Wandering on Wind
My family has always had a passion for the Boundary Waters. My parents both grew up canoeing, and my uncles, aunts, and grandparents all have great knowledge if not great experience with the lake country. We have many traditions, some of them a bit arbitrary, others downright strange. But one tradition that I am so thankful for is that annual spring trip to the BWCA.
This year it was my uncle, my cousin, my dad, and myself who would make the pilgrimage. Our loaded minivan rolled into Ely late in the morning, just shy of the noon-hour. After stocking up on a few supplies from Pamida, browsing in Piragis, and filling our stomachs at the Chocolate Moose, we drove to the landing at Moose Lake. Already we were being blessed with the warm May sunshine and the gentle breezes out of the west. Birds sang, the lake laughed softly on the shore. All of creation seemed to smile at us and beckoned us to venture into its wild ambitions.
To be canoeing once more was like waking from a deep slumber in the full radiance of the morning sun. Our muscles ached and creaked from their winter of non-use, and the rhythm of paddling struggled to take hold on our way across Moose. But nothing can defeat the feeling of flight on water. We hooked around the first island, taking note of that dear old friend the sign--Welcome to the BWCA. The west wind rolled lazily across the water, the waves tapped the sides of the canoes. Despite our rusty paddling and some quirks in navigation behind the islands and bays along the north shore, we made quick time across Moose Lake.
Solitude is difficult to come by nowadays, but there are still places to find it. Wind Lake, a gem of a lake, sits between Moose and Basswood, two of the most popular lakes in the entire BWCA. It seems a natural midpoint for a trip originating in Moose heading for the inner parts of the country. Most, however, choose the easier route to Basswood, going up Moose to Newfound to Sucker and portaging once. The occasional trip will paddle through, and avid anglers might seek to drop their line in the lake. But Wind is largely ignored by those with greater ambitions.
The sun fell across the afternoon quickly, and before long the sapphire sky was covered with ribbons of gold and pink. This was the signal to bait the lines and grab the paddles and set out on a hunt for the monsters of the deep--at least for my uncle and cousin. For my father and I, well, fishing can't hold our interest for very long. We prefer something more daring, something with an edge to ride on. So as my uncle and cousin prepared to fish, my father and I grabbed the maps and prepared to explore the lake until nightfall.