BWCA How does the BWCA/Q make you feel? Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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      How does the BWCA/Q make you feel?     
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deepwater
member (34)member
 
05/07/2021 02:05PM  
With the open water season fully upon us, I have been trying to put the feeling of being in the wilderness into words. It is obvious that thinking about a trip, planning a trip and taking a trip all make us "feel" a certain way that is hard to describe.

I would go first but I haven't found words to do it any justice.

Please share?
 
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05/07/2021 02:14PM  
It's an escape
 
Pilgrimpaddler
distinguished member (237)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/07/2021 02:15PM  
Oddly enough, from someone who's always lived in the city, to me it feels like I'm home again.
 
05/07/2021 02:26PM  
All tingly
 
spud
member (39)member
 
05/07/2021 03:01PM  
I think the best word for me is: accomplished

Trips arent "fun" in the traditional sense, but you leave feeling like you completed something, and give you pride. The scenery is refreshing and helps to put things into perspective, but if you did it right you challenged yourself both physically and mentally, and came out on top..
 
IronRangeMike
senior member (64)senior membersenior member
 
05/07/2021 03:17PM  
It always makes me miss my Evinrude...
 
pswith5
distinguished member(3469)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/07/2021 03:53PM  
I.R Mike that's funny. Tingly is good for planning and dreaming. But when I am there R.E.L.A.X.E.D.! (Sorry if that reminds you Packer fans of better days!)
 
05/07/2021 03:56PM  
Free. Being out in the wilderness like that for an extended period of time and not being confined to a single lake or trail is an amazing feeling. It feels like restrictions that I didn't even know where there are falling away.
 
uqme2
member (45)member
 
05/07/2021 05:13PM  
Not hard to describe at all. Pick a word and make it your own.

Group trip = Obligated, responsible....

Solo trip = Small, nimble, comfortable and happy come what may.

Accomplished is a word reserved for beneficiaries.
 
schweady
distinguished member(7358)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
05/07/2021 05:20PM  
Relaxed. Accomplished. Renewed.
 
gsfisher13
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05/07/2021 05:56PM  
To me it removes ALL of these feelings from this insane world we live in:
stressed, annoyed, disappointed, angry. All of the feelings that other people generate in my mind disappear. Calm, peaceful, relaxed, appreciation, faith, beauty, sunshine, nature, the way God intended coming flooding back.
....And also the reason why i'll never traverse the Mudro portages again in my lifetime. No escape there, it's worse. Stupid people in a place that's supposed to be peaceful.
 
JWilder
distinguished member (325)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/07/2021 07:41PM  
CONTENT.
 
PineKnot
distinguished member(1943)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/07/2021 07:52PM  
Will my recently and really effed up right hip/femur allow me to trip in May or June? Hope so......
 
05/07/2021 08:29PM  
Human.
 
andym
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05/07/2021 09:07PM  
Like PilgrimPaddler, I feel at home. Truly at home with a wonder sense of peace and calm.
 
05/07/2021 10:00PM  
Pilgrimpaddler: "Oddly enough, from someone who's always lived in the city, to me it feels like I'm home again."

+1
 
someguy
member (14)member
 
05/07/2021 10:37PM  
Reverent
 
RunningFox
distinguished member (128)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/07/2021 11:40PM  
Like my travelin bone will leave me alone till it begins itchen for home
 
RunningFox
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05/07/2021 11:40PM  
Like my travelin bone will leave me alone till it begins itchen for home
 
naturboy12
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05/08/2021 06:16AM  
No matter how long I’ve been in the BW, I always feel the same. With my fingers!

But seriously- In the BW, I find inner peace, become much more relaxed, get excited for each new day, and genuinely appreciate the entire experience. I embrace and accept hardships there (well, to an extent), as they make the memories that much brighter and long lasting. It’s a place I find “myself” again, after wandering off the path and forgetting what’s really important. It’s where I can reconnect to friends and to my sons without unnecessary distractions. I don’t have another “place” like this, which makes it truly special.
 
missmolly
distinguished member(7278)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
05/08/2021 06:54AM  
RunningFox: "Like my travelin bone will leave me alone till it begins itchen for home"

^This one made me smile.^

I feel like a critter when I'm with the critters. I'm reminded of how ephemeral I am, that I'm a wisp, soon to be gone and forgotten.

