Before... For 30 years I have been going to the BWCA. The last 20 or so, I am always the leader. Scouts, church groups, family groups, etc. A few years ago as part of scouts, I experienced backpacking for the first time. Up until then I thought backpackers were insane! I mean, nothing but portaging all day long! Ick! Well, amazing how much easier it is when you are walking without a 100 pound 16 ft long piece of aluminum over your head. We've done backpacking in Minnesota, New Mexico and Wyoming. I consider myself a BWCA "expert" but as a backpacker I'm still a "beginner". My son (I'll call him "Yoder") in the back country is like a fish in water.
So, in the cold months of January, we started to plan our trip. A lot of things changed from where we were going, when, how far... just about everything. One thing stayed the same, we were backpacking in the BWCA.