BWCA Adventure Expectations

I really should leave the page blank as one should embark on a wilderness adventure with no expectations. With expectations at zero and something memorable happens, it’s always a surprise.

Being it was not my first trip, I had some expectation baggage, but being human I pretend to have no baggage. I no sooner stepped out of the vehicle and said in my best drawl “well aaawl be, there’s mosquitoes, deer flies, horse flies and black flies here.” I slapped and flailed till I found some over promoted bottled bug deterrent while picking off a wood tic.

By the time we had our packs filled and into the canoes to shove off, none of us had any pretense left in our bloodstream. It was smeared on our face and arms and clothes. We could have been models for face painting day at a kindergarten class.

I might exaggerate a bit

Once on the lake though the senses go into reverie mode with the pristine water, air, the rugged shores and constant scenic views. My camera was shaking with excitement before I got it out of the bag. The canoe even started screeching it’s excitement till I realized we had hit a Jesus rock (stand on it and it looks like you are walking on the water) and the bottom of the canoe was loosing it’s paint.

It’s natures fault! The wilderness makes a person digress and exaggerate. It’s a good thing only two fit in the canoe. Then there are the portages! you unload all your packs and anything not strapped to the canoe and carry it all over land to the next body of water. We packed two packs per canoe plus life jackets, paddles and fishing rods for one trip over most portages. One person takes the heavy pack and the other a light pack and the canoe. You die. The ones who don’t die revive you so they don’t have to carry everything plus you out. Yep, great expectations and then you get thirsty and hungry, and yes, you need more than candy corn.

Fishing, catching, rugged beauty, cooking over the fire, sleeping on rocks and roots, new species of bugs that bite, water reflections, rock formations, plant life and wonders of nature that suddenly inject joy to your very soul by surprise become an expectation fulfilled. The wonder of it all is like building blocks of insignificance while loosening my own importance. Ones pride unties like a shoestring in the reflective properties of stark honesty . Nature truly doesn’t care. Life is almost as tenacious about living as death is in dying. One way or the other the meaning of life comes to mind.

Here are some expectations fulfilled on last weeks BWCA Trip. Click on one for slide show and enlarging.

I love reflection(s). Seeing natures reflections off the water as well as letting all these things that I have seen and experienced reflect to the corners of my mind. I do not doubt that everything seen in nature reflects life in many ways shapes and forms.

As my pictures show, nature isn’t very perfect, but it sure goes after it with more hope than expectation. The seeds that fall into the smallest rock crevices can become a huge tree splitting the rock apart with its roots. The chewed off beaver birch stump grows new shoots from it’s roots and may well turn into a clump of birch trees all vying for nutrients and sunlight. The limbs of the cedar go out and out and bend upward hoping to catch a few rays of sun.

I often wonder how many expectations people around me think life owes them. I secretly have them. Secretly, because they take me by surprise. I know better in my head. Life owes us nothing. God owes us nothing, but I’m constantly reminded (especially in the wilderness in reflection) I owe Him everything.

I hope to take some of my BWCA experiences and reflections and mostly write on a deeper level using illustration, story and analogies (with pictures. I think in picture form). I’ll post some on what I call “My Spiritual Blog” (click here for a link)

I hope you have enjoyed a snippet of my favorite wilderness area. Let me know if you would like to plan a trip. I won’t set you up but I can give pointers, lists for what to take and how to plan your level of trip. It’s a good place to meet Jesus sooner than expected if you plan poorly or get in over your head.

Until then, push your canoe out into life’s currents with a paddle and a plan.


Note: All pictures taken with a very small and light kodak easy share camera

Published by Gary Fultz

Outdoors Man, Hunter, Fisherman, Guide, Writer / Author, Photographer, Public Speaker, Musician, Song Writer, Story Teller, Follower Of Jesus. Love God and family and total strangers

57 thoughts on “BWCA Adventure Expectations

  1. I know envy is a sin, but you’re responsible for provoking mine with this post brother πŸ™‚. Wish I could have been there to enjoy it with you, and the adrenaline spikes of “Jesus rocks” πŸ˜€. Paddle On!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Bruce. I took the worst camera I own as it was a rough trip on equipment and bodies as well. All planned that way. It starts by saying to a couple brothers “Before we get any older…”

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Well, all very good, except one mistake. No one ever needs anything more than CANDY CORN! When I first opened the blog, I immediately called to my bride and said, “Hey, hon, here’s a guy who likes tea and knows the value of candy corn like I do!”
    Course, then you spoiled my philosophy by showing pics of frying fresh fish that made my mouth water. (Did you ever realize that in America, ‘fresh fish’ means it has not be frozen … even though it’s been stored on an ice bed for three days πŸ™„. But in Hong Kong and most of the world, FRESH fish means you take it out of the water or tank and cook it!)
    If I ever come back to MN, I’m going to try and find your for a BWCA!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s great! I live in fresh fish country where the fillet is still quivering it’s so fresh. The wilderness fish come from very cold water and are exquisite. There is nothing better. The candy corn was a perk. I even use it for sweeteners in hot drinks. I would definitely like to try Hong Kong fresh fish off the boats

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh boy now I’m getting a hankering for the Rockies…five hours from me. Labor Day weekend our family will go and I’ll get my fill of adventure.

