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01/14/2020 08:28PM
I have been going “up north” since the late '60s. I was fortunate enough to experience canoe country at a early age and have been able to go up at least a couple times a year since. Through the years, I have noticed many changes in my tripping style, my priorities on trips, etc., etc.

My question to all of the older experienced trippers is this. “What is one word of advice that you would give to a younger person who is just starting out or who has very little experience?“

I guess my advice would be to slow down and take in all the beauty and splendor around them.
 
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missmolly
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01/14/2020 09:33PM
"Stop and smell the pines" is a good one.

I can't choose between "Rain, Schmain" and "Bugs, Schmugs."
 
goatroti
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01/14/2020 10:08PM
Go with other people. Take lots of pictures of them. Scenery is forever, memories fade.
 
jillpine
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01/14/2020 10:34PM
Boonie's wisdom was pretty menschie: "Don't just do something, sit there".

 
airmorse
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01/15/2020 12:34AM
Keep a journal. Memories fade over time. I wish I had kept one.
 
Duckman
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01/15/2020 08:44AM
Don't forget that the travel is part of the trip. I more or less lose a day or two from my trip by being so focused on getting in and later getting out.

Have to get from point A to point B ASAP, etc.
 
AmarilloJim
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01/15/2020 09:04AM
Good tested raingear
 
BobDobbs
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01/15/2020 09:08AM
your most important piece of gear is the one you carry between your ears.
 
alpinebrule
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01/15/2020 09:12AM
Leave electronics, including watches behind. It won't be fatal.
Communicators for safety exempted, phones won't work.
 
user0317
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01/15/2020 09:19AM
Listen to your trip partners and try to understand their perspective.
 
01/15/2020 09:28AM
Plan on coming back, and continue even when you become an old voyager. Having something to look forward to is an important piece of living.
So get good gear and take good care of it.
 
Jackfish
Moderator
 
01/15/2020 09:45AM
Trip goals can change as we get older. When we're younger, it's easy to have a goal of putting on miles and seeing as many lakes as possible. As we get older, goals tend to become less of putting on miles and more of slowing down and soaking it all in.

I also liked bhouse's comment ^^^above^^^ about having something to look forward to. We take a canoe trip that lasts one week and spend the other 51 weeks dreaming, planning and preparing.
 
Kawishiwashy
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01/15/2020 10:10AM
Just how wood can warm you three times (gathering, cutting/splitting, burning), trips can bring three times the joy (planning, tripping, post trip gathering). For most of us, time off is a premium, make the most of it. Embrace the planning, it can help pass the dog days of winter. Enjoy the trip for all its uncontrollable variables. Finally, get together after to share stories, pictures, suggestions and start planning next trip...repeat often.
 
Soledad
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01/15/2020 10:19AM
airmorse: "Keep a journal. Memories fade over time. I wish I had kept one."
Yup, I always enjoy looking back at trip reports on this site.
 
MikeinMpls
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01/15/2020 10:24AM
Bring a map and compass, and know how to use them both.

Mike
 
A1t2o
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01/15/2020 11:23AM
I'm not old but to people just starting off I would tell them to get used to getting over it. This portage sucks? Get over it and keep moving. Don't like the rain? Get over it and focus more on something productive, like paddling, gathering firewood or even find an activity for entertainment. The bugs are bad? Don't whine about it, find a solution.

So much of the boundary waters experience is about the mindset of getting out and enjoying the wilderness. The wilderness IS hardship, so you embrace it and prove that it isn't enough to slow you down. Hard work builds character.
 
allfish
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01/15/2020 12:24PM
Just go...
 
Savage Voyageur
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01/15/2020 12:49PM
One thing I would like to pass on to younger Voyageurs would be to plan your trips in January. Work out your route, group members, entry point, outfitter, and every other detail early in the year. Lots of things to do so plan early.

Another is your group will only move as fast as your slowest person. Don’t rush and enjoy your trip. Have a layover day or two. Don’t make your trip a death march, people won’t want to come back if you push them from sun up to sun down.

Start a paper journal and record a page or two a day. Fun to read in future years. Take lots of pictures to fill in the gaps of your memories.
 
bwcadan
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01/15/2020 12:51PM
If you are just getting started, add a couple of pieces of gear each year. Birthdays and Christmas worked well for me. Add the more expensive items like a used or new canoe and a quality tent in the beginning. With time, you will begin to save quite a bit of money which can be channelled toward another trip this year. If cash is a real problem, you can save money which should be put away in a piggy bank. Skipped the vending machine today? $2.00 to that bank. Did not order that drink with your meal or a drink at the bar? To the bank. Eat out less? Money to the bank. You see how it works and the cash adds up. My wife and I do this concept to save up for cruises. Catch a good deal and pay cash when the bill comes due. I would say this method has added around 100 nights at sea.

