distinguished member (117)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/12/2018 08:28AM
The book "Campfires and Loon Calls: Travels in the Boundary Waters" by Jerry and Steve Apps has excellent descriptions of what it like in the Boundary Waters. Also, many tips for enjoying the BWCA.

TomT
distinguished member(5260)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
02/12/2018 08:36AM
Spartan2: "
Many of the posters have pointed out the beauty and the joy of the canoe country, and many others have pointed out the challenges, the difficulties. There are both. But the attitude comes from you. And how your attitude develops, many times, is greatly affected by the person with whom you are traveling. Their attitude, their support, and their reaction to your highs and lows--that can make the difference between a few days of companionable silence and a few days of conflict. You know your relationship. That is the key to whether or not it will be a good experience.
"


Very well put. Attitude is #1. It's pretty hard to keep a good camp vibe when there is someone you just know who doesn't want to be there. Or someone who obviously is not doing their share of the necessary work. Even a good attitude can compensate for leaky raingear. :)

The trick is to just be a hard worker when it calls for and then be able to laugh at yourself or the situation no matter how bad it gets. Just going in with gratitude of being able to be out there experiencing nature on her terms. Start the day being "thankful for this experience".



Bronco
member (36)member
 
02/12/2018 01:15PM
Its good for the soul...My wife and I love the boundary waters, She has her reasons I have mine. setting on a rock watching the sun rise or set has the worries of the real world fade from your mind is always worth the time spent for me. being unplugged from the fast world we live in is reason enough for me. Can it be hard yes, is hard always bad no! finishing off a tough portage is a win for me. Paddling on a crappy day and finding a decent camp site with a nice fire and a hot cup of Joe another win. And for the great weather and calm waters that time goes by to fast. So to answer your question I go to renew my soul. The beauty, The feel of a fish striking your lure, The group of scouts crossing the lake singing a camp song, The smell of a campfire, That first cup in the morning, The mist rising off the lake, The look in my wife's eyes that says she too needed her soul renewed That's why I go
ozarkpaddler
distinguished member(5483)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
02/12/2018 01:45PM
Bronco: "Its good for the soul...My wife and I love the boundary waters, She has her reasons I have mine. setting on a rock watching the sun rise or set has the worries of the real world fade from your mind is always worth the time spent for me. being unplugged from the fast world we live in is reason enough for me. Can it be hard yes, is hard always bad no! finishing off a tough portage is a win for me. Paddling on a crappy day and finding a decent camp site with a nice fire and a hot cup of Joe another win. And for the great weather and calm waters that time goes by to fast. So to answer your question I go to renew my soul. The beauty, The feel of a fish striking your lure, The group of scouts crossing the lake singing a camp song, The smell of a campfire, That first cup in the morning, The mist rising off the lake, The look in my wife's eyes that says she too needed her soul renewed That's why I go"

Another very well-put explanation!
NoisyWetHermit
distinguished member (117)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/12/2018 01:46PM
I love drinking a hot cup of instant coffee in the BW.
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1127)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/12/2018 01:54PM
It's like camping in a huge state park without people, picnic tables, water, electricity, roads, toilets, showers, or your vehicle. My wife doesn't like camping and I would never take her along on one of my BWCA adventures because she would be miserable. Roughing it to her is a large RV and I have only got her to do that once. She has slept in a tent once (one night) as well. It's just not her thing and I'm okay with that. Everything that I mentioned above that you won't find is what she would want. She does enjoy the north shore, Grand Marais, lake cabins, resorts, and the Gunflint Trail area. She has been in a canoe a couple of times and enjoys that part of it, she just HATES bugs, sleeping in a tent, not having a bathroom, and wet feet.

I like the idea of a hybrid trip. There are many resorts on the Gunflint Trail that offer nice accommodations and equipment rental. Perhaps stay in a cabin for several nights or even a week and rent a canoe. Get up in the morning take a nice hot shower, eat breakfast, pack a lunch and snacks and head out for the day. Come back late afternoon, take nap, clean up and either grab dinner on the Gunflint, at your cabin, or head into Grand Marais.

