Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What I Love about the Boundary Waters

I love that as soon as we hit the water, I forget my passwords to my gmail account.  I love that as soon as we get to a campsite my oldest daughter baits up and gets a fish on the line with her first cast before I've got the tent out of the canoe.  I love that before camp is set up we are cleaning fish together for a fantastic first night's dinner.

I love that the hammocks go up first and our dog wants to get in one right away.  In our family, everyone works and helps to unload, get our new home-away-from-home set up and everyone also gets to relax whenever they want.  For me there is no point to going on vacation unless you can feel rejuvenated and free.  We like to start early enough in the day that afternoon finds us with a nice campsite and plenty of time to unpack and get organized.  For us it is base camp, so we make sure it is awesome and has possibilities for day trips.

No matter if our trip is early, later in the Fall or during the dog days of Summer... I love swimming.  In fact along with sitting by the campfire, it is one of my favorite summer pleasures.  After the first leap, my body adjusts quickly to the water temperature and I find it hard to leave.  I'm usually up before anyone else at camp and I'll take an early morning swim while the coffee is brewing.  This last trip we found a perfect place to jump off the big granite rocks.  (Make sure you check the lake bottom for depth and make sure there are no rocks)  We found a huge drop off along the cliff's edge that went down really deep into the water and provides hours of FUN - better than any watermark I've ever been to.

Camping in the Boundary Waters is filled with one fantastic photo opportunity after another.  Early morning light and evening sunsets provide some of the warmest, most beautiful times to remember in the wilderness.  The intricate colors on the bark of a red pine are amazing as the sun's rays ripple over their heights and limbs.  The wind and light on the water is magical.  Ever notice how the prow of the canoe, its shape pointed like an arrow invites you to join in whatever adventure lies just around the bend?  Sometimes I like to take pictures and sometimes I like to save these spectacular memories as just that:  memories.  Vacation in the Boundary Waters is a great time to "clean out" your files upstairs.  You know exactly what I mean.  We've all got too much useless knowledge and pieces and pixels up in our brains.  I like to mentally download that stuff to my "trash" or "recycle bin" if you prefer windows.  I'm a Mac guy, so I prefer to toss it and "secure empty" my trash at that.  Having freed up some memory, I take a few mental shots like this and store them away in my happy place.  It is good practice.  

I love the fact that I always know where my dog, Sebastian, is because he is always wearing his "Bear Bell".  Not that I really need to listen, because he is usually right wherever I am at the time.  Since he was a 6 week old, he has always been right next to me whenever we are together.  I always wanted a dog like that when I was growing up.  I will generally bring a couple of good novels and blank notebooks to the Boundary Waters.  "What a waste of wilderness time," some of you might retort, but I beg to disagree.  An hour or two a day spent napping and reading, taking notes and making journal entries, especially if you can relax in a hammock, are extremely valuable and reenergizing.  Did I mention naps?  This is what I mean by everyone gets a chance to do the things that they like most when we go camping.  For me I love the Boundary Waters because it brings us closer together as a family.

I love the Boundary Waters because it is wild and FULL of everything.  No shortage. Longing for trees?  It has them and then some.  Like beaches?  Enjoy the breeze off the lake in your face (better than air-conditioning)?  Like to fish?  Long to swim?  Like to try out and utilize your favorite pieces of camping gear?  Like to practice survival skills?  Enjoy eating fish freshly caught from your campground and want to paddle everyday?  BWCAW is perfect for all these things and plenty more.  There's no shortage of fun in the Boundary Waters.  Wildlife sightings are common, everyday experiences.  The days seem longer and the nights seem more refreshing outdoors.

In today's fast paced world, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to get the family together in one place for a meal, for an activity or just for a fun afternoon together.  And... if you manage to do so, it could very well cost you an arm and a leg for meals and entertainment away from home.  I love the Boundary Waters, because, although you have to carry them on your back, the amenities and food are wonderful around the campfire or camp stove.  I believe everything tastes better in the woods and with a little imagination you can turn everyone's favorite foods into traveling delights.  I don't know about you, but I like saving money and I'd rather have a Smore in the Boundary Waters than a $15 Tiramisu any day.

I love the Boundary Waters, because even on a budget, you can have a true outdoor adventure in style.  True fun is what we make of it anyway.  The last trip, my kids picked up pine needles, bark, sticks, rocks and found objects to make a little village one afternoon on the forest floor.  They've even dug clay from the lake bottom and made little figurines and sculptures that dried in the sun before trips end.  Everyone finds and fashions their favorite walking stick.

It's a time when a responsible kid can carry a knife or multi-tool everywhere and not be questioned.  When finding toads in the evening and early morning and listening to their croaking, squeaking songs rates higher than an afternoon at the amusement park.

I love the Boundary Waters because the bottom line is this.  I never want to leave and I always want to go back.  I often feel more at home than I do when I'm at home.

Send me your comments about why you love the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness!

1 comment:

Teresa Wagner said...

Great post. You pretty much hit the nail on the head. It's always so hard to leave the BWCA. Thought you might enjoy a piece written on a friend's blog. Check out She just wrote about traveling to the BWCA with kids.