Day 276: Paddling with a Dog

When we lifted Tank into the canoe for the first time on Bonnie Lake in late April, he had never been in a boat. The lake was still mostly frozen so we could only paddle in a narrow band of ice-free water along the shore. Amy held Tank while I slowly paddled. A few days later when there was enough open water for small waves to form, Tank barked continuously and tried to bite the water. We laughed when we realized he had run over many frozen lakes, but he had not seen an unfrozen lake since he was a young dog.

However, after two months of canoeing Tank has gotten the hang of it. He hops in the canoe when told (most of the time) and he sits calmly in front of Amy while we paddle. It has been interesting to watch him learn and become more comfortable in the canoe.

Day 275: Sunrise on Makwa

A thin vail of fog floated over Makwa as I slid our canoe into the water at dawn. The cliffs next to our campsite are spectacular anytime, but to float under them as the sun’s first rays cast a soft glow over the rock’s black and white streaks made us happy we rolled out of our sleeping bags early. As we glided silently below the rock with our necks craned towards the sky far above us, a pair of loons alighted in a chorus of haunting calls that echoed across the lake.

As the sun climbed higher we returned to camp to make breakfast and pack up. We were excited to listen to Day Break on WTIP as we sipped our @stonecreekcoffee and ate breakfast. By resting our tiny radio on our metal pot-grip and frybake we were able to get good service even on Makwa Lake in the heart of the Wilderness!

We paddled and portaged through 12 new lakes and streams today between Makwa Lake and Adams Lake. Most of these lakes receive very few visitors and we found ourselves cutting downed alders on many of the portages. It doesn’t appear than many groups have traveled between Fee, Vee, Ledge, and Cap this season. Tomorrow we are headed for the Louse River and look forward to navigating many more rugged, seldom-used portages over the next few days.

Day 274: Small Wonders in the Wilderness

274 days into our #wildernessyear to @savetheBWCA we are still constantly finding new things crawling, flying, leaping, running and blossoming around us.

This morning several mayflies were drying their wings on the outside of our tent and while munching on @sevensundaysMN Muesli I watched several mayfly nymphs crawl out of the water. As much as I enjoy watching these tiny creatures, my favorite recent arrival are the blue flag irises whose vibrant blossoms recently started adding a splash of color to many sun-soaked shorelines.

Day 273: Morning Magic on Snipe Lake

Silently gliding through dawn’s golden mist was like paddling through a dream. The 4:45 AM alarm was harsh, but this morning was our last chance to film with @arborealis and @mattyvanbiene for a film we are working on with @ductapethenbeer. The lake looked like a steaming cup of strong coffee. The choice was clear, we rubbed our eyes, got dressed and were floating through a foggy wonderland minutes later. For an hour and a half we slowly explored rock, trees, water and sky bathed in gold and laced with mist.

I never had the privilege of meeting Sigurd Olson, but I have to think that what we experienced this morning on Snipe Lake was the singing Wilderness that he described so eloquently in his essays. It was a gift to bear witness to such raw beauty.

When I Wave, You Wave. June 10th-17th, 2016

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Big Sky Country.

June 10th, 2016

The river days are flying by! We are settling into our river routine yet every day brings something new and unexpected our way. Up early, it was time for us to depart Lakeside on Hauser, one of our new favorite spots. Packing and getting on the water tends to take a little longer after a layover day. You have to get your mind and body tuned back into the routine. We weren’t the only ones up early. Our generous and fabulous hosts, the owners of Lakeside Restaurant, Cheryl and Conrad Hale were already up. Along with their daughters and some visiting friends, they were making jokes and drinking coffee on the porch. We snapped a few photos and bid farewell to our new friends, including Victoria and Luke the Bar Cat, and we got back on the water. 

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Alyce and Lisa with Cheryl and Conrad.

The sun shone bright on the lake that sat smooth as polished stone as we paddled across it- a big change from the waves that tossed us into shore the other day. As the lake began to narrow back into the Missouri River, we approached the Hauser Lake Dam and prepared to portage on river left (the terms “river left” and “river right” refer to the side of the river when facing downstream. If looking upstream, “river left” would be on your right). The steep shoreline appeared somewhat daunting as we approached. It seemed very difficult to haul packs up, let alone a canoe. We approached a sign warning us of the danger downstream. We pulled over and started to unload the canoe. Lisa took a pack and handful of gear up the steep bank and after struggling with the small load, went to scout other options. She found an easier spot to unload and haul the gear but it was much closer to the dam – we’d have to duck under the wire and slip past the danger sign. After confirming with the guide book that this is where other paddlers had taken out, and assessing our ability to safely approach the dam, we reloaded the boat and paddled on. There was virtually no current and the section of the dam ahead of us was a solid concrete wall, not the slots where water spills over – that was over on river right. As soon as the shore dipped down to a hospitable landing, we easily slid ourselves and all of our stuff out of the water. We agreed that we had made the right call as, for us, trying to haul our boat and gear up that steep shoreline would likely have been more dangerous than paddling a little closer to the dam. We are not advocating that anyone else ignore danger signs and paddle near dams, this was just the choice we made based on our assessment of the terrain, our abilities, and information from other paddlers. 

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The warning sign before Hauser Dam.

Once on the top of the dam, the view of the canyon took our breath away. Sheer, beautiful rock faces greeted us. The history of the earth recorded in these rocks is awe-inspiring. Thinking about all the geological forces, the weather, and time, that has shaped this landscape gave us much food for thought along the journey.

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The river below Hauser Dam.

Back in the boat, after the quick portage on the dirt road around the dam and we found ourselves in some swift current. Around 4pm, the storm cells that had been circulating began to descend upon us and we got out of the boat on the relative safety of shore to wait for the lightning to pass. Being surrounded by a storm with no shelter but your rain jacket opens your senses to the environment in new and unexpected ways. We watched the rain come down like someone dumping buckets of water from the sky. The heavy drops danced on the river, the grandest ballroom of all. The sweet, almost intoxicating smell of the willow released by the rain filled our nostrils and lungs. The sound of thunder echoing off the canyon walls made us feel small yet fully awake and alive – better than caffeine. The cool rain falling through the warm air created an enjoyable sensation on our cheeks and hands. If only our snacks weren’t tied up with our boat on the water. Lisa ate a flower from an evening primrose to round out the sensory experience. It was kind of bitter. When the beauty and grandeur of the rain and lightning had subsided, we appreciated the sight of a newly cleansed earth. 