One thing that I have learned as I will never change my wife's opinion, and if I ever convinced her to take a BWCA tripping/camping trip I would never get her to go on a vacation with me again. Try a hybrid trip, it's a good compromise for both of you. Then allow your husband to take an annual trip to the BWCA with friends or family if it's something that he enjoys, and then take an annual trip doing something that you want to do.
jwartman59
distinguished member(3078)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/12/2018 04:12PM
Words can’t describe it. Photos just give a glimpse. The songs of the loons and wolves will stay with you forever.



tobywan
senior member (57)senior membersenior member
 
02/12/2018 10:19PM
I talked my two sisters into joining our brother and myself on our family vacation 5 years ago to the boundary waters. They were both in their mind fifties. There were certain things that I decided to pack in to insure some comfort for them. They were a good camp chair, It is worth it when lounging in camp. A hammock for reading while in camp and a full size thick sleeping pad for protection from that pesky rock. They both were terrified of the unknown and both confessed after three days on how happy they did it. You will be amazed on how you will acclimate to the wilderness. It is almost as if it is in our DNA to become part of it. This year will mark our 4th trip if everything aligns. So I say go for it.
tobywan
senior member (57)senior membersenior member
 
02/12/2018 10:45PM
QueticoMike: "This isn't what a whole trip is like, but I will share a full day with you........


Quetico Morning


Eyes open, awake refreshed
Cozy bag, necessary stretch

Abbreviated crawl, unzip egress
Head protrudes, feel no stress


Water view, heaven kissed
Spirits dancing, hazy mist


Air crisp, slight fog
Search timber, conifer log


Ignite flames, smoky pine
Water bucket, boiled mine


Expedite breakfast, wood char
Hot chocolate, granola bar


Forest luminous, sun ascension
Tepid welcome, warming retention


Gear gathered, poles ready
Depart landing, canoe steady


Locate reef, drop jig
Line tick, walleye pig


Pine aroma, luscious green
Clear lake, swig clean


Stomach growl, halftime warning
Contemplate lunch, goodbye morning



Quetico Afternoon


Glistening sun, fluffy cloud
Eagle perch, wolf howl


Pike splash, shirt soaked
Passing canoe, friendly folks


Paddle dip, destination camp
Numerous strokes, perspiration damp


Island ahead, short reach
Glide in, sandy beach


Exit canoe, grainy step
Decent stringer, fish prepped


Line strung, clothes hang
Heat oil, skillets clang


Fillets sizzle, golden hue
Stuffing side, lemonade too


Gather wood, organized pile
Canadian cuisine, replete smile


Hammock begs, rest required
Arise rejuvenated, oust tired


Wake partner, lengthy nap
Fishing destination, study map



Quetico Sunset


Paddle out, muscles loose
Hidden cove, grazing moose


Honey hole, waterfall thunder
Beavertail slap, otters blunder


Serene waters, lure cast
Surface offering, smallmouth blast


Arrive back, wilderness home
Dinner calls, squirrels roam


Granite lounge, facing west
Sip flask, sublime sunset


Loons echo, winds tire
Cool ambience, warming fire


Relaxing seat, dry boots
Faint sound, owl hoots


Hypnotizing flame, poker hold
Engaging conversation, stories told


Clear sky, milky way bright
Wavy green, northern light


Shooting star, incandescent stream
Sleep approaching, Quetico dream



"


Perfect. Enough said. Mind if I share?
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2187)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/13/2018 07:05AM
jwartman59: "Words can’t describe it. Photos just give a glimpse. The songs of the loons and wolves will stay with you forever.



"

Have always admired that photo. The color of the canoe MAYBE?
QueticoMike
distinguished member(4782)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
02/13/2018 08:19AM
tobywan: "QueticoMike: "This isn't what a whole trip is like, but I will share a full day with you........



