We spent the past week traveling with some very special guests. They were Joseph, Jacob, Jeff and Jason. Jeff is Joseph and Jacob’s dad. Joseph is 14 years old and Jacob is 11. They love the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. They have seen the BWCAW in the summer by canoe and in the winter by dogsled. Jason has been a guide in the BWCAW for a long time.
On a chilly, rainy day, they paddled out to find Dave and me on Knife Lake. Joseph and Jeff paddled up to our campsite in the cedar strip canoe that they had recently built. It is a beautiful canoe with stripes of different shades of brown. Jason and Jacob came next, paddling together in one of Jason’s canoes.
We explored ten lakes while traveling with Joseph, Jacob, Jeff and Jason. You can see the list below:
On Knife Lake we stopped on an island named Isle of Pines too check out the place where Dorothy Molter used to live. She lived here before the BWCAW was created. Then when the Wilderness Area was formed, she was allowed to live the rest of her life here. Canoeists used to stop on Isle of Pines to say hi to Dorothy and to drink root-beer that she made. As we were walking around on the island, Joseph found an old, rusty bottle cap. Maybe this was from one of Dorothy’s root-beers.
Amoeber, Topaz and Cherry were deep lakes with steep sides. We stopped for lunch on Cherry Lake and climbed to the top of a cliff to check out the view. We found wintergreen plants with their bright red berries growing on top of the cliff.
We camped in five different places with our friends. Every evening when we pulled into camp, Joseph and Jacob would help unload the canoes. Then they would set up their tent. Joseph is an expert at getting the tent poles into place, putting the rain fly on and staking out the tent. They would set up the inside of the tent too by laying out their sleeping pads and sleeping bags. Jason cooked dinner. We ate a lot of good food. Joseph and Jacob’s mom packed two special dinners for us along with some amazing treats! Jacob would usually gather some firewood with Dave. Joseph would then help to cut it up into pieces that fit in our stove.
The weather was a mix of sun and rain. The temperature seemed to get a little bit colder each day. In the evening, everyone would get together in our big tent to warm up and dry socks around the wood stove. This was a good time for telling stories, remembering the day or playing a game of Uno. I played with Joseph and Jacob one evening. Jacob won and then Joseph and I continued to play for second. In the end, Joseph won second place and I lost!
Jacob is quite a skilled fisherman. He caught two fish during our trip! One was a smallmouth bass. The other was a walleye. Mmm. They sure tasted good for dinner.
Our route included some long portages. A portage is a trail from one body of water to another. We would make two trips across each portage. I was impressed that Joseph and Jacob could carry as much as they did– packs on their backs and fishing poles and paddles in their hands.
Paddling was difficult on our last two days together. The wind was blowing from the northwest and we had to travel west. Everyone worked hard paddling into the wind. After finishing the portage onto Newfound Lake, Joseph pointed out snowflakes falling from the sky. How fun to be out paddling in the first snow of the season! When we were in camp that night, even more snow fell. We woke up to see the ground and our canoes covered in a dusting of snow. Good thing these friends of ours have lots of experience with traveling in the winter. They had lots of warm clothes. They were as happy to see the snow as we were.
Joseph, Jacob, Jeff and Jason are heading home now. We were sad to see them go. It sure was fun to share the past six days with them!
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