The wilderness calls often. I answer yes when I can. I send out an invitation e-mail to friends, family, and others who can one man carry a canoe and a pack over rough trail. I get e-mails back like “Yes, but when and where are we going? Can I catch a fish this time or will you hog all the action? last time you tried to kill us with all those portages so do not ask me again! Can I bring my brothers friends nephew who needs to get off drugs?” And the questions keep coming. By trip #58 one would think I would have learned to invite the three people who will call me the boss and then tell me what to do.
My personal gear list is simple and so are the instructions: Pack personal gear in heavy duty garbage bag. Pack sleeping bag in a stuff sack and in a separate garbage bag (all of which goes into a #3 Duluth pack with another persons gear so pack light).
Put fishing tackle in pocket tackle box or fanny pack.
BWCA Personal Gear List: Rain gear, Sunglasses, Eye-wear strap, Cap, Bandana, Shoes – wet & dry pairs, Sweatshirt – hooded, Shorts/swimwear, Long pants, T-shirts, Underwear, Socks, Towel/washcloth, Toothbrush-paste, Slingshot, Sunblock, Insect repellent, Lip balm, Gloves, Camera/batteries, Flashlight-batteries, Compass, Pocket knife, Fishing license, Fishing rods & tackle, Fish stringer, Sleeping bag, Wool sweater, Warm jacket, Ground pad, Life jacket, Mug (unbreakable), Fanny pack, Handkerchief, Clean clothes to leave in truck for return trip, Check fishing rods & tackle before trip, Extra garbage bags, Soap, deodorant, Bear repellent.
More questions: Where do I find bear repellant? Oh my word they took me serious, that’s what the sling-shot is for. Do I really need to pack my gear in garbage bags? No, wet bags will work unless you to do the teenager thing and just chance your gear not getting wet (that would be considered a miracle in youth director circles). Can I use tennis shoes for wet shoes portaging? Yes but leeches can suck the blood out of your foot through the shoe (not really but they won’t believe that sharp rocks can maim their feet for life). I have some plastic rain gear, is that OK for this trip? Yes, it will last about half-way across the first portage so bring 20 pairs and hope it only rains a couple times. I don’t have a compass but I always know which way is north, do I still have to bring one? I have fourteen reasons do you want to hear them all so you can decide? Will we catch fish? Probably; I know I will. Do you plan
Can we eat some fish with our meals? Do you solemnly swear to have the time of your life come wind, rain, cold, mosquitoes, black flies, bear, stair-step portages, and Sasquatch noises outside your tent in the black night when you can’t hold it any longer from your five cups of hot chocolate?
We just came back from fantastic trip #58….and yes, all survived except for not a few fish. I also think my clothes absorbed half the campfire smoke. two ticks died trying to cross my smoke filled sweater.
Be sociable and comment as well. By the way; A portage is the trail between two bodies of water that a canoe cannot go (around the rapids or between lakes) so you hoist the packs and canoes on your shoulders, grab rods and paddles and carry everything you brought over to the next canoe-able body of water.