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Lisa embracing the rain.

After contemplating camping where we had pulled over, we decided to continue on and nearer to the Gates of the Mountains. The canyons and rock walls opened up into Upper Holter Lake. The storms continued on, with occasional rain as we paddled the lake. We saw many pairs of fish in the shallows chasing each other, wrestling around with fins flapping on the water’s surface. We decided they must be spawning. The storm cells continued to threaten us from all sides but without any lightning near-by (within 6 miles), we felt safe continuing.

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The storm that followed us most of the afternoon.

Upon seeing the canyon walls we were happy with our decision to continue on. Once we got into the canyon, however, the wind increased dramatically as it was funneled by the steep and narrow rock walls. After battling a fierce headwind for about an hour, the land on our left flattened out and we discovered a delightful, primitive campsite. A primitive campsite is a spot to put a tent and place to build a fire – no toilet or drinking water. This one also had a homemade bench and the fire pit was made out of rocks unearthed from the surrounding land. We had a Trailtopia dinner and dessert which was perfect for the level of exhaustion we were both feeling. Just add hot water!

After a long day of paddling, portaging, assessing storms, and setting up camp, the post-dinner urge to crawl to the sleeping bag set in. But we were so enamored with our location that we decided to stay up a little longer. Alyce built a fire while Lisa played her guitar and sang. The sunlight radiated on the rock walls, as she began her nightly prayers to the earth. The golden light looked like it was coming out of the rocks at one point and the optical illusion was only intensified by the reflections of light on the water, bathing everything in white-gold. Beauty beyond compare and difficult to capture through a camera lens; some sights can only be experienced.

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View of the canyon from our camping spot for the evening.

All too soon it was time to go to bed. Though the fire, music, and fading light continued to tempt us, the need for rest won out and we said good-night. River life.

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Handmade fire pit and canyon.

June 11th, 2016

A typical morning, waking up and getting on the water in under an hour and a half. Breakfast as we floated along, mostly in silence, contemplating the rocks and the bald eagle hunting for breakfast overhead. The silence gave us a space to think our own thoughts and to honor the history and wisdom of the landscape. Plus, we had plenty of excitement coming our way as we would be meeting up with our friends, Torrye, Rachel, Mary, and Jeff today.

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Lisa in the bow (front) of the canoe, paddling through The Gates of the Mountain.

With calm water and virtually no current, we set back in to our “lake travel” cadence of non-stop paddling. After a couple of hours, we slipped through the “Gates of the Mountains” which is a large rock formation that, from the right vantage point looks like, you guessed it, gates. A stunning geologic feature that attracts many visitors, most of whom arrive in motor boat. As we deflected the wakes of other boaters with our hull, we paddled up to a sign telling the story of the Mann Gulch wildfire of 1949. Started by lightning, the fire took the lives of 13 smokejumpers and the lessons learned from this tragedy have been used to improve the training and safety of wildland firefighters today.

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Gates of the Mountain.

Paddling on through some of the most beautiful stretch of river we had encountered yet, we noticed how much Montanans love their outdoor recreating. Being a Saturday in June, there were hundreds of people out boating, floating, jet-skiing, and inner-tubing in the nice weather. We felt a little out of place in our canoe – the only person-powered craft out there aside from a lone kayaker. It’s funny to pass people sunning themselves on their weekend outside, while we are covered head-to-toe, trying to avoid sunburn. For us, there is no house or indoor space to go back to when our fun on the river is done. This is our home and our clothes are our shelter. We definitely looked the part of river rats as we passed by all these vacationers! We love it!

We could feel the afternoon wind pick up and as we rounded the last river bend onto Holter Lake. Our original plan was to paddle the 4 miles across the lake, portage the dam, and meet our friends at a campsite downstream of the Holter Dam. We decided to cross over to the east shore and see if we could camp at Log Gulch Recreation Area on the south end of the lake, saving ourselves the trouble of fighting a headwind for several hours. 

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Clouds and Sky.

We had fun sloshing through the big waves generated by the wind and motorboats. Once arriving at the Log Gulch, we pulled up on the beach and found a campsite a short walk away.. 

The place was totally packed with RVs and people. We had arrived at the right moment though, as a family was packing up their stuff and vacating a campsite with a huge section of green space and a gentle sloping hill. We quickly claimed that spot. No sooner had we moved in with all our gear and organized our life, and our friends Torrye Hart and Rachel Garwin arrived! We had not seen them in over a year (we all worked together at Voyageur Outward Bound School, VOBS, in Ely, Minnesota) and it was a fun reunion. We sat around the picnic table, talking, swapping stories and enjoying the locally brewed beer they had brought us. Rachel pulled out her “naturalist bag” full of guide books on local flora and fauna, and she and Lisa “geeked out” over some of the species of birds, mammals, and trees native to Montana. The juniper, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, Osprey, and pelican were a few of the species we could identify from our campsite.

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Rachel Garwin and one of her naturalist books.

We lit a fire and cooked up the bratwursts and veggies from T and R. We topped it with delicious sauerkraut and stuffed our faces as Mary Milodragovich and Jeff Weaver (also former VOBS instructors) rolled up. Exuberant hugs at another wonderful reunion! Mary and Jeff bestowed the gifts of dessert, an HDMI cord (for transferring photos from camera to computer), and a spaghetti squash that Jeff had rescued from the Dearborn River earlier in the day. Let’s talk about that dessert. S’mores, two options: traditional Hershey’s chocolate OR Reese’s peanut butter cup! If you have never tried a Reece’s peanut butter cup, squished between an oozing marshmallow and graham crackers, you have not lived. Try it today. 

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Reese’s s’more.

The evening passed all too quickly, as friends enjoyed good conversation, laughter, and the glow of the fire and the sunset painting the landscape in pinks, purples and oranges. We attempted to roast Jeff’s “river squash” over the fire. It only turned out okay. Midnight crept up on us and it was time to sleep, as we had miles to paddle tomorrow (technically today at this point in the story). Good-nights were exchanged and the dull thumping of the motorboats against the docks lulled us all to sleep.

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Torrey cooling her roasted marshmallow off, as the river squash cooks on the open fire.

June 12th, 2016

The six of us slowly trickled out of our various sleeping shelters around 7:45am and Torrye had already started the coffee. Go girl. This is a group of coffee drinkers and we’ve got our priorities straight. Mary had brought a special treat: half and half to add to the elixir of life. For Alyce this was much cause for celebration, as that is one of the things she misses the most when on trail.

