Wednesday, October 13, 2010

BWCA 2010: Aftermath

A few post-canoe trip thoughts:
  • Our total distance traveled in the BWCA wilderness was about 26 miles. Of that, a little less than three miles consisted of portages. That's the one-way distance, not counting multiple trips on each portage. It was a bit underwhelming, then, to learn that our take-out was less than five miles (as the crow flies) from our put-in.

  • Our route was basically an arc centered between Wood Lake and Wind Lake with a radius of three miles, subtending an angle of about 300 degrees. Even though we were having an authentic wilderness experience - the only sign of civilization was the occasional airplane noise - we were never really that deep into the wilderness as the crow flies. It's worth mentioning, though, that we ain't crows - once you put a paddle in the water at the put-in, you're on your own. May it ever be so. We periodically checked our position against the Fifteen Minute Rule: if you can go 15 minutes without hearing anthropogenic sounds, you're in a truly special place. As often as not, places we visited passed the test.

  • The BWCA trip sometimes felt like Bizarro World on Opposite Day. We wore hiking boots while paddling and portaging, and accepted that our boots and wool socks would be wet basically all the time - and we kept our sandals dry for in-camp wear. Only on a canoe trip would one say, "Sure, let's go swimming - lemme go put on my boots."

  • Because our boots had been wet for a week, we tied them to the roof rack on Jessica's car for the ride home so they could dry out and hopefully not mildew. I guess it takes more than a roof rack's worth of soggy boots to get a second glance in downtown Ely.

  • I was pleasantly surprised with the comfort afforded by a the Duluth pack with tumpline (head strap). Granted, I wasn't expecting it to be cushy, but it got the job done without permanently deforming my spine.

  • I wish we had more time to spend in Ely after the trip. Next time, I want to check out the International Wolf Center, the North American Bear Center, the Dorothy Molter Museum, and eat at the Chocolate Moose Cafe. The Chocolate Moose is next door to the Piragis Northwoods Company store, a place where a boy and his credit card could get into a lot of trouble.

  • Finally, hoisting a canoe over your head for a portage is awesome. The key is to grunt while you do it.
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1 comment:

Alice said...

Oooh.......chocolate moose.......oooh