You may need to prioritize where you want to go and plan to get there by saving money somewhere else. If cash is not an issue, buy all the quality gear you could possibly need and just plan your schedule to make as many trips as you can.
 
CampSR
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01/15/2020 02:22PM
Kawishiwashy: "Just how wood can warm you three times (gathering, cutting/splitting, burning), trips can bring three times the joy (planning, tripping, post trip gathering). For most of us, time off is a premium, make the most of it. Embrace the planning, it can help pass the dog days of winter. Enjoy the trip for all its uncontrollable variables. Finally, get together after to share stories, pictures, suggestions and start planning next trip...repeat often."

+1 Couldn't agree more, we do this and it makes that one week in the summer more of a year round trip. We are always discussing, planning, improving.
 
moosedoggie
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01/15/2020 02:31PM
Soak it all in!

You can plan but you really don't know when you'll back.
 
MHS67
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01/15/2020 02:34PM
MikeinMpls: "Bring a map and compass, and know how to use them both.


Mike"

This would be my advice also. Make sure you always know where you are on the map. The 5 star campsite you want to wind up at isn't much good if you can't find it. Be familiar with reading topography. A portage trail usually will go through a saddle in the hills. Know how to look for that on the map and be able to pick it out by sight.
 
inspector13
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01/15/2020 03:15PM

Get as close to your burden as possible. Try to keep your elbows and arms close to your body. Keep your back straight during the lift by tightening the stomach muscles, bending at the knees, keeping it close and centered in front of you, and looking up and ahead. Get a good handhold and do not twist while lifting. Do not jerk; use a smooth motion while lifting. If you think your burden is too heavy to allow this, get used to it. Next season be a mangeur de lard...

 
Pilgrimpaddler
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01/15/2020 04:04PM
Try your best to enjoy your trip mates and to ignore the things they do that you might find irritating - the day may come when you'd give anything for just one more trip with them.
 
Grandma L
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01/15/2020 05:22PM
airmorse: "Keep a journal. Memories fade over time. I wish I had kept one."
1. Take your time - see it all.
2. Take lots of pictures - they will last a life time and more.
3. Keep a journal!!! - this one is really important especially as the years go past so fast and the memory starts to fade.
4. Trip with good people - anyone can learn to paddle and camp - people are what makes it all special, at least for me!

After reading this post, I went in the den and got out some old journals. What wonderful memories came to life of trips and friends in the early 1980's.
 
01/15/2020 06:30PM
Figure out how far you want to travel every day and then cut it in half. You probably won't get as far as you think you can.
 
RetiredDave
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01/15/2020 06:54PM
I would try to instill a feeling of wonder about wilderness, how rare it is on our tiny planet, and how it is so worth it to work hard, slap mosquitoes, and carry burdens to get there.

The call of a loon has eased many a back ache.

Dave
 
SaganagaJoe
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01/15/2020 07:01PM
I’m listening!
 
OldTripper
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01/15/2020 09:31PM
Many, many good pieces of advice here.
As I pondered my thoughts, two tidbits came to mind and they have already been mentioned.
#1 - Embrace the suck! (similar to A1t2o's advice)
Over the years I've introduced the BW to about 8 or so people. One common thread with most of them (not all) was the trip as a whole was harder than they anticipated, in spite of my warnings. Days were longer, it rained more than they expected, too hot, too cold, too windy, too many bugs, gathering wood sucked... The list goes on. My advice to those who are new to this game is: take it as it comes and try to get the most out of your experience.

#2 - Stop and smell the roses.
Most of my early trips were solo trips and all of them focused on making distance each day. I made several trips past Isle of Pines before I finally stopped to visit Dorothy. And I'm glad I did as she passed away a couple months after I met her. I've been past Eddy Falls several times and have yet to see them. It was always, "Put your chin on your chest and a bow in your paddle!"
Since I'm older now with the usual aches and pains I have slowed considerably. Now I'm more about living in the moment and taking it all in. I still want to have a full schedule, just a more relaxed pace.

Nice thread.
 
1JimD
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01/15/2020 10:36PM
I cherish the pics I've taken ! How great it is to retell the stories !