Our long and joyous breakfast included bacon cooked by Rachel and another treat for Alyce and Lisa: yogurt. Thanks Torrye and Rachel! So many treats in such a short time! It was nice to have a slow breakfast since we were a day and a half ahead of our timeline. Mary, Torrye, and Rachel had agreed to participate in a group interview for our documentary. We are having a lot of fun being documentarians in these moments; setting up the I-phone to record and getting the microphones in place.  One mic on the camera filming and another connected to Alyce’s I-phone for recording just audio. We have learned to use multiple devices for recording and to back up our audio using two devices. Using buckets for seats, with the pine trees as the backdrop, an hour quickly passed discussing confidence and self-esteem. These conversations we are having with women along the river are tremendously powerful and provide us with fresh and new approaches to thinking about our own confidence and self-esteem. Each woman has her own ideas, experiences, and opinions. We have the privilege of listening and, in a sense bearing witness through the creation of our documentary, to each voice. Thank you, Mary, Torrye and Rachel for being courageous and vulnerable enough to let us in. 

River time is beholden to no one and all of a sudden it was 11am. We finished packing up, brought our boat and gear to the beach and loaded her up. Rachel and Torrye would be joining us for the 4.5 mile paddle to the Holter Dam where their car would be waiting for them. Jeff and Mary shuttled the car and drove into Helena to find us a much-needed piece of technology: a cord or converter for us to load footage off the Go-Pro and onto the computer. With limited storage space, we need to be able to transfer images regularly to free up room for all the new stuff we are experiencing. Unfortunately, the HDMI cord that Mary brought didn’t fit right, and again we had to send someone (this time Mary) out into the world again to find the correctly sized something-or-other.

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Rachel using her binoculars to read the sign, while Torrey sterns their canoe.

It was amazing to have women join us on the water again and the hour and a half paddle went by all too fast. You could see the gray concrete of the dam from a good distance and our notes stated that the portage would be on the left. As we approached, it was not clear exactly where the portage was and we could see another “Danger” sign. We spotted a brown sign slightly to the right of the “danger” sign, yet couldn’t make out the words. Rachel, ever- prepared naturalist and bird-watcher, pulled out her binoculars and identified that the sign said: PORTAGE HERE. Go girl.

Any easy portage down a dirt road brought us to a campground and boat launch for easy put-in to the river. We said good-bye to Rachel and Torrye, thanking them again for all the treats, making the drive to spend time with us, and paddling. These are two top-notch women that we are thankful to call friends!

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The portage around the Holter Dam.

Back on the Missouri River and in current! There were a lot of people out: inner-tube-ers floating the river; kayakers enjoying the bird-watching; rafters fishing for trout; and us in our green canoe. The 8-mile paddle from Holter Dam to the Craig Fishing and Access site went by fast. 6 to 8 miles-per-hour fast! Thank you, Big Muddy! We also couldn’t stop talking about how awesome our friends are.

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Amazing friends. From left: Lisa, Jeff, Mary, Alyce, Torrey and Rachel.

Mary and Jeff met us at the boat landing in Craig and gifted us with mangos, salad greens, and candy gummi worms. Where did we find such an amazing support crew! They also brought us a memory card reader to facilitate picture transfers. While we were testing our new piece of equipment (thanks, again, Mary!) near the river, a group that had just pulled up started asking questions about all of our gear. We told them, a family with two young daughters, about our mission to become the first all-female expedition to to canoe the 4th longest river system in the world. The older of the two girls became very enthusiastic, an adventurer herself, expressed her desire to do something like this someday. We took some photos and gave her and her sister an official SOC button (handmade). It was a great moment to get to share in her excitement.

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Spreading our message of building confidence through positive risk.

Riding the wave of inspiration, we set up camp at a nearby campground and swam in the river to cool off. Jeff treated us to burgers and ice cream and we talked about life on the river, fishing, and gender equity –standard topics these days. Jeff headed home and the wave of inspiration kept flowing. Alyce set in to furiously type up some reflections and Lisa dug in to the guitar. A group of four musicians strolled up to the riverfront and caught our attention. Waiting for the right moment (and confidence) to approach them, Lisa got sidetracked by the neighboring group of campers who asked to hear some tunes. They were a group of fishermen who had been coming to this spot for more than 20 years together. Lisa played a couple of Allman Brothers and Eagles songs and talked about the expedition for a bit. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the musicians sneaking away and she quickly excused herself from the group of fisherman and darted down the street after the mysterious band.

Catching up to them and catching her breath, she asked what they were up to – they had instruments and costume implements and appeared to have been making a music video. One explained that they were indulging him in his alter-ego, “Hans”, an eccentric German drummer. This immediately activated one of Lisa’s alter-egos, “Liesel” an eccentric German guitar player, and with her guitar slung over her shoulder, the group invited her to jam. It turned out these guys – Tom, Robb, Matt, and Matt – were also here for a reunion – they hadn’t all been together in 20 years! After an hour or so of music, Alyce joined the group and we played and sang and laughed in German accents until midnight snuck up on us again.

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Matt, Alyce, Robb and Lisa.

As we were leaving, Robb handed Lisa the shaker he had been using all night. It was a band of small mountain goat hooves from Bolivia and he wanted us to take it on the expedition. Cool. All the guys were very excited about what we were doing and sent us off with a lot of well-wishes for the journey. After a big positive risk and new-found confidence, one of the best river days came to a close.

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The nails, gifted to us by Robb.

June 13th, 2016

Got a case of the Mondays? After a wonderful weekend of fun with friends, it was a slow-moving morning. On the water by 9:45, the river had a good current. We ate breakfast while floating and had a fruitful conversation about our roles and what responsibilities we will each take on. We practiced vulnerability, a challenge for both of us. Expressing feelings and opinions when they may be different and maybe even disagreeable to another person is a hard thing to do. Spending so much time together, we must to have a lot of these daring conversations to understand each other and find compromises. We are also learning more about who the other person is, what is important to them, and how to support them in being their best self. This is hard work! It takes a lot of energy and is really messy a lot of the time but is crucial to building trust which is exactly what you need to have with your expedition partner.The intense and positive conversation of the morning invited the intense afternoon sun and we had to swim to regulate our body temperatures. Over-heating can cause real problems on an expedition. It is also a full-time job protecting yourself from the sun, staying hydrated, and then having to pee every hour. These are our daily-concerns.

