Hello again. This is Tank with another Notes from the Trail. This week I thought I would share with you some answers to a few questions that I’m sure you’ve been wondering about. If you have more questions that you would like us to answer, be sure to send an email. I’ll be sure to answer them– or if I don’t know the answer, I’ll ask Dave and Amy.
How big is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness?
I know that the BWCAW is big– really big. It is so big that I haven’t seen all of it in my nine years of being a sled dog in the area. I asked Dave and he told me that, to be exact, the BWCAW is 1.1 million acres of forest, lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. There are no roads or buildings here.
Map Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boundary_Waters_Canoe_Area_Wilderness
What is portaging like?
Whenever we need to go from one body of water to another, Dave and Amy look for a little trail called a portage. They have a piece of paper with squiggly lines and dots on it. I guess this is called a map. They use the map to keep track of where we are. The map helps them find the portages and campsites.
When we portage, Amy and Dave pull the canoe over alongside the shore. One of them gets out and holds the canoe while I get out. Sometimes the shore is rocky and it is challenging to get out of the canoe. I don’t like to get my feet wet, so I look for a big rock to jump onto. Then they unload the canoe. Everyone carries something across the portage trail– even the canoe. They don’t ask me to carry the canoe, because I am a dog. I have a backpack that I carry instead.
We follow the trail through the woods. Often times we go up and over a hill. Most of the trails are rocky. Some of the trails are muddy. Some of the trails are long and some are short. Once we get to the other side, Dave and Amy pack the canoe again. I carefully climb in. Amy tells me to sit. Then we are paddling again.
Have you ever hiked on a trail in the woods? Can you imagine doing this while carrying everything you need with you? What do you think it would be like?
How far do we go in a day?
The distance we go each day is different. Some days we go far– like 20 miles. Some days we just stay in camp. It seems like we stay in camp if the weather is really windy or stormy. That is good, because I don’t think I want to be in the canoe in a storm. Dave and Amy move camp some of the time. We might go eight to ten miles on these days. Sometimes we leave camp set up and go on a day trip. Then we are traveling light and fast, so we go farther. On the day trip days, we always come back to our campsite, so we might go in a loop or we get to a spot and then Amy and Dave say it is time to turn around and we go back the way we came from.
My favorite part of the day is when we get to camp. I hop out of the canoe and I am so excited to be back on land that I run around. I run all around the campsite, back and forth. I like running. Then I find a good spot to curl up and take a nap.
How far do you travel in a day? What is your mode of transportation?
Where do we sleep?
Amy and Dave sleep in a tent. They carry the tent with them when we move from one campsite to another. When we leave camp, they take the tent down. When we get to a new campsite, they set the tent up. The tent is kind of like a small, portable house. Instead of hard walls, the tent is made out of nylon. The tent has a zipper to open it instead of a door. I imagine that their tent is a bit smaller than your home.
What is similar about your home and a tent? What is different?
I like to sleep outside if the weather is nice. I find a spot on the ground that is soft, usually near a tree. I spin in a circle and lie down to sleep. If it rains at night, I sleep in the tent. All I have to do is walk up to the front of the tent and whine a little. Then Dave or Amy unzips the door to let me in. Then I give a good shake, spin in a circle and curl up to sleep. I like sleeping in the tent when it is raining.
What do we eat?
I eat the same thing every day: dog food. It is dry kibble. It is kibble that is high in protein and fat, which is really good for sled dogs.
Dave and Amy eat different things for each meal of the day. They usually eat oatmeal or granola for breakfast. They add dried milk powder, dried fruit and nuts to their oatmeal or granola. They eat cheese with tortillas, trail mix and granola bars for lunch. They eat rice and beans or pasta for dinner. They add dried vegetables to their dinners.
How are Amy and Dave’s meals similar or different than what you eat every day?
I hope you learned a little bit about what our daily life out here is like. Remember, if you have any questions for us, just send us an email to ask. I love answering questions!
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