Take an Old Voyager with you !

Filter or boil your drinking water !

Jim
 
Blatz
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01/15/2020 10:47PM
Do your own trip, not someone else's version of a trip. For me traveling is the trip
 
01/16/2020 07:11AM
Don't sweat the small stuff.
 
soundguy0918
member (46)member
 
01/16/2020 09:45AM
Take the best camera you can afford to lose and take lots of photos...not just of scenery but people, campsites, fully laden canoes, portages, wildlife, campfires, camp kitchens, plated meals (so you can remember how good what you ate looked like!)... My first trip I took a disposable 35mm and maybe got 5 decent shots. Most recent trip I took a DSLR and a point'n'shoot and used them both often.
 
Canoearoo
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01/16/2020 11:18AM
Wear sunscreen and prevent skin cancer.. even cover up. Wear long sleeve swim shirts and hats. Wear your life-jacket, I know you can swim but the wilderness is not forgiving. If you can, get first aid training, or even wilderness first aid. You don't want some small preventable mistake in your 20s affecting your entire life in your 60s and 70s+. (This was the advice my dad gave me)
 
01/16/2020 04:14PM
Grandma L: "airmorse: "Keep a journal. Memories fade over time. I wish I had kept one."
1. Take your time - see it all.
2. Take lots of pictures - they will last a life time and more.
3. Keep a journal!!! - this one is really important especially as the years go past so fast and the memory starts to fade.
4. Trip with good people - anyone can learn to paddle and camp - people are what makes it all special, at least for me!


After reading this post, I went in the den and got out some old journals. What wonderful memories came to life of trips and friends in the early 1980's. "


This is probably along the lines of what I would have said. We have photo albums, and then later on I made a more easily stored kind of book on Snapfish. There is one book for almost every trip we made, at least after the late 80's.

The memories are the only part you can really keep. And memories of days in the BWCA/Q are priceless.
 
01/16/2020 05:39PM
Lots of great advice here!
I will echo the importance of journaling... it's amazing how many times I've gone back to my trip reports for reference.

Also, I wish I had taken more 'people pictures' in my early years... in many ways those are the most interesting.

Another thing I wish we had done in the very early years was to go through an outfitter. It took us many trips to get the gear figured out. We would have been able to see what the best practices were for gear right away.

For my groups, double portaging works well... gives us the chance to walk the portage trail unloaded. Amazing how much there is to see!

I'll underscore what Canoearoo said... sunsceen and covering skin is really important. I'm the guy in his 60s dealing with the results of not doing that!

 
OCDave
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01/16/2020 08:18PM
Get out there! Go now. Go sooner and go later. Whatever you may be waiting for, make do without.

Eventually, life will provide obstacles that will make it more difficult to adventure. Do not interpret those obstacles as barriers nor, difficult as impossible. Squeeze adventure into those little spaces that life allows.

Replace all the shoulda, woulda and couldas with Shall, Will and Cans.
 
lindylair
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01/16/2020 08:31PM
Expectations...when bringing new folks up there I think it is really important that they know what to expect, both good and not so good. If they go expecting warm sunny days on glass calm lakes where the fish jump into the canoe and the portages are all flat gravel paths it is possible they could be disillusioned. Knowing that wind, cold, rain, poor fishing, bugs, mud, rocks, hills and fires that don't start easily could be something they encounter will give them a more realistic idea of what to expect. To some extent many of us measure our trips against our expectations and I think that is particularly true of new visitors. Up there it's not hard to exceed expectations just because of the nature of the place but any and/or all all of the above can be part of a trip, more so in some cases in shoulder seasons. If they go into it knowing what could go wrong, or be a challenge, they are more likely to rise above it and enjoy the experience.

When I brought newbies up I always made sure they understood what the challenges were and what could go wrong, to expect the possibility of some discomfort at times, but that it was all part of the experience. Its not Disneyland and if people understand the things that could be challenges they are much more likely to roll with it and come out with a great experience and a passion for the area.
 
01/16/2020 08:48PM
I agree with those who recommended keeping a trip journal. Many of my trips are two weeks or more and I have found I don’t always recall trip details, locations, etc without having a journal to refer to. It also helps bring back many memories.
 
01/16/2020 08:59PM
"Watch out where the huskies go,
and don't you eat that yellow snow"

Ooopppss, that's Eskimo advise!

butthead
 
srust58
member (34)member
 
01/16/2020 09:06PM


Don't believe the horror stories people tell you.
 