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Lisa and Alyce, with their for the day spider companion.

Our destination for the day near Cascade, MT and we reached it earlier in the day, around 3:30. Not finding any desirable camping spots, we continued on past the boat ramp after the bridge on river left. Remember that hot sun? It kept blaring and without realizing it, we both became a bit dehydrated and didn’t notice how hungry we were. Hunger, dehydration, and the hot afternoon sun are the breeding grounds for irritation. Even though we had JUST had a great conversation about personal goals and how to work better as a team, these factors caught us off-guard and we found ourselves annoyed with each other, yet again. We decided to implement one of the conflict resolution strategies we had talked about before and took a break before talking. We set up camp on a small island with a rock gravel bar and swam again to cool off. The sun was directly overhead and the heat was not relenting. The small island life comes with many benefits though does have one significant drawback: a severe deficit of shade.

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Spiders have become our constant companions.

We each spent the rest of the afternoon writing, reading and of course, swimming. Alyce cooked up a dinner of lentil and quinoa stew which was followed by a logistics planning phone call with Viki. After the call, we attempted to re-address the attitudes from earlier in the day, but now exhaustion hindered our ability to be patient or productive so we decided to try sleep and went to bed a little on edge, but agreeable. The temperature changed dramatically as the sun slipped away. It felt amazing to have a finally cooled-off body. Falling asleep was easy and we were both in our tents before 9pm.

June 14th, 2016

 The current was moving faster in the morning, making our floating breakfast feel very productive. A quiet morning, each of us using the river’s space and time to reflect and decide whether it was worth bringing up the petty irritations from the day before – it wasn’t, so we dropped it. We decided to laugh and tell stories instead.

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Paddling around the storm.

After lunch a storm closed in on us. Because of the way the river snakes and winds around big bends, we got to see the storm from many angles. This made it a lot of fun to play around with our documenting equipment. Each time it would start to rain we would put our rain coats on, it would sprinkle on us and then we would move out from underneath the storm. The rain would stop falling on us and because the sun was sharing the sky with the storm, the heat would force us out of our coats only to put them back on minutes later as the river rounded back under the rain. We put our raincoats on no fewer than 6 times, singing and in good spirits the whole time. It was an entertaining way to spend the afternoon.

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View from our camping spot.

As we started to look for a desirable island to camp on near Ulm, MT, we noted that the landscape had changed into a marshy river land. Up until now it had been fairly easy to find an island with a gravel bar (Alyce’s favorite type of camping location), though this was proving more difficult given the new terrain. Eventually we came around a bend, now a couple of miles north of Ulm, and discovered a grassy, flat shoreline below the “high water” mark. The main allure: it was not just mud; as most other spots we had passed. This camp spot provided beautiful vistas of the hills and rock outcroppings across the mighty Missouri River.

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Minne the guitar.

Camp set-up and organized, dinner made and consumed, and another day of river life well-lived. We each retired to our tents to write and read. Lisa played her guitar, Minne, and along with the wind, created a lullaby that put the trees, sun and people to sleep.

June 15th, 2016

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Rusted old cars lining the river bank as we enter Great Falls, MT.

A usual quiet morning, we got on the water in an hour and fifteen minutes. We enjoyed the cloudy sky, as we breakfast floating down the river. We communicated with Viki early on to say we would be arriving in Great Falls today. Viki would be meeting us there with her awesome presence, a re-supply of food, and fresh memory cards for the Go-Pro. We would need all of these things and her support as we reached another expedition milestone: the 16 mile portage around the 5 dams of Great Falls. The morning went by quickly and in no time we found ourselves approaching Great Falls. As we came into the city on the river, the far shore was lined with the rusting bodies of old cars, creating the most unique retaining wall either of us had ever seen. It was a strange and beautiful sight. We paddled close to the bank, taking in the details: metal coils, rusted springs, steering wheels, the unique contours of a different era of vehicles. The line of cars extended out of view and we enjoyed the procession all the way to where the Sun River flows into the Missouri, on river left immediately after the first bridge.

Norm Miller, our friend and resident MO river expert, had informed us that there was an RV park about a mile up the Sun River that we could access from the water. We pulled up to the make-shift take-out which was a dusty patch of land under a bridge. Since we had arrived here around 3pm, we took some time to hang in the canoe under the shade of the bridge in our canoe. We have come to enjoy time under bridges more than either of us could have anticipated. We pulled out the instruments – our guitar and mountain goat toenail shaker, which we now refer to as “the nails” and created some music videos.

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Lisa capturing the odd beauty of the cars in the river.

Finally deciding it was time to make our way to the camping spot, we reluctantly got out of the canoe. Our portage cart has been doing a spectacular job of helping us move across land, holding a lot of our gear, as we carry our packs. The RV park was huge and full of goliath-sized vehicles that people use to see the country and live out of. Very similar to what we are doing, in a sense: carrying most of what you own with you as you travel from place to place and stay longer in some places than others. We checked in at the office, found the tenting area and got our camp set up.  The spots were a bit smaller than we are used to and it took a little getting used to the car traffic and having neighbors so close. We were hoping Viki would meet us that night so we could get an early start on the day. On river time, plans morph and change all the time and Viki couldn’t make it. We decided to get up early and finish our paddle to the 15th street bridge where we would meet Viki to start the portage.

There is a well maintained portage take-out on river right, across from where the Sun River enters the Missouri. A large sign directs you to this spot and there is a list of numbers you can call for assistance portaging the 26 miles around the 5 dams. Since we are using the strength of our bodies to move our canoe the whole distance, we opted for a different route. We had heard about another route from our friend and fellow through-paddler, Will Garvin, the week before and his route cut 10 miles off of the total distance. Easy choice. Another dinner of lentil and quinoa stew, we made a plan to get moving at 5:30am. The weather forecast was calling for 25 mile-per-hour winds starting around 9am, so we wanted to get on the water early and complete the paddle to the bridge. In our tents early, we were hoping for a goodnights rest.

June 16th, 2016

Each day, we wake up knowing that certain things will happen. We know that we will use our bodies to move our canoe and that we will eat food and drink water. We know we will laugh, have challenging conversations, and probably be too hot or cold and that we will document it as much as possible, using our cameras and journals. What we don’t know is who we will meet and all the support we will receive from folks that were strangers initially and become friends instantly.