And I feel gratitude, that I get to witness beauty beyond rich people's means. A Kardashian could purchase a trip to a beautiful place, but that place would have paths and they'd have an entourage and all the time, they would be posing for Instagram, thus not entirely there.

When I go north and I'm alone, I have to be entirely there. A slip could take me to catastrophe. So could some darkness on the horizon or a whiff of smoke in the air or a stick snapping in the woods, so I have to open myself to that big, beautiful world. I have to meld with it. I have to feel the storm before it comes and clobbers me. I become a critter among critters in a place without asphalt, billboards, traffic jams, and 911.
 
Canoearoo
distinguished member(2473)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/08/2021 09:05AM  
Belonging empowering peaceful
 
DMan5501
member (10)member
 
05/08/2021 12:24PM  
Completely "In The Moment & Focused"
 
scotttimm
distinguished member (474)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/08/2021 01:10PM  
Awake and aware. Also makes me ravenous, and everything tastes fantastic. Colors and smells are so vibrant, it's like external stimulation overload. My wife, a painter, always talks about the contrasts between the blues and greens...the water and sky. I think cerulean is one of the colors she uses most.

Two summers ago my son said, "this feels like my natural habitat, like I belong out here." I think that's another piece, it feels deep down at our core like this is a human's natural home. Kids also reflect that they love that feeling that everything they need to survive is right there in the canoe.

Like we slip into a flow. Eat when we are hungry, sleep when we are tired. We lose track of time and the weight of being connected to the busy world slips away. Sleepy. Hard work = great sleep.

One mantra we have with our kids, "not every part of an adventure is fun, that's what makes it an adventure." There's the "suck it up buttercup", push hard and deal with it...pushing of the limits and the satisfaction of accomplishment. Took my uncle a few years ago, sitting watching a gorgeous sunset across Insula, and he said, "you can't buy this view, you have to earn it."

I feel pride as my kids, with 10 years of tripping, know what they are doing, putter around camp, start a fire, tie their own lures on and land their own fish. Last year my 11 year old had a friend along, paddling up the Moose River towards Nina Moose...her friend said, "OMG, when are we going to be DONE with this river?" My daughter said, "not long I think, see how there's kind of a 'V' in the treeline up there, there's open space behind that V and how you can't see trees behind it? It looks like it is opening up, I bet the lake is up there." My jaw dropped. Nobody had ever taught her that. She just learned it, watching, paying attention, seeing how the land was laid out. And she was right. Felt pretty proud of her at that moment.

Joy. Inside jokes that grow from shared experiences on the trail. Funny songs where we adapt the words to fit a situation and everyone is giggling when someone belts out the tune. Relaxation of social norms and expectations. Kids have learned some great swear words in the BWCA. Lots of bad jokes. Pet names for things, like toilette paper becomes "shit tickets", and the adults don't care that you said "shit tickets", they just laugh. Sitting on a ledge sipping a cocktail and watching the sunset. Waking up first and sipping a coffee in peace next to my wife. Joy is a pretty good word for it all.
 
TuscaroraBorealis
distinguished member(4835)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
05/08/2021 01:36PM  
Better
 
missmolly
distinguished member(7278)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
05/08/2021 02:21PM  
Well written, Scott. I especially liked the anecdote about your daughter and the lake ahead.
 
05/08/2021 02:27PM  
Connected.

And no, I do not mean in a Wifi sense with the word, I feel connected:

to the past way of life before todays "hurry up" civilization
to hard work and to it's rewards
to my Dad who first took my brother and I in 1972 and again in 74, 75 and 76
to the future as I have shared the Bdub and the Q with my sons
and as we together are currently plan the next trip(s) with the Grandkids.
 
deepwater
member (34)member
 
05/08/2021 02:28PM  
I am enjoying read all of your interpretations of being in the wilderness. While I have not found all the words yet for what it means to me, one thing is for sure, I feel connected in a way that cannot be replicated in an urban world.

Let me explain.

