Setting: A remote 15 portages into the BWCA Wilderness
4:23 AM: I Slipped a canoe in the water to paddle around a bit as there was a faint pre-dawn light. Armed with paddle, fishing rod, life jacket and fanny pack I wanted some alone time with myself, God, throw a few casts and enjoy nature. This is my trysting place. Light was barely climbing its graduated schedule.
4:30 AM: I was the lone paddler in the wilderness (felt like).
5:30 AM: Four portages, two beaver dams, a couple small lakes and a river system found me dragging my canoe across 50 yards of floating bog (sinking enough to pull the canoe in the water trail behind me) to the next portage.
5:40 AM: Fishing a perfectly clear and serene lake while watching the sun poke through the tree line.
6:00 AM: Marveling at seeing the lake bottom in 50 feet of water. Water so still and clear it seemed like I was floating in the air in my small craft. So eerie to have ones equilibrium tested by surprise.
7:00 I Made it through a zillion mosquitoes, several fish biting, vows to never attempt to walk floating bog again and arrived at camp thinking that breakfast would be ready. John (a great outdoorsman) had the fire going. His greeting: “it’s not nice to leave me in camp with 7 teenagers” and “why are you so wet?”
What excites us about the adventure of remoteness? After decades of wilderness outings I only crave more. Why do we long to be on a boat sailing the ocean expanses or drifting a lone canoe as if you were the only one left on the planet? There is something here that speaks into the soul. Words, no matter how fancy, at best, merely “lick the pan” (sorry, I’m writing while hungry). Let’s face it, we all have our secret longings and places to be or experience.
Maybe you used to dream but don’t anymore. Maybe you cannot stand to be alone (a very strange malady, possibly treatable).
It’s very possible that your personal safety is a high priority and you are adverse to risk. Don’t go with me, I am not a self-proclaimed risk taker but others have somehow placed me near the top of the class. When I asked my supervisor to go with me once he did not hesitate in saying “You are nuts”. I always meant to follow up on that fairly evasive statement.
If your idea of adventure and roughing it is going to the other end of the hall for ice, I have no words for you. I am deeply…sad. Just Stay off Spoon Lake in the BWCA as there are numerous bear in the camp sites and the mosquitoes are so big you could mount them on your wall! Also do not stick your hands in the water as big pike will take your arm off!~
Some have said I get animated just talking about it. I need to follow up on that (and quite a few other) comments.
My Disclaimer: Strange, wonderful and mystery describes best my 60+ trips into canoe county wilderness. My first trip led by an extreme risk-taker wild man launched me into my own adventures creating hundreds of stories. The hazards of time and memory make them “mostly true”. Some are so unbelievable that that I quiet down the truth a little to make them more believable than true.