June 16th was one of those mysterious days which, for Alyce, began at was 3:30am. Our camping neighbors had had much too much to drink and were getting rowdy. Not the good, fun kind of rowdy, but the semi-dangerous kind. Alyce debated calling the police when the yelling finally subsided. Lisa, wearing ear plugs, missed out on most of the commotion. Falling back asleep did not happen for Alyce and when the alarm went off at 5:30, both women continued to try and find sleep for another half an hour. It did not come. Alyce requested more time, in a futile attempt at more rest. Eventually, it was time to move and it was not a good morning. Trying to get out of there quickly and on the water, we skipped coffee and ate a small breakfast. Thank goodness for the K’ul chocolate endurance bar, with enough calories and 8 grams of protein to get the muscle moving in the morning

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Approaching the 15th Street Bridge, where the portage take out is.

As we got on to the Sun River which would take us back to the Missouri, the wind began to pick up from behind us. This is known as a tailwind and can be helpful up to a certain point, though when it starts to pick up in intensity, it can bring waves of water into the boat and make it difficult to steer. After about an hour, we reached the 15th St. bridge and it was good we got on the water when we did. Those predicted 30 mph wind gusts had just started. We unloaded the canoe as quickly as we could and carried everything up to the road where we would meet Viki.

Viki arrived shortly after and we had a great reunion with coffee, fresh food, and good conversation. It was nearly 10:30am, the time we had said we wanted to start so we made a plan to get moving. Managing our time goals is still an area we are figuring out, as we often lose track of time while deep in meaningful conversations. Realizing that we needed to clear up some memory cards, we spent another hour getting that done while organizing what we would need for the day. For some reason, it is still surprising just how long things can take to get done. Finally ready to start the portage, the canoe locked and loaded, Lisa’s phone rang. It was a local news reporter from ABC-FOX Montana, Melinda Zosh, and she wanted to do a live interview with us for the local Great Falls news station, KFBB. Our first television interview! This was probably the best way to go into the 16-mile portage, with thoughts of being on television swirling in our brains as we started walking.

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Viki transferring videos and pictures, to clear up our camera memory cards.

Within a few minutes some guys in a Northwestern energy company truck stopped and asked if we wanted a ride around the dams. The energy company provides free shuttle service to paddlers. We explained that we were doing this on purpose. We would have many more experiences like this one throughout the day, with kindhearted individuals asking if we wanted a ride or if we were “alright”. Our responses of “yes, we are doing this on purpose” worked to get the point across.

The first few hours moved quickly, as we pulled the canoe along the paved road and had a few more conversations with curious people driving by. We had to cross the highway two times, as we did a diagonal cut around it on dirt roads, in order to avoid walking next to the fast moving cars and trucks. When we made it to Morony Dam Rd, we were feeling triumphant! To pass the time, Lisa pulled out her guitar and Alyce got “the nails” and we made music while pulling the canoe along the paved road. Viki filmed us and we created some stellar music videos! Get excited to view those.

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A wonderful site for sore feet.

All of a sudden it was 4:30 pm and Melinda pulled up in her car. What an awesome, enthusiastic, and professional woman! After introductions, she got to setting up her camera and talking us through the process of how the interview would go. “When I wave, you wave” she told us. We laughed. With her equipment set-up, we practiced for the live television interview, as Melinda streamed our answers live to her Facebook page. Then it was time for our minute on the local 5pm broadcast. It was an incredible experience to be interviewed about what we are doing while portaging our canoe. We definitely felt the adrenaline from this monumental moment for Source of Confidence and us.

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Getting interviewed by Melinda while portaging the canoe.

After the interview, Lisa started playing guitar while we waited to go on again at 6:00. Melinda continued to film a bit and then we told stories and made plans to for her to join us in the canoe on Monday. She wanted to get more footage and ask us more questions for a longer piece on our journey. For our second live interview, Melinda’s producer (also a woman!) wanted Lisa to sing and play the guitar, with Alyce providing back-up vocals and toe-nail accompaniment. *NOTE: this is a huge leap in confidence to go from being apprehensive to play with a group of strangers to playing on live television within the span of 5 days. That’s what positive risk-taking is all about though and here was a great opportunity. In position, Melinda started the introduction, Alyce explained what we are doing and then Lisa began the song. We got to be on air for longer than initially planned! Dang. That felt good.

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Alyce and the canoe crossing a set of railroad tracks during the portage.

With adrenaline, energy and all the good feelings pumping in our bodies, it was time to get back to the work, hauling out canoe along the road. Having started this 16-mile portage at noon, we knew that the moon and stars would be our back-drop for the end. Viki went into town and got pizza for dinner which we devoured in under 5 minutes and got back to work. While trekking along, we also still had to figure out our camping situation for the evening. Since we wanted to spend a few days in Great Falls, we were hoping to store our canoe and some gear at the Morony Dam (we will be back on the river on Monday, June 20th). Ms. Mary Milo for the win, again! As luck would have it, Mary’s dad, Sam, works for North Western Energy, the company in charge of the dams. He got in touch with the right people and secured us a spot to stow our canoe. He also gave us the details on where to camp. Thanks, Sam!

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4 miles left to go out of the 16 mile portage.

We had learned earlier in the day that Sacajawea, Lewis, and Clark had been working their way around Great Falls on these same dates 211 years ago. The river was not blocked by dams in 1805, but they still had to portage the 5 sets of falls, just like we were doing. This timing was total coincidence. We had no idea that the dates of our portages were the same. Thanks, Norm Miller, for tipping us off! We could feel the history in our bones and were awestruck by the immensity of our experience as the sun started to set. Our feet and hips were hurting from the walking (going from 3 weeks of sitting all day in a canoe, to pounding out 16 miles on pavement meant the ache was inevitable); yet we were still riding the high of being interviewed on live television. The sky turned orange and pink as we started moving back down towards the river. The moon and stars made their appearance, not wanting to be left out of this historic day. The same moon was hanging in the sky when Sacajawea was here helping to guide the Lewis and Clark expedition. Did she have the same vistas as us? Did she stand in the same spots we were standing? There is magic in living history, in being in the same place and at the same time as someone who came long before you.

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The sun starting to set as we near the end of the portage.

Viki had gone ahead of us and set up our tents so we could just crash. Around 10:30 pm we rolled in to the upper parking lot of the Morony Dam. Wow. The portage around Great Falls was done (well almost, we still needed to bring our boat closer to the water, about half a mile from where we were). Another huge expedition milestone accomplished. We all piled in the tent and ate chips and laughed with one another before saying “nighty noodle” and drifting into dream world.