When we are at our homes in an urban world, we view and interact with the forces of nature in a very different context.. Each day blends together. We check the weather for Tuesday and its looks like rain. As predicted, we wake up Tuesday morning to rain and we call Tuesday a "rainy" day. We don't notice much about the rain other than that it's wet. We don't know how long it rained for and we don't know what the rest of the sky looked like beyond our window or field of view. Tuesday was just a rainy day. The weather for Wednesday morning shows clouds clearing and an over night temperature drop of 30 degrees, but the day time highs are the same. You can conceptualize the colder morning from the comfort of your home but you don't much notice it other than for a few random outside chores or while letting the dog out. With highs similar Tuesday, Wednesday is just a cooler "sunny" day. A good day for a walk.

We experience this same weather pattern very differently while in paradise (BWCA). Over all, the experience of each day is not as compartmentalized in my mind. Sure, Tuesday had some rain, but it was a nice morning drinking coffee under the tarp watching the rain hit the water and I was thankful to have a hot breakfast. I've never been so excited for oatmeal. Since I have been staring at the sky and water all morning, I notice the wind calming and the rain drops softening. Nothing a rain jacket can't handle. Time to fish. But first another cup of coffee, the fish aren't going anywhere.

It's still Tuesday and we've spent the entire morning fishing with on and off showers and minimal luck. By now the rain has faded and our fire is crackling. The contrast of the cold air against my back and the warm fire on my face is mesmerizing. I am sure you know the feeling...

Wednesday morning. Remember that 30 degree temperature swing? Wow, what a cold morning. The cold air probably rolled in around 3 am. I felt it and zipped up my bag. Problem solved. By the time I get my first cup of coffee brewed it hasn't warmed up much but my steel coffee cup feels nice on my cold hands. My first though "it wouldn't be so cold if it wasn't for that breeze off the lake". Time to start a fire and eat a hot breakfast. It's going to be a great day. I have a different relationship with weather patterns while camping.

Moral of the story, I'm addicted to coffee (it tastes better while camping) and the visceral experience with the natural world almost certainly lowers my blood pressure as well as my culinary and sanitary standards.
 
mgraber
distinguished member(1216)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/08/2021 03:44PM  
Being in the Q always puts a smile on my face and makes me feel like I'm home. The smells, sounds, and scenery touch me deep in my soul. The fishing is good enough to still make it difficult to sleep the night before, and not much does that to me anymore. The BW holds extremely fond memories for me, and while I know it is still a special place, last year made me intensely sad and pretty angry. The things I saw and experienced made me swear I'd never go back, but I'm going to try one more time since I don't have any options, which gives us both a lot of anxiety. It has changed so much in the past 10-15 years. If people could just not impose their selfish will on the place with their horrific "campsite improvements", screaming, loud music, piles of trash, and horrible etiquette. It was hard to look for campsites from 2 until nearly dark, passing by close to 20 and finally having to shack up with other very gracious travelers who had come from the opposite direction and said there were none for many miles the other way. We were so lucky they waved us in. They did leave a pile of trash when they left the next day, but nice folks. We could not possibly carry out all the trash we found on the 10 day trip, it would easily fill a large trash bag. That was a first. But overall, I feel fortunate to be able to experience such a beautiful place, and I hope i am able for a few more years, at least.
 
gkimball
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05/09/2021 08:31AM  
Surrounded by, and sometimes connecting with, things that are manifesting the Great Spirit just by being what they are.
 
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member(956)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/09/2021 09:48AM  
I feel connected...
...to my body and what it needs
...to my emotions
...to the natural world and its rhythms

I feel peaceful...
...with no phones or devices
...with no students pestering me with questions
...with fewer responsibilities

I feel strong and rejuvenated!
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(1159)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/09/2021 10:06AM  
In one word: SMALL.

We have this silly way of tricking ourselves into thinking we’re so important. Such crazy selfish creatures. Going into the woods re-grounds me in the reality that I am tiny, that I mean doodle-squat.
 
05/09/2021 10:28PM  
At Peace.

It's the 1 place I've found where I can be with the people I cherish the most and not have a care about what's going on in the real world.
 
Stumpy
distinguished member(1700)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/10/2021 12:16AM  
Free
 
missmolly
distinguished member(7278)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
05/10/2021 06:54AM  
thegildedgopher: "In one word: SMALL.


We have this silly way of tricking ourselves into thinking we’re so important. Such crazy selfish creatures. Going into the woods re-grounds me in the reality that I am tiny, that I mean doodle-squat."