Quetico Morning



Eyes open, awake refreshed
Cozy bag, necessary stretch

Abbreviated crawl, unzip egress
Head protrudes, feel no stress



Water view, heaven kissed
Spirits dancing, hazy mist



Air crisp, slight fog
Search timber, conifer log



Ignite flames, smoky pine
Water bucket, boiled mine



Expedite breakfast, wood char
Hot chocolate, granola bar



Forest luminous, sun ascension
Tepid welcome, warming retention



Gear gathered, poles ready
Depart landing, canoe steady



Locate reef, drop jig
Line tick, walleye pig



Pine aroma, luscious green
Clear lake, swig clean



Stomach growl, halftime warning
Contemplate lunch, goodbye morning



Quetico Afternoon



Glistening sun, fluffy cloud
Eagle perch, wolf howl



Pike splash, shirt soaked
Passing canoe, friendly folks



Paddle dip, destination camp
Numerous strokes, perspiration damp



Island ahead, short reach
Glide in, sandy beach



Exit canoe, grainy step
Decent stringer, fish prepped



Line strung, clothes hang
Heat oil, skillets clang



Fillets sizzle, golden hue
Stuffing side, lemonade too



Gather wood, organized pile
Canadian cuisine, replete smile



Hammock begs, rest required
Arise rejuvenated, oust tired



Wake partner, lengthy nap
Fishing destination, study map



Quetico Sunset



Paddle out, muscles loose
Hidden cove, grazing moose



Honey hole, waterfall thunder
Beavertail slap, otters blunder



Serene waters, lure cast
Surface offering, smallmouth blast



Arrive back, wilderness home
Dinner calls, squirrels roam



Granite lounge, facing west
Sip flask, sublime sunset



Loons echo, winds tire
Cool ambience, warming fire



Relaxing seat, dry boots
Faint sound, owl hoots



Hypnotizing flame, poker hold
Engaging conversation, stories told



Clear sky, milky way bright
Wavy green, northern light



Shooting star, incandescent stream
Sleep approaching, Quetico dream




"



Perfect. Enough said. Mind if I share?"


Feel free to do so...........
missmolly
distinguished member(8859)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
02/13/2018 09:24AM
mjmkjun: "jwartman59: "Words can’t describe it. Photos just give a glimpse. The songs of the loons and wolves will stay with you forever.




"

Have always admired that photo. The color of the canoe MAYBE?
"


Compositionally, it pops because its primary colors are orange, red, blue, and green. Green and red are opposite each other on the color wheel, so one accentuates the other, and the same with orange and blue. If you look closely, you'll see orange in the canoe, rocks, and even water. Gauguin used such popping.



nicek
distinguished member(720)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/13/2018 10:01AM
It is unlike any other nature experience you ever had.
Just go for it and thank us later.
Have an enriching experience.
GoSpursGo
distinguished member (291)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/13/2018 10:21AM
You could listen to the Field & Stream adventure series podcast about their trip to Quetico - whole thing is like 90 minutes and its a really good look into what a trip up there is like.

02/13/2018 02:07PM
Spartan2: "There have been so many thoughtful and interesting replies to the question on this thread. I find myself wondering if "considering paddling" ever checked back and followed along, or if it was a question thrown out (as non-member posts often are) and never thought about again. Are you there, guest paddler?
"


I suspect considering paddling is long gone and never to be heard from again.
02/13/2018 02:11PM
Agreed. This thread appears to be members talking with members. But I suppose that isn't all bad, either. ;-)
TomT
distinguished member(5260)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
02/13/2018 03:46PM
Spartan2: "Agreed. This thread appears to be members talking with members. But I suppose that isn't all bad, either. ;-)"

Yes, winter facilitates such chatter.
jwartman59
distinguished member(3078)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/13/2018 04:00PM
mjmkjun: "jwartman59: "Words can’t describe it. Photos just give a glimpse. The songs of the loons and wolves will stay with you forever.




"

Have always admired that photo. The color of the canoe MAYBE?
"


I agree, The photo looks over saturated, I try to not do that. It was midday sun, really clear day, not the best for photos. As for the canoe color...






Ripped the canvas off. That was my first canoe rebuild. Now to figure out what was going on under the canvas. Once tempts get back into the fourties I’ll go back to work on it.
02/13/2018 05:43PM
Spartan2: "Agreed. This thread appears to be members talking with members. But I suppose that isn't all bad, either. ;-)"
It’s great to hear each other reaffirm how much we like the wilderness canoe experience.
analyzer
distinguished member(1645)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/13/2018 06:52PM
Spartan2: "There was a time in my life when I could have written the first sentence of your post. In fact, I am sure that I did utter it, if I didn't write it down. And my husband wore me down with his tales of the canoe country. He persuaded me to go.