June 17th, 2016

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Alyce popping her head out of the tent, as Lyle wakes us up.

“You ladies awake yet?” A voice rang through our camp around 9am. It was Lyle Fogerty, the foreman of the Ryan and Morony Dams. Sam had informed him of our expedition the day before and he showed up to see how he could lend a hand. We had a lively conversation with Lyle and made a plan for storing our canoe at the Morony Dam. During this time we asked about camping spots in town. Being on a budget, the high camping fee costs for the weekend had rendered those spots as non-options. Initially Lyle offered us his mother-in-law’s yard to pitch our tents for the weekend. After talking more, he offered us the use of his house for the weekend, as he and his wife, Bonnie, were staying in town for the weekend. We were blown away by his generosity.

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Viki capturing the moment we finished the portage.

Although physically and mentally tired from the 16-mile portage, we rallied ourselves and brought our canoe down to the dam. We celebrated the accomplishment by jumping up and down for a few seconds and then laying on the pavement. We hopped in the car and headed to Ryan Dam where Lyle showed us around the island that Sacajawea, Lewis, and Clark camped on while they made their way around the Great Falls. During this time we discovered that on this exact date June 17th, William Clark had been there and remarked on the same falls we were seeing 211 years later. Yet again, it is difficult to put into words all the feelings that arose during this moment of feeling a part of history. It was very powerful, indeed.

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June 17th, a historical day for Source of Confidence and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Our tour of the Ryan Dam was astonishing as we got to see the mechanics that go into harnessing the power of the river. The Ryan Dam is what’s called a “run-of-the-river” hydroelectricity plant which means that water is not stored above it. The river runs through the plant to generate electricity by rotating large turbines. Any excess water not needed to run the plant spills over the top of the dam. We thought it was pretty cool that the river could mostly do it’s thing and that they didn’t flood the river valley to create a reservoir. Lyle was an expert, he knew everything about that dam and he was a fun tour-guide. He also showed us a nest of eaglets, 3 months old, on the island. He told us that one of them had fallen out of the nest about a month ago and when we gasped, he explained that it was likely on purpose. “They learn to fly from the ground,” he told us. “They eventually get kicked out of the nest to learn to fly.” Now doesn’t that sound familiar? Taking a risk to learn something new? We laughed out the comparison of our experiences with the little eagles. “Everybody fails,” said Lyle, “if you don’t fail, you aren’t trying hard enough.”

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Touring the inside of the Ryan Dam.

We drove back to Lyle’s house to drop off our stuff before heading up to the top of the dam in Lyle’s truck. It was fun to connect with Lyle over our midwestern roots, the three of us from Minnesota and he a big cheese head from Wisconsin. The conversation continued as Lyle brought us to the top of the Ryan Dam. As we walked along the top, taking in the landscape and downward view of the dam, it was another one of those “can’t believe this is our life right now” moments. The view was incredible. And it’s one that not a lot of folks get to see. A top-notch day.

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Ryan Dam and the Great Fall.

By this point in the afternoon, we were all feeling the enormity of the day before and were in desperate need of a nap and some serious re-hydration. We discussed trying to make it into town for the opening night of the Lewis and Clark festival happening over the weekend (another example of river time working its magic, as we did not know about the festival before planning to stay in town for the weekend). Turns out what we needed was rest and so we napped for many hours.

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Lisa, Alyce and Viki on top of the Ryan Dam.

While Viki made a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs (made ever-so-convenient by the availability of a conventional stove!), Lyle and his wife, Bonnie, arrived to get a few items for the weekend. What extraordinary people! We had a great time talking about our expedition and their lives as midwesterners in Montana. Meeting people and learning their histories is one of the most fun aspects of traveling rivers like the Missouri. When we asked how we could re-pay the kindness, Lyle told us, “I have a daughter, and I always hope people will treat her well wherever she goes.” Well, Lyle, we will definitely pay it forward.

Although we had each taken long naps we needed a full night of sleep. We said “nighty-noodle” (our nightly ritual) to each other shortly after Bonnie and Lyle left. We decided our bodies would be our alarm clocks the next morning and we would use the day to work at the library. It is important to have mornings with a relaxed vibe and we are definitely due for one. Good rest would also be necessary for attending the Lewis and Clark Festival the next day.

Day 268: This Quiet Place

Jerry Vandiver was bitten by the Boundary Waters bug many years ago and has been making regular pilgrimages from Nashville ever since. Eric Frost has also been coming to the Boundary Waters for 20 plus years. We met in the Boundary Waters and founded the Wilderness Classroom together.

Eric and Jerry are talented, professional musician and Jerry has been a professional song writer for many years.

We were thrilled when Jerry shared his idea of writing a song inspired by the Boundary Waters and A Year in the Wilderness. However, we were not sure how we could help. Amy kept saying, ” I sure hope they aren’t expecting me to sing!” Jerry and Eric worked hard on the song before they paddled out to see us, but we were able to help compose the final verse and be part of the song writing process, which was really fun. So we send a big thank you to Eric, Jerry, Amberly, and Nick for joining us, and we hope you enjoy our song.

This Quiet Place

This stream that flows so clearly And seems to know how dearly Each turn, each tumble, each drop so humble Each sparkle of light gives its gift of life

To this lake that only wants us to listen To the fate of is endless mission Unspoiled unchanging yet always rearranging From winter’s deep cold to the beauty that holds

The birch, cedar, white pine and spruce That whisper a timeless chorus With their deep and far reaching roots That echo the steps of all those before us

This ground that lies so sacred And sound as it awaits us With so much at stake we shoulder its fate And its preservation for all generations Standing proudly, we must speak loudly

For this place, this quite place This quiet place.

Day 267: Boundary Waters Birthday Party

Jerry Vandiver, Eric Frost, Amberly Rosen, and Nick Hoins paddled out to visit us. Yesterday was Amberly’s 30th birthday. Jerry and Nick baked her chocolate brownies for her birthday. Jerry led us in a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday as Amberly prepared to blow out the candles.

Today Amy, Jerry, Eric, and I put the finishing touches on a new song that Eric and Jerry have been composing. The song was inspired by the Boundary Waters and A Year in the Wilderness. The new song, This Quiet Place, will debut on WTIP’s Roadhouse this Friday evening.

