That in mind, I thought I would share some of the things I am looking forward to this paddling season (in no particular order):
1. Fishing. I can’t wait to get deep into the woods, to a lake that sees only a handful of people every year, and catch my dinner. (Pulling in a few hogs sounds pretty good too.)
2. I can’t wait for campfire food.
3. I can’t wait to really challenge myself this year. Sometimes, I like to take very aggressive trips and do lots of miles over some tougher terrain. Not only do I look at it as great exercise, but I enjoy the idea of traveling to areas that don’t get too many visitors. I know it sounds kind of crazy, but I can’t wait to literally paddle and portage all day.
4. I can’t wait to get to some new territory this summer.
5. I can’t wait to take my Quetico canoe trip with the guys. It’s always an adventure; it’s always fun. The fishing, the stories, the food, the scenery, there are a million reasons I am looking forward to this trip.
6. I can’t wait to paddle some rivers this spring when the water levels are good. The Little Indian Sioux River to the south and the Beartrap River are first on the list. These small rivers, and rivers like them, have a unique wilderness feel. The portages can be hard to find and not too many groups pass through. It is a very intimate wilderness setting and I have often encountered wildlife.
7. I can’t wait to find an awesome campsite and watch my dog, Agnes, do laps of joy. She bounces around, ears perked up, tail wagging, smelling everything and thoroughly exploring the entire area. She is a great canoe dog, but her favorite part of the day is when she realizes we have found a spot for the night. At this point, she knows I am done paddling her around for the day and it is her turn to burn some energy. (She also knows it is probably getting close to dinner time.)
8. I can’t wait to cast a line from shore as the sun sets.
9. I can’t wait until the evening scene at my campsite on a solo trip. All the camp chores are done after a long day’s paddle, I am pleasantly stuffed from a walleye dinner, and the fire is glowing with Agnes curled up next to it as the sun sets. Maybe I can hear the white noise of a waterfall in the distance. I can’t wait to sit comfortably and wait for the Milky Way to take over the night sky.
10. Most of the time, I enjoy the solitude the Boundary Waters and Quetico provide, but sometimes you meet some interesting characters in the woods. I can’t wait to meet the person or group who has obviously been out for a couple of weeks or even months. They usually have some pretty good stories and a really neat route planned.
11. I can’t wait to hear the rain fall on my tent and drift off to sleep, dry and warm.
12. I can’t wait for a good drying day after a storm.
13. I can’t wait to see the group leaders who are trying to expose beginners to the wilderness, especially kids. This is an incredible place and it is awesome to see people who are willing to take on a little extra responsibility to share everything the Boundary Waters has to offer.
14. I can’t wait to paddle on glass through the fog as the sun rises.
15. I can’t wait for moments like this with good friends.
It is going to be an exciting 2014 paddling season. Now all we need to do is wait for the ice to go out!
What are you looking forward to this season? Comment below.