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      More of a love story than a trip report.....     

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jtcarn1
member (6)member
 
06/03/2020 12:57AM  
Boujie meets BWCA

Took a last minute getaway trip the week of Memorial Day. My son didn't want to go, so I jokingly asked my "All-Inclusive-Beach-Resort" girlfriend to go with me. She said "sure" so then I started telling her all about it and to my surprise, she still wanted to go. So I told her more, and she still wanted to go! She was nervous but her "never back down" attitude after telling some family who had been before had her locked in.

Bears! Wolves! Are there any poisonous snakes? Wait, tell me about the toilet again?

She was following the closure with me all the way to the 18th kinda sorta joking that she hoped it stayed closed.

I had planned a simple trip to Ensign along with a tow - easy as it gets. When I told her about a day trip to Cattyman Falls, she wondered out loud if it would be safe for me to propose to her under a waterfall. I said "let's see how you do on this trip."

Spoiler: no engagement on this trip so if you're looking for that kind of love story, look for another post LOL.

It was just going to be she and I until we got into a bottle of vodka with our good friend Andrea a week before we left. A "hey why don't you go with us" was thrown out, followed by a "why not, my Dead & Co. shows are canceled all summer and I've always wanted to go." A quick login to add an additional paddler and the three of us were locked in. She would be our "sister wife" for a week.

Actually, this isn't THAT type of story either :)

Andrea is a kayaker/backpacker/granola type who's been to grizzly country so I knew she was good and she could help keep us balanced for the trip. She got the solo and we got a tandem.

My girlfriend Jessica thought the tow boat guy was cute and it was all a novelty as we shoved off from Vosburghs.

The walk against the current into Splash was going great until I noticed I had no help on the back of the canoe. When I turned around she was frozen in fear looking at a "crab" near her foot. Ugh. We're in it for good.

We didn't swamp the canoe once we loaded but she was awful quiet. It turns out I may have been a little stern in explaining it was a crawdad and it was hardly looking for a blonde suburban girl from Indiana. There were tears and I felt like a jerk for getting her into this.

I had circled some great sites I wanted to check out mid-lake. Of course they were all taken, so we pushed east. I dropped the girls off at a site (1215) two sites west of Ashigan portage to potty and rest while I grabbed the solo to check out a few others. No, we weren't reserving as there was nobody in sight and they stayed fully loaded. A rest-stop at a marginal site.

Nothing else looked good so we had to settle. Even though Ashigan sounded good to me, I promised I wouldn't make them portage gear on this basecamp trip.

When I got back to camp, they told me it was beautiful and butterflies came out to greet them so we stayed. I'm not a site snob, but it seemed a bit tight for me.

The weather cleared, we set up camp and I could tell she was dreading nightfall. As soon as the sun hit the horizon, she wanted to hit the tent, clutch her bear spray, and fall asleep as fast as possible. I really wanted to show her the stars on this clear half-moon night but it was all over. I prominently stacked every noise-making device on the barrel on top of the grate and setttled in for a hot night of too-close cuddling and fearful neck-grabbing. (With only one of the girls - the other had her own tent, practically on top of us so it's still not that kind of story lol).

The first words out of her mouth in the morning were "how bored are we gonna be today" half-joking. There was a lot of half-joking on this trip, come to think of it.

Then, it happened. "DEE dee canada-canada-canada." I've heard it a million times but would find out later it was a White-Throated Sparrow.

This little guy and his big voice started to open up her senses. The gorgeous hike to Vera and the best picture of the trip opened them up even more. The loons, the beavers slapping their tails, the fire, the pancakes, the hilariously ridiculous water shoes, the camp chipmunk. Something started to happen on day 2.

She said the bird was following her everywhere and telling her that everything was going to be alright - Bob Marley-style.

She told me it was sexy that I fileted a fish in front of her.

Her earplugs on night 2 were a game-changer.

The falls were a game-changer.

The 12-yo girl we met going into Vera who grabbed a tandem and the heaviest pack of the family made her think "if she can do it I can do it".

She started staying up past dark but of course the clouds overtook the stars every night by this point.

As much as she learned on this trip, I learned more:

Cute girls are even cuter sobbing in their just-bought Patagonia rain gear and look-new hiking boots.

Sometimes when you're going solo against the wind all you can do is paddle backwards and enjoy that view.

Getting someone out of their comfort zone can be scary for you too but patience and trust builds amazing bonds.

Having someone depend on you is very rewarding.

Being able to show an adult something that's important to you and seeing them appreciate it is an unbelievable feeling.

Third-wheels who are super-chill make good travel partners. Doesn't hurt when you are all best friends.

Boujie, 3-suitcase girls can pack lighter than you and it's embarrassing.

They also look amazing without makeup for 4 days.

What you think may be one of the worst sites on the lake starts to feel perfect when everyone else is excited about it.

A tiny little bird with a big voice can make everything all-right.

Remove trebles and pinch barbs. Every fish I caught on this trip INHALED everything thrown at it. Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age.

The "experienced guy" can be the only one who swamps a canoe...twice. The reward was a leech....the first one she's ever seen and she was fascinated by it's "Cheerio mouth".

Ease back into society. As soon as we turned our phones on and had family telling us to please not drive through Minneapolis, we all looked at each other and said "we're going back in".

