Sunday, July 08, 2007

BWCA 2007

I can report that the BWCA is all it's cracked up to be. We took a decidedly easy trip this year with only one 79 rod portage to Lake Isabella where our first campsite awaited. It's a large lake and with a fully loaded canoe against a strong headwind there were some hairy moments. My son is a relatively inexperienced paddler - not that I am any sort of expert.

We had very good weather all in all. The first night it was windy, really windy and cool, with a little light rain. After that it was beautiful. Fourth of July morning found the lake mirror smooth with a light fog that softened the distant shore. The mood was transcendental, asserting the primacy of the spiritual over the material and empirical. In other words - the reflections (as seen in the photo below) were simply breathtaking.

The infamous bugs were never overwhelming, but generous amounts of 98% DEET (Deep Woods Off) generally did the trick. About the third day, which is always the case, the black flies arrived. No one is quite sure why it takes the flies 3 days, but there may indeed be a direct correlation to the "stank" emitted by our bug spray encrusted bodies. Nevertheless I have been in far worse mosquito situations than this.

While we prepared for a visit from members of the local black bear population none came. Instead we were witness to a wide variety of wildlife everyday we were there. Among the denizens of the large island on Lake Isabella were the common loon, bald eagle, osprey, snowshoe hare, gyrfalcon, white tail deer, sea gulls, box turtle, common merganser, northern shrike, raven, crow, fox squirrel, several unidentified warblers and woodlands hawks and the ever present turkey vulture. It's not like we saw these animals spread out throughout the six days - we saw all of them, everyday!

It's unfortunate that rarely did I have a camera at the ready. Only if the object of desire stayed put for any length of time would I be able to snap a picture. Birds were particularly uncooperative, but remarkably the flowers could be counted on to hold a pose!

I admit that by day six I was ready for a hot shower and some non-freeze dried food. This is not to say the food was unpalatable, not at all. Our guide(s) - my brother and his wife - fixed up some mighty fine grub, mighty fine... We also had not one but two fish-fries, walleye and northern pike, they were both delicious.

I must say how impressed I was by the commitment of every member of our party (12 of us) to the zero impact policy. We were always aware of the trash we produced and dealt with immediately as to not let, let's say, the wind, carry it away while we assured ourselves we would "deal" with it later. While it's impossible not to have an affect on the environment we really tried to make our stay a temporary one and ensure that we didn't spoil it for the next group.

And what Boundary Waters trip would be complete with out a spectacular sunset ...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip.

12 people? I thought only 9 were allowed. :-)