Boundary Waters, Away From it All!

Minnesota Travel Blog

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Well, this was one of a handful of flat water canoe adventures I've taken. The Boundary Waters is the area on the boundary of Canada and Minnesota. There are a bunch of fantastic lakes connected by bits of land, which one must portage through in order to get to another lake. What's lovely about the BWCAW (Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness) is that there are tons of outfitters out there and with some basic navigation, paddling, and wilderness skills, the right gear and a great crew of people, this is the perfect trip to get away from the city and soak in the natural beauty. We were lucky to see a Moose after one of our final portages. She was just munching on some tall grass, luckily with no young or we'd have been in real trouble. We watched a snake eat a turtle, pulled loads of leaches off our feet/ankles (I was lucky not to have any), and watched otters trail across the lakes at dusk. We were also lucky to see some meteors break through the atmosphere (at which time they become 'meteorites')...looked like fireworks. Unreal! My goal was to see an otter up close but no such luck.

Like I said, the BW is wonderful to get away from the city. The Dept of Natural Resources controls how many people are in each party so you're guaranteed not to see too many other people about, if getting away from people is what you're going for. If you happen to run into a few folks, though, not to worry. Most of these wilderness goers are friendly as the day is long. One party we randomly met actually paddled ahead of us while we finished a portage to reserve us a lovely and highly coveted campsite. And on the way, another group of people gave us a big plate of fresh fish they'd caught and breaded that day. It was delish! Fish is a yummy treat up there if you're knowledgeable about how to catch, prepare and cook. The water is fresh and while you can drink it straight out, we filtered ours just to be safe. Also, the DNR keeps up all the camp sites, including creating fire rings, seating around them, and digging out ground toilets. *That's sort of a treat if you're used to digging your own hole for #2.

Things to beware of: this is bear country--bring bear bags or be prepared to hang your food in the trees; the loon is the state bird but it may as well be the mosquito--bring longs and head nets (I've heard eating garlic actually keeps them off); there are leaches and water worms that won't hurt you but if you're squeemish - do be prepared to pull them off; and if you've not paddled before, you can get sea legs, which actually woke me from sleep more than once.

Things to look forward to: natural beauty; silence; a good workout (depending on your route); unimaginable star gazing; good fishing; and getting away from it all. What could be better?

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