Short version: awesome trip, coffee is a diuretic and makes you poop, giardia needs 10 minutes of boiling to die (oops), John brang some stuff, Rabi didn't taught us nothing, Matt ties knots, Josh SMASH, Kayla got hungry, Shane cooked, Odin is not really a swimmer. More complete version below the fold.
This post will likely be updated as people send me or remind me of things that are missing so check back later for updates.
As stated earlier the trip was awesome. I forgot how much I loved the BWCA until I spent a few days there. Seven alcohol free days in the wilderness with the same group of 6 people could get on one's nerves but I think overall we all had a great time and would certainly repeat the trip.
Before the actual boundary waters trip we started with a lovely Friday night/Saturday morning of merry making. Not the best idea I've ever had. I'm not sure if we had any Yuri Gagarins (two shots of Vodka, two shots of citrus Rip it) but I know the Tequila came out. We also managed to install an eight-track player in John's Jeep. He was as giddy as a school girl. After that, we had a lovely day of shopping and packing with hangovers. After a few hours of planning seven days worth of lactose free meals while standing in a Walmart aisle Rabi, John, Odin, Kayla, and I went up to Red Lake to get a head start on the body odor accumulation. Fun dogs, a quick paddling test with Odin, and a good night's sleep in a thunderstorm and we were off for the Boundary waters. Oh, not quite. John and Kayla had some half finished paddles to work on. Four hours of sanding later, we were off.
In an effort to be less wasteful, we crammed into one vehicle. This left Kayla, Odin, and myself in the back of Matt's truck from Kelliher to Ely. I could have managed without that one. We camped at a Superior National Forest campground at Fall Lake. It's the first time I've seen a toilet requiring a pin number.
Dinner: Vegan Spaghetti Ingredients: one package wheat spaghetti sun-dried tomatoes and peppers, lots of garlic, oregano, and basil, seasoning salt, 1/2