That was 1971. I was in my mid-20's.

And after that trip, I was the one who was planning the next trip, and the next, and the next. We went to the BWCAW and Quetico (and a few other selected locations) on canoe trips for 42 years, not every single year, but as often as we possibly could. Our best trip lasted 22 days, in 1992. And when we had to quit canoe-tripping due to health issues a few years ago, we made the decision to still travel to the canoe country every summer and stay in a cabin so that we could take those day trips that andym points out are not nearly as satisfying.

It is hard for me to describe what the experience is like. It is a freedom unlike any other. A beautiful silence that is only punctuated by the sound of the white-throated sparrow, or the call of a solitary loon. The mist on a cold lake at early morning, and a campfire shared in the evening. The feeling of accomplishment when you complete a long, difficult portage and see that blue water stretch before you again. Times of solitude and companionship that cannot be matched. And sometimes, adversity and adventure to make a memory. And a story.

I made photo books and wrote in journals. But the best part is in my mind, in my memories. No one can ever take that away.

You have to try it to know if it is for you. It isn't for everyone. But I am thankful that I was open to persuasion back then. . .it changed my life and my marriage in ways I never would have imagined.

My First Trip Report

"


I have not been on here in quite a while. I'm not sure why. But after reading this quote, and tearing up.... I know why I came back. I love this.
02/13/2018 08:27PM
Welcome back, analyzer.
02/13/2018 08:41PM
Spartan2: "Welcome back, analyzer."

+1, good to see your name again.
analyzer
distinguished member(1645)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/22/2018 10:10PM
boonie: "Spartan2: "Welcome back, analyzer."


+1, good to see your name again."


ah, thank you both.
02/23/2018 08:13PM
analyzer: "boonie: "Spartan2: "Welcome back, analyzer."



+1, good to see your name again."



ah, thank you both. "


I agree with boonie and Spartan2............ now hurry up and analyze something for us ;)
RetiredDave
distinguished member (225)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/24/2018 06:18PM
Here's the thing for me. The Boundary Waters and Quetico are sensory experiences. Touch (soft moss and decay on the portage), taste (nowhere on Earth does instant coffee taste better!), sounds (oh, the loons!), smells (the breath coming off a northwoods forest is intoxicating), sights (the wolf that exits the forest and walks along the lake for 50 meters before entering the woods again will caste a spell of ancient wonder).

Humans evolved for millions of years in wilderness, the noise and confusion of modern life is a recent intrusion. I go to wake up my ancient DNA.

Try it at least once!

Dave
JJ505
member (13)member
 
02/24/2018 08:00PM
Members talking to other members? Maybe (I did join), but I am really loving this thread. Checked out a video or two suggested. But I already have an adventure planned for *this* year.
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2187)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/25/2018 06:03AM
This does it for me! "...sounds (oh, the loons!), smells (the breath coming off a northwoods forest is intoxicating)" Well stated, RetiredDave.
02/25/2018 06:12AM
RetiredDave: "Here's the thing for me. The Boundary Waters and Quetico are sensory experiences. Touch (soft moss and decay on the portage), taste (nowhere on Earth does instant coffee taste better!), sounds (oh, the loons!), smells (the breath coming off a northwoods forest is intoxicating), sights (the wolf that exits the forest and walks along the lake for 50 meters before entering the woods again will caste a spell of ancient wonder).


Humans evolved for millions of years in wilderness, the noise and confusion of modern life is a recent intrusion. I go to wake up my ancient DNA.


Try it at least once!


Dave
"



I live on a lake in northern Minnesota. I hear loons at home, I have camefires at home, heck... I touch moss and stuff at home. But whether the boundary Waters, woodland caribou, quetico... There is something that pulls all that stuff together even more. I don't have the answer on that but it does. I don't need an answer, I just know it works for me.
 
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