Day 267: Painted Turtle Lays Eggs in our Campsite

Yesterday evening Amy spotted this painted turtle walking around near our campsite. We were pretty sure that she was looking for a place to dig a hole and lay eggs. Being careful not to disturb her, we checked on her from a distance every few minutes. Over the course of two hours she dug a shallow hole with her back legs, laid her eggs, and then used her back legs to cover the hole with dirt. After she was done, she crawled 50 feet back to the lake and disappeared. The circle of life continues.

100 Days Left in the Wilderness

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It’s that time of year again. The school year is wrapping up and soon summer break will be upon us. We will be taking a break for the summer too. This will be the last Notes from the Trail until the end of August. We will still post regular Daily Data entries and you can find photos and frequent posts on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Dave, Tank and I will still be in the Wilderness when you return to school in the fall. We have just about one hundred days left until September 23, 2016. That is the day we plan to exit the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. We have visited 322 lakes, rivers and streams so far.

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In case you’re curious, here is the list of water bodies we have visited so far:

1. South Kawishiwi River
2. Bruin Lake
3. Clear Lake
4. Eskwagama Lake
5. North Kawishiwi River
6. Conchu Lake
7. South Farm Lake
8. Little Gabbro Lake
9.  Gabbro Lake
10. Bald Eagle Lake
11. Quadga Lake
12. Rice Lake
13. Isabella River
14. Isabella Lake
15. Perent River
16. Boga Lake
17. Perent Lake
18. Snake River
19. Gull Lake (near Bald Eagle)
20. Camdre Lake
21. Pietro Lake
22. Clearwater Lake
23. Turtle Lake
24. Kawishiwi River
25. Lake One
26. Lake Two
27. Lake Three
28. Lake Four
29. Hudson Lake
30. Insula Lake
31. Recline Lake
32. Kiana Lake
33. Thomas Lake
34. Hatchet Lake
35. Ima Lake
36. Cattyman Lake
37. Gibson Lake
38. Ashigan Lake
39. Ensign Lake
40. Vera Lake
41. Knife Lake
42. Amoeber Lake
43. Topaz Lake
44. Cherry Lake
45. Hanson Lake
46. Toe Lake
47. Splash Lake
48. Newfound Lake
49. Moose Lake
50. Wind Lake
51. Bassood Lake
52. Range Lake
53. Sandpit Lake
54. Mudro Lake
55. Tin Can Mike Lake
56. Horse Lake
57. Horse River
58. Basswood River
59. Sucker Lake
60. Found Lake
61. Skull Lake
62. Boot Lake (near Snowbank)
63. Unnamed lake between Boot and Snowbank
64. Snowbank Lake
65. Parent Lake
66. Disappointment Lake
67. Ahsub Lake
68. Jitterbug Lake
69. Adventure Lake
70. Three Eagle
71. Swing Lake
72. Abinodji
73. Birch Lake
74. Carp Lake
75. Seed Lake
76. Melon Lake
77. Bonnie Lake
78. Spoon Lake
79. Unnamed lake between Spoon and Sema (west)
80. Unnamed lake between Spoon and Sema (east)
81. Sema Lake
82. Eddy Lake
83. Jenny Lake
84. Annie Lake
85. Ogishkemuncie Lake
86. Spice Lake
87. Skindance Lake
88. Kingfisher Lake
89. Jasper Lake
90. Tern Lake
91. Alpine Lake
92. Rog Lake
93. Seagull Lake
94. Paulson Lake
95. Glossy Lake
96. Elusion Lake
97. Glee Lake
98. Fay Lake
99. Chub River
100. Warclub Lake
101. Seahorse Lake
102. French Lake
103. Peter Lake
104. Gabimichigami Lake
105. Agamok Lake
106. Mueller Lake
107. Calico Lake
108. Barter Lake
109. Portage Lake
110. Good Lake
111. Hula Lake
112. Wood Lake
113. Fall Lake
114. Mud Lake
115. Ella Hall Lake
116. Muskeg Lake
117. Fourtown Lake
118. Boot Lake (near Fourtown)
119. Fairy Lake
120. Gun Lake
121. Bullet Lake
122. Moosecamp Lake
123. Gull Lake (near Gun)
124. Home Lake
125. Angleworm Lake
126. Mudhole Lake
127. Thunder Lake
128. Beartrap Lake
129. Tease Lake
130. North Hegman Lake
131. South Hegman Lake
132. Newton Lake
133. Manomin Lake
134. Ottertrack Lake
135. Gijikiki Lake
136. Rivalry Lake
137. Lake of the Clouds
138. Lunar Lake
139. Grub Lake
140. Muzzle Lake
141. Kobe Lake
142. Moiyaka Lake
143. Alworth Lake
144. Harmony Lake
145. Fraser Lake
146. Muskrat Lake
147. Trinity Lake
148. Shepo Lake
149. Saugus Lake
150. Roe Lake
151. Gerund Lake
152. Ahmakose Lake
153. Wisini  Lake
154. Strup Lake
155. Kekekabic Lake
156. Kek Lake
157. Pickle Lake
158. Ester Lake
159. Rabbit Lake
160. Totem Lake
161. Link Lake
162. Clam Lake
163. Ashdick Lake
164. Swamp Lake
165. Saganaga Lake
166. Tenor Lake
167. Zephyr Lake
168. Plume Lake
169. Dix Lake
170. Skoota Lake
171. Missionary Lake
172. Trader Lake
173. Explorer Lake
174. Benezie Lake
175. Drumstick Creek
176. Quartz Lake
177. Unnamed lake 1 (east) west of Quartz
178. Unnamed lake 2 (west) west of Quartz
179. Delta Lake
180. Bridge Lake
181. Horseshoe Lake (near Lake Three)
182. Brewis Lake
183. Harbor Lake
184. North Wilder Lake
185. Fire Lake
186. Cache Lake
187. Alice Lake
188. Hum Lake
189. Carol Lake
190. Fishdance Lake
191. River Lake
192. Amber Lake
193. Kivaniva Lake
194. Anit Lake
195. Pan Lake
196. Panhandle Lake
197. Unnamed Lake between Panhandle and Makwa
198. Makwa Lake
199. Birl Lake
200. Churn Lake
201. Hotfoot Lake
202. Elton Lake
203. Unnamed lake between Elton and Little Saganaga
204. Little Saganaga Lake
205. Elm Lake
206. Ecstasy Lake
207. Mora Lake
208. Whipped Lake
209. Fente Lake
210. Afton Lake
211. Frost River
212. Pencil Lake
213. Bologna Lake
214. Chase Lake
215. Octopus Lake
216. Frost Lake
217. Unload Lake
218. Gordon Lake
219. Cherokee Lake
220. Cherokee Creek
221. Skoop Lake
222. Ada Lake
223. Ada Creek
224. Sawbill Lake
225. Smoke Lake
226. Burnt Lake
227. Flame Lake
228. Kelly Lake
229. Jack Lake
230. Weird Lake
231. Peterson Lake
232. Baker Lake
233. Vern River
234. South Temperance Lake
235. Brule Lake
236. Juno Lake
237. South Cone Lake
238. Middle Cone Lake
239. North Cone Lake
240. Davis Lake
241. Cliff Lake
242. Wanihigan Lake
243. Mulligan Lake
244. Lily Lake
245. Vernon Lake
246. Swan Lake
247. Skidway Lake
248. Dugout Lake
249. South Brule River
250. Marshall Lake
251. Bower Trout Lake
252. Vern Lake
253. Whack Lake
254. Homer Lake
255. Unnamed lake south of Homer Lake
256. East Pipe Lake
257. Pipe Lake
258. Echo Lake
259. Winchell Lake
260. Pup Lake
261. Unnamed lake between Pup and Davis Lake
262. Gaskin Lake
263. Horseshoe Lake
264. Vista Lake
265. Misquah Lake
266. Little Trout Lake
267. Rum Lake
268. Kroft Lake
269. Ram Lake
270. Caribou Lake
271. Lizz Lake
272. Unnamed lake between Caribou and Meeds
273. Meeds Lake
274. Swamp Lake
275. Jake Lake
276. Lux Lake
277. Carl Lake
278. Morgan Lake
279. Brule River
280. Allen Lake
281. Jump Lake
282. Pillsbury Lake
283. Swallow Lake
284. Henson Lake
285. Otto Lake
286. Omega Lake
287. Kiskadinna Lake
288. Muskeg Lake
289. Long Island Lake
290. Cave Lake
291. Ross Lake
292. Sebeka Lake
293. Banadad Lake
294. Rush Lake
295. Little Rush Lake
296. Skipper Lake
270. One Island Lake
298. Unnamed lake north of Sebeka
299. Karl Lake
300. Doe Lake
301. Fawn Lake
302. Lower George Lake
303. Rib Lake
304. Cross Bay Lake
305. Dawkins Creek
306. Snipe Lake
307. Copper Lake
308. Hubbub Lake
309. Howl Lake
310. Tuscarora Lake
311. Owl Lake
312. Crooked Lake (near Tuscarora)
313. Jerry Lake
314. Tarry Lake
315. Gillis Lake
316. Fern Lake
317. Powell Lake
318. West Fern Lake
319. Virgin Lake
320. Rattle Lake
321. Leg Lake
322. Rapture Lake