    Beautiful pics and I’m glad the Jesus rock didn’t overturn the canoe!!πŸ˜…Hope floats!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks Alicia. Yes, get the camera ready with spare battery. I go to the mountains once every 6 years it has work out to be. 15 hours for the closest mountains for me. BWCA is 5 hours away. The mountains and BWCA have the same draw for me even though they are totally different worlds and perspectives. Adventure in an untamed wilderness. Add family and create great times and memories.


  5. Life owes us nothing. God owes us nothing, but I’m constantly reminded (especially in the wilderness in reflection) I owe Him everything. Hummm…such a good read for my soul. More please.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I think I am recovering a bit and still reflecting on so much to take in from the woods and waters. I will probably do more on my spiritual blog…just posted one there


  6. Ha! except for the bugs that bite, I enjoyed every word of your post. Your sense of humour, your sense of adventure and your magnificent photos makes it for an extraordinary read.
    Thank you Gary. Will be checking lit your spiritual blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Crissy. Kind words. The bugs, the amount of work in a portage, rustic campsites, and canoe travel get quite hard for some. I think you would probably do well and love the adventures of the storms, raging waters and even bugs once out there. It’s worth the discomforts

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thankyou Stephanie, I wish I could share so well that a reader could smell wood smoke on their clothes the rest of the day…one could only dream. I suppose if we could share the gospel that deeply as followers of Jesus, the world would spin differently.


    1. Sometimes I get like a compass gone bad. I find myself acting like I believe the opposite is true. Even the sun starts setting in the wrong place and the not so funny jokes on me.


  8. Reminds me of a guided backpacking trip in Tennessee, me and twelve teenagers from our church back in 1985. Carried everything in and everything out. Bugs. Beautiful views. Sweat. Sleeping on the ground under a plastic tarp. Cool swimming holes. Sunsets and songs of worship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, those are what makes memories as well as character. You also find out who you can trust! Good times. We had leaky tents as a teen and used the plastic under the tent to put over the tent.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Amazing photographs! It is a world set apart…thank you for sharing the journey with us. Nature has so much to teach us about persevering and never giving up. Nature also delivers gifts of beauty that can only be divinely inspired. We see the reflection of God’s love everywhere. Our God who created the universe loves to delight and surprise us. There in the wilderness, survival is key; leaning into God’s arms comes easier, the canvas of sky and water and light and darkness becomes clearer. A great woods is a place to discover ourselves…we must bend as trees do in a storm, and we must continuously reach for the light of God’s love to sustain us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, you know a lot about the ways of the wilderness Linda. Those are great physical analogies of spiritual things. We discover ourselves in the harsh storms as well as in the quiet of early morning. We discover God in unexpected ways.
      We are veering into evening campfire insight sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I love your photos of the clouds reflected in the water, really helps with perspective. I could sit for hours just listening to the sounds of the wilderness, and don’t take the time often enough to do so at the moment. The tall tree with the short spiky branches also provided a bit of food for thought for me, how life can sometimes seem dangerous, but if we navigate well, with Jesus as our guide, we can find the beautiful views at the top of each climb we face.

    Thank you for sharing your stories and photos. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Hamish. You have hit the golden concept “perspective”. I am willing to spend a lot of time, energy and money to gain a little more perspective. I take pictures from a ” perspective” to create a “perspective”
      I would love to climb to the top of that tall spiny branched tree but I’m quite sure I would die trying. It’s tall and at a high point growing out of the bed rock on a peninsula. From it’s top one could see a thousand acres of wilderness.
      It could also be 150-200 years old which means it survived the logging attempts of the settlers in that area..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow. Trees do have tales to tell don’t they? There is so much more under the surface if we take the time to look, to listen, and to appreciate what God has put in front of and around us. My girlfriend relates stories of native birds she sees to me, and then asks me to let her know of any I have seen in my daily adventures. Little things, but so beautiful to notice.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Amazing pictures, Gary, and your description brings us along for the adventure. You said β€œnature isn’t perfect.” I would quibble. I see nature as perfect in its imperfections. It adapts to itself and whatever forces are exerted upon it. Thanks for another great look/read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank You Steve. You brought up something often discussed around the campfire. The efficiency of nature, the lack of emotion concerning life and death in nature and if the creator of it all cares about his creation. lots of quibble and waving of hands over the years.


  12. I’m pretty much envious of all your time on the water lol! Fishing on the bank is ok. Bug not like feeling the wind blow you around.

    Liked by 1 person

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