GraniteCliffs
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01/16/2020 11:25PM
Bring less stuff.
Bring more good attitude.
Drink it all in.
Share it with others.
Cherish each and every day in the woods and on the water.
 
01/17/2020 07:25AM
Have fun!

I don’t know...I have a different take, pack in all the miles and see everything you can now until ya can’t...when you are young you don’t care what the roses smell like, you want to know if there is a different rose around the corner...

That’s okay don’t let us old slow guys tell ya different. Do your trip the way you want to, you’ll figure out what ya like and someday you will slow down and “smell the roses” or maybe not...if you are having fun who cares.

T
 
Blatz
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01/17/2020 08:02AM
timatkn: "Have fun!


I don’t know...I have a different take, pack in all the miles and see everything you can now until ya can’t...when you are young you don’t care what the roses smell like, you want to know if there is a different rose around the corner...


That’s okay don’t let us old slow guys tell ya different. Do your trip the way you want to, you’ll figure out what ya like and someday you will slow down and “smell the roses” or maybe not...if you are having fun who cares.


T"

Well said, That's what I was referring to
 
goatroti
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01/17/2020 08:12AM
The last couple of posts remind me of people who comment on recipe sites. "I tried your recipe and loved it... but in my version I changed three ingredients and made it so much better."
 
user0317
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01/17/2020 09:14AM
goatroti: "The last couple of posts remind me of people who comment on recipe sites. "I tried your recipe and loved it... but in my version I changed three ingredients and made it so much better." "

Expletive deleted... I think I recommended adding exactly 3 ingredients to some curry dish that you posted about.
 
Blatz
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01/17/2020 10:10AM
goatroti: "The last couple of posts remind me of people who comment on recipe sites. "I tried your recipe and loved it... but in my version I changed three ingredients and made it so much better." "
Not sure I follow you. Maybe you can explain in a less culinary version
 
gymcoachdon
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01/17/2020 12:42PM
If you are not flying to the area, buy a canoe. Then buy a portage pack and tarp. I am assuming most have some camping gear, so then update each piece as you can to fit your style that will develop.
I rented everything for my first trip, and now, as I plan for my 6th, my costs, minus food that I would eat anyway, are estimated to be around $450 for a 2 week trip. That includes gas to drive 2000 miles round trip.
As far as tripping, I have done back to back 25 mile days to get to a destination, then spent 3 days in the same spot. Great trip! I have been flown in deep, and paddled out in 8 days, moving every day to get back in time. Great trip! I have done trips with 8 days and 4 sites. Great trip!
This year I want to just explore and not have an itinerary, and I am sure it will be a great trip.
My point in the above is that I am still trying to figure out what tripping style I like, and am enjoying the process.
Embrace the suck!
Bugs, weather, mucky, rocky portages, being outside without common niceties we have at home are all challenges to be met.
The challenge is one of the reasons I go. On this forum we all rise to the challenge, but 90%, or more, of the people will never do what we do. There is something special about doing things that most will not.
 
goatroti
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01/17/2020 10:19PM
Blatz: "goatroti: "The last couple of posts remind me of people who comment on recipe sites. "I tried your recipe and loved it... but in my version I changed three ingredients and made it so much better." "
Not sure I follow you. Maybe you can explain in a less culinary version"


Well the assignment asks to give a word of advice to a younger tripper, and the post basically says don't listen to us old guys. isn't that another thread just like yours would be a different recipe?
 
srust58
member (34)member
 
01/17/2020 10:22PM
I think one thing to keep in mind is how much young people "enjoy" unsolicited advice from their elders on what to do and how they should do it.
It's best to avoid the dreaded "OK Boomer"

My girlfriend and I went on our first trip when we were 19-20 and our camping experience had been several weekends of car camping. I had a sailboat as a kid so my canoe experience was zero. We spent a week doing a nice loop starting in Clearwater and ending in East Bearskin. We figured it all out on our own and had a great time.

My wife is a private tutor and one of her students decided that he and a friend were going to take a BWCA trip. They were 17 years old with camping experience. They knew I had the equipment so asked to borrow a canoe and various gear. I lent them the old fiberglass Sawyer as I was not about to hand out my ultralight Wenonah. I resisted the urge to jump in on the planning other than showing several different route ideas. I think my only advice was how to strap the canoe down to keep the straps from vibrating, how my pulley and rope system worked for hanging the pack, and the several different ways my camp tarp could be hung.
They have done a few trips now and I even lent them my Weonah the last time.





 
goatroti
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01/17/2020 10:23PM
user0317: "goatroti: "The last couple of posts remind me of people who comment on recipe sites. "I tried your recipe and loved it... but in my version I changed three ingredients and made it so much better." "


Expletive deleted... I think I recommended adding exactly 3 ingredients to some curry dish that you posted about."


And how was it?
 
Blatz
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01/17/2020 10:41PM
goatroti: "Blatz: "goatroti: "The last couple of posts remind me of people who comment on recipe sites. "I tried your recipe and loved it... but in my version I changed three ingredients and made it so much better." "
Not sure I follow you. Maybe you can explain in a less culinary version"



Well the assignment asks to give a word of advice to a younger tripper, and the post basically says don't listen to us old guys. isn't that another thread just like yours would be a different recipe?"

Well I'll be 61 in May. Not sure if that qualifies as old. But this is what I posted "Do your own trip, not someone else's version of a trip. For me traveling is the trip" That's advise form an "older person" to a younger person. It's essentially in line with with timatkn post so I agreed with it. I think you totally missed the point of both of our posts. Traveling fast and getting miles in is one way people prefer to travel the BW. I know that's blasphemy for many but it is a way to travel. It's not implying to not listen to old guys. Just another perspective.
 
PVnRT
member (19)member
 
01/17/2020 11:28PM
"Leopards break into the temple and drink to the dregs what is in the
sacrificial pitchers; this is repeated over and over again; finally it can be
calculated in advance, and it becomes a part of the ceremony."--Kafka

Make it a great trip...or not (The choice is yours.)

 
mgraber
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01/18/2020 03:47PM
1.Realize how very fortunate you are to be able to do what you're doing , many are not so fortunate, and you will not always be that fortunate.
2. Be sure to stop and smell the roses.
3. The only really long lasting memories are made in the hard times and the really great times. Everything in between will kind of blur together, so embrace the bad and rejoice in the good, the contrast is necessary. Make as many memories as you can, one day that is all you will have, and that day is closer than you think.
4.Good fitness, good equipment, knowledge, and common sense will make things so much more enjoyable.
5. Join BWCA.com:)
 
joewildlife
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01/18/2020 04:57PM
#3 above is an awesome and very true observation, I've never thought about it, but it is very true!

My 1 piece of advice is to document the trip. I do it with brief entries into a notebook and lots of pictures.

Take lots of pictures. Take one of every fish if you can. Take several of every campsite.
It is a great way to remember how good, or bad, the fishing was that day/that lake.

Additional advice: Get good gear if you can afford it. Especially what you need to get a good night's sleep. A good inflatable pad and a pillow or some type is in order. There is the saying that there is no bad weather, only bad gear. There is a lot of truth to that.

Bring a heart of adventure to it. Attitude means everything. Last spring we did a trip to Woodland Caribou that had some very, very challenging portages through burned areas, so there was lots of blowdown and some areas were both barely ever used and scorched to the point you could barely follow a portage. We made the detective work fun! and then we enjoyed building/rebuilding rock cairns through the scorched areas, leaving the portage better for the travelers to follow.
I enjoy reading campsite ratings on another paddler site. So I try to take notes and provide my own comments. This is especially important where very few campsites exist in WCPP due to the burns.

Joe

 
nooneuno
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01/18/2020 05:16PM
angst.
anxiety.
concern.
despair.
dismay.
doubt.
dread.
Draw, Reach, Pull
It all fades away with the first stroke of the paddle....
 
merlyn
senior member (59)senior membersenior member
 
01/19/2020 04:25PM
Patrick F. McManus has written several books about the outdoors. I would suggest newbies take along a copy of "They shoot canoes don't they? " and "A fine and pleasant misery" No matter what happens good or bad a couple of pages will have you laughing out loud.
 
waterdog
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01/20/2020 01:28AM
Take care of the wilderness that still remains.
 
movington
senior member (95)senior membersenior member
 
01/27/2020 09:19AM
I would tell them.....There's easy fun and hard fun. Easy fun is something that is fun in the moment, but it didn't take much effort, like a roller coaster ride. But the memory of that doesn't last very long. Hard fun is when you don't realize that you are even having fun because you are working so hard in that moment. Like doing a difficult portage, up to your knees in mud, covered with mosquitoes. Paddling in the rain. Getting lost. But later, those are the moments you will remember and realize how much fun it actually was.
 
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