 

Of all the lakes on this list, which one sounds the most interesting to you? Why?

Share your answer!

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We have seen 88 species of animals during our 265 days in the Wilderness. Here is the list of animals we have observed out here:

Alder flycatcher
American goldfinch
American redstart
American robin
American toad
Bald eagle
Barn swallow
Barred owl
Beaver
Belted kingfisher
Black and white warbler
Black-capped chickadee
Black-throated green warbler
Blue-headed vireo
Blue jay
Blue spotted salamander
Brown creeper
Boreal chickadee
Bufflehead
Canada goose
Cedar waxwing
Chipmunk
Chipping sparrow
Cisco
Common goldeneye
Common grackle
Common loon
Common merganser
Common redpoll
Deer mouse
Downy woodpecker
Double-crested cormorant
Great blue heron
Hairy woodpecker
Hermit thrush
House finch
Fisher
Garter snake
Gray jay
Gray wolf
Hermit thrush
Herring gull
Lake trout
Least flycatcher
Mallard
Mink
Moose
Muskrat
Nighthawk
Northern flicker
Northern Pike
Northern saw-whet owl
Northern slider
Osprey
Pied-billed grebe
Pileated woodpecker
Pine grosbeak
Pine marten
Pine siskin
Purple finch
Raven
Red-Backed Vole
Red-breasted nuthatch
Red squirrel
Red-tailed hawk
Ring-billed gull
River otter
Ruby-throated hummingbird
Ruffed grouse
Rusty crayfish
Smallmouth bass
Snapping turtle
Snowshoe Hare
Song sparrow
Spotted sandpiper
Spring peeper
Spruce grouse
Sucker
Trumpeter swan
Tundra swan
Turkey vulture
Walleye
Whitefish
White-tailed deer
White-throated sparrow
Wood duck
Wood frog
Yellow-rumped warbler

Do any of these animals live in your area? What are some animals that live in your area, but not in the BWCAW?

Share your answer!

Dave and I hope that you spend some time outside this summer. There are lots of fun activities you can do outside, like going to a nearby park or nature reserve. There are some interesting apps that can help you identify animals and keep track of the animals you see over the summer. We will continue to record the animals we see and we hope to hear about the animals that you see in your neighborhood.
Our two favorite apps are the Audubon Bird ID and iNaturalist.

There are some great resources for those of you who want to get out camping. Here are a few organizations that we know of that can help get you outside in a wild place: Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Big City Mountaineers, YMCA Camp Widjiwagan, YMCA Camp Menogyn, YMCA camp Manitowish, and Voyageur Outward Bound School. Scholarships are available for most of these programs too.

What outside activities do you plan to do this summer?

Share your answer!

This past week has been full of paddling and portaging for us. All the trees have green leaves on them now. Wildflowers are blooming, including the Minnesota state flower– the Lady’s Slipper. We have seen lady-slippers on several different portage trails. The weather has flip-flopped between sunny and rainy. The air temperature has been quite warm. This means the water in the lakes has heated up too. Two days ago we went for our first real swim of the summer. Instead of just jumping in and then out again, we floated around for a while, feeling refreshed. On that same day we saw two moose swimming. One was big and the other was small. They were a cow (or mom) and calf (young) moose. I think they were enjoying their time in the water as much as we were!

We have seen more people out here too. More and more campers are coming to enjoy the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in the summer. Maybe someday you will visit this place. Maybe you will visit another wilderness area or a state park or a national park. It is a great big world out there and we hope that you explore it! Have a good summer. We look forward to learning along with you again next fall.

Keep Exploring!

Student Response Worksheets

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