GG, I wrote something similar above: "I feel like a critter when I'm with the critters. I'm reminded of how ephemeral I am, that I'm a wisp, soon to be gone and forgotten."
 
05/10/2021 06:57AM  
For me it is history.

I like doing everything the way my dad did it in the 50s and 60s. Fire cooking, not the greatest clothes, heavy tarp, limited tackle, no radio/phone/gps, etc. I try to recreate how the trips were back then to kind of go back in time.
 
PeaceFrog
member (44)member
 
05/10/2021 07:51AM  
Like others, it is challenging for me to put this into words when I try to share with someone who has not made a trip to BW. I usually end up rambling in incomplete sentences and thoughts. I did not receive a degree in communication(just ask my wife).

My words: Alive and Thankful
 
Freddy
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05/10/2021 08:29AM  

Thought-provoking!
 
05/10/2021 09:12AM  
For me, the first day can be a stressful one.

In winter, I am worried about conditions and whether or not I forgot any important gear. Once camp is setup, that worry goes away.

In spring, I am backpacking and there is always a lingering sense of my ability to complete the trail. I remember getting dropped off on the Gunflint side of the Kek trail and being hit with the weight of having to hike back to Ely. I got blisters on both of my heels 3 miles into the hike. That was a tough few days.

Summer trips for me are group trips. I stress about finding open camp sites on the first day.

Fall trips are really nice for me mentally. My gear is dialed in, and I don't worry about finding sites.

Once that first day is winding down, I am in a pretty content place. Time slows down, and I begin to enjoy the peace and get into a rhythm and routine. Not much bothers me after that first day.
 
BearBurrito
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05/10/2021 09:33AM  
I feel like I have come home.
 
giddyup
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05/10/2021 11:26AM  
Blessed.....blessed to be alive, blessed to be healthy and blessed to be able to be in such an amazing, beautiful place.
 
jillpine
distinguished member(585)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/10/2021 11:32AM  
present

When I'm not there physically, I'm there in mind and heart. So when I'm not there, I'm never really present. When I'm there, I'm fully present.


 
05/10/2021 09:19PM  
Stumpy: "Free"

Agree. And I make a point to not be connected with a cell phone or other besides a SPOT locator for safety. It's really nice to be unplugged. I've even decided to not bring my radio this fall. It's a solo trip with my dog and a couple good books with some adventuring and fishing mixed in. I can go where I want to go and do essentially whatever I want to do. It's pretty awesome.
 
DRob1992
member (30)member
 
05/11/2021 11:17AM  
thegildedgopher: "In one word: SMALL.


We have this silly way of tricking ourselves into thinking we’re so important. Such crazy selfish creatures. Going into the woods re-grounds me in the reality that I am tiny, that I mean doodle-squat."


Lots of very good responses within this thread. I particularly relate to this response. The sheer vastness of the BWCA gives me great perspective on where I stand, as one man, in the grand scheme of things. I'm not nothing. I'm not unimportant. But I certainly am not everything. Our wildernesses and ecosystems are far more important than me and always will be. The BWCA is a fantastic place to visit to experience ego death.
 
05/11/2021 07:37PM  
Alive!
 
7thinningstretch
member (37)member
 
05/11/2021 10:10PM  
Decompressed.
I usually take my first trip mid June after my teaching and coaching duties wrap up. By the end of the school year I am mentally and physically fried, so I greatly look forward to planning, packing, and prepping for my trip. As soon as I open the truck door in Ely and smell the pines, my stress levels decrease. They continue to drop the further into the BWCA I get. By the time trip one ends, I am relaxed, but tired, and my anticipation for trip 2 begins.
 
HangLoose
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05/11/2021 11:41PM  
Fulfilled
 
05/12/2021 07:20AM  
 
Lawnchair107
senior member (68)senior membersenior member
 
05/12/2021 12:11PM  
Grateful
 
05/12/2021 12:43PM  
The BWCA/Q makes me feel challenged, then self-sufficient, rewarded, and blessed...

TZ
 
Basspro69
distinguished member(14016)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
05/12/2021 11:19PM  
It makes me feel happy, it makes me feel appreciative, it makes me feel the presence of God.
 
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