We've already planned to go back next year. Deeper. She wants to see a moose and that's my promise. May even have to leave the ring in the safe back home next time. Our sparrow will be waiting for us.

Hug someone you love. Share something you love. Don't be afraid of loving anyone or any thing. Everything's gonna be alright.
 
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andym
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06/03/2020 02:02AM  
Glad you had such a great trip together. Nothing is better than sharing the wilderness with the person you love.
 
KarlBAndersen1
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06/03/2020 06:06AM  
I wish more women knew how pretty they are without a face full of paint.
 
06/03/2020 06:28AM  
Nice report. It will be interesting to see if she really develops a love for the outdoors. All signs look good so far! Best of luck.

I have a similar story and took my girlfriend for our first trip a long time ago and a bear ate all our food for the week on night one. We went again 3 years later and I think I picked too rugged of a trip going through the Frost River so that was the end of her tripping. Lesson here is to take it slow and don't go too rugged until she's ready.
 
06/03/2020 07:12AM  
Nice trip report. Glad it all turned out well. Hope you have many more.
 
missmolly
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06/03/2020 07:59AM  
Lovely. Truly.
 
06/03/2020 10:00AM  
KarlBAndersen1: "I wish more women knew how pretty they are without a face full of paint."

+1
 
BWPaddler
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06/03/2020 10:51AM  
Such a fun story! I think you should consider filing it as a trip report. Thanks for sharing I'm glad it turned out well.
 
Savage Voyageur
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06/03/2020 11:01AM  
Fun story, thanks. That crab was probably a rusty crawfish by the way. Definitely take ear plugs. Every time I’ve been on Ensign in spring the whippoorwills call from 9:00 pm until 5:00 am. You will go insane without earplugs.
 
Minnesotian
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06/03/2020 05:17PM  

Great trip report. Thanks for sharing.

 
giddyup
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06/03/2020 10:21PM  
I like your writing style. Entertaining. And a good trip report.
 
MHS67
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06/04/2020 12:06AM  
A pleasure to read!
 
jtcarn1
member (6)member
 
11/22/2020 11:58PM  
I was poking around on here and remembered I posted this. Update: we will have a ring to leave back home next year. I asked her to marry me, she said yes, and we snuck in an amazing wedding in October. We wanted to make something of an otherwise horrible year.

She bought me a Gransfors Bruk small forest axe for my birthday and she's already talking about our trip in May.

Proof that her going with me wasn't a fluke.

Proof that there is hope and magic in the forest.

More proof that everything is going to be alright.

 
jhb8426
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11/23/2020 01:45AM  
Congrats are in order.
 
HangLoose
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11/23/2020 05:11AM  
Congrats. You got a keeper
 
11/23/2020 07:32AM  
Nice follow-up note--congratulations to you both!

TZ
 
11/23/2020 07:52AM  
Congratulations.
 
BearBurrito
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11/23/2020 08:30AM  
Congrats! That's awesome.
 
Northwoodsman
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11/23/2020 08:31AM  
Nice job on closing the deal!
 
11/23/2020 09:26AM  
Great read and wonderful story. Thanks!
 
11/23/2020 10:16AM  
A ring for a Granfors axe ain't a bad trade. Congrats!
 
11/23/2020 05:15PM  
What a nice story especially since she appears to be interested in going back. And congratulations on your marriage.

My wife of 46+ yrs made one canoe trip with me while we were dating during which we dumped the canoe with her losing her high school graduation ring and me my glasses and one shoe. It was her one and only canoe trip. And on our honeymoon which included a week long backpacking trip on Isle Royale she developed bleeding blisters after 3 miles and vowed she would NEVER do this again. However, I have a daughter who enjoys these activities.
 
paddlefamily
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11/24/2020 10:25AM  
What a great story - you write so well. Congrats on your marriage and best wishes for more happy years enjoying wild places.
 
jillpine
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11/24/2020 11:27AM  
It's wonderful when those whom we love fall in love with the experiences we love. Best wishes for a lifetime of adventures!
 
Portage99
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11/24/2020 06:55PM  
minnmike: "KarlBAndersen1: "I wish more women knew how pretty they are without a face full of paint."


+1"


I wish more women knew they didn't have to worry about being pretty at all.
 
11/30/2020 05:15PM  
I really enjoyed your story. As a woman who had to be convinced that I would like it, and as a woman who loved canoe-tripping for more than 40 years, a lot of this story resonated with me. My first trip was challenging for me, but by the third day I was hooked into a lifetime of "let's go to the canoe country." To quote the Reese's commercial: "Not sorry." :-)
 
bottomtothetap
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12/05/2020 04:15PM  
This was an excellent post! Thanks for sharing--if you are not a writer-for-hire, you should be.

Congrats to the two of you on the nuptials!

My bride of 29 years and I also took a "last minute" Memorial day trip to the Lake Superior north shore. We decided on this on Friday and got a room on Saturday at Cascade Lodge for Sunday night! That Sunday evening she also heard, for her first time ever, a white throated sparrow and asked, "What kind of a bird is that?" When I told her, knowing me, she thought I was making things up on the spot but it was a proud moment for me when she looked it up on her phone and found out I was right when she matched the recorded bird song to what she had heard. When she played the song it prompted a response from the real thing in the tree above us. That also set the tone for our trip and we had a great time. Check out the video! Memorial Day Trip
 
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