31 July 2012

Six +Ace for the waters

Trips to the Boundary Waters Wilderness area are always an adventure, this year was no exception. Initially planned as a whole family affair some last minute changes saw my wife and youngest boy staying home. At just shy of eighteen months and my wife not feeling top shelf it was decided to roll with my four other children, a good family friend, and Ace the new family dog.

Also something of a times they are a'changing moment, my eldest daughter will turn eighteen this winter and will likely fly the coup soon after. Time passes us by unnoticed for the most part, then it squeezes our hearts with the sudden realization of just how much has passed. I remember taking her canoeing when she was an infant, and now she's about to set forth on her own journey, her life her own.

The weather reports were favorable, for the most part. I knew going in that rain and thunderstorms were possible, I've weathered storms in the BWCAW before, my kids are robust and our shelters have proven up to the task in the past.

I've found the beauty of the Boundary Waters to always exceed the best descriptions, no matter the talent of the wordsmith, mere words cannot do it justice.

As is a tradition for us, food is always big part of our trips. Paddling and portaging is a lot of work, appetites grow large, much anticipation around the fire grates in the late afternoon. First meal of the trip, venison and rice with beef and beans. No matter how much you cook, it never seems to be enough!

Ace is still adapting to his new North Woods home, having come from Georgia by way of a group of volunteers all the way up here. It's clear to me he was primarily a house dog and not much accustomed to the wilder places. At first he was reluctant to drink from the lakes, I actually had to put water in a pot. Pretty strange, but by the end of the trip he was doing just fine. Watching him read the wind with his nose was interesting, you could tell he was smelling things he'd never smelled before.

Day two dawned with a breakfast of mankilla bacon, eggs, and more venison. Got to put the fuel in the tank for the day of paddling in front of us. Heading out on the lake on an empty stomach is to be avoided at all cost, wind and wave can strip energy away quickly, an empty tank is a bad thing.

So with the boys to my old aluminum battle scarred canoe, and I with the girls we set out. We had little to no luck fishing and just took in the sights for the most part.

Some time stretching their legs on the rocks.

Later in the afternoon the skies were turning ominous, heavy, and threatening. We started the paddle back to camp and returned with enough time to take shelter before the skies opened up with a violent thunderstorm.

Here's a short under three minute video of what this storm sounded and looked like. This was the first of four storms that pounded on us during our travels.

While laying up in my hammock during the storm I had nothing better to do than snap some additional pictures.

As the storm cleared out we were treated to some really great horizons.

After the storm we still had a few hours till sundown so we set out and paddled up the lake a bit to see what was around the next bend and to wet a few lines in the hopes of a Northern or a Walleye for dinner. It wasn't long before the clouds turned angry again.

Back to camp before the downpour started, it passed like the first and did little to damage our spirits or our camp. After dinner I managed to get a few more pictures.

We were treated to a very nice sunset!

Ace looks on as I prepare breakfast on our final morning.

Another trip to the Boundary Waters coming to an end, that special place that is truly a boundary between our mundane day to day and an almost ethereal place of wilderness, mystery, surprises, and wonder.  While I plan to return in late September this trip was extra special, I missed my wife and youngest son but it was great to spend time out in the back of beyond with my other children, and mark the final year before eighteen for my eldest.


  1. Beautiful place. You're fortunate.

    1. Thanks Bob, I'm thankful for it, every day.

  2. Beautiful photography and a wonderful trip.

  3. Thanks Ross, appreciate that.

  4. Damn bro!
    You have your stuff really sorted out!
    Great family, loving what you do, too, even Ace seems to be enjoying his new crowd. Great area to roam in with much diversity. Great kit to play with (still love seeing that canoe...) and Mother nature throws in a few bonuses for you all to enjoy yourselves even more!

    I envy you.... all of you! And wish you all many more hours like these.

    p.s. absolutely wonderfull pics. A visual feast!

  5. Looks like a great time. Thanks for the report.

  6. I never feel like I have to get up there to the BWCA more than after reading your post from your trips there. Beautiful pics and some great family time too. Really enjoyed it buddy. Thanks!

    Too bad on the fishing. A fresh walleye is always a treat.

  7. Wow, just wow! I really need to come visit. Looks amazing!

  8. Gorgeous photography as usual, AG. Made me yearn deep down to be out in the wilds again! Great job in getting your kids interested and involved in outdoor activities. I'm sure they look up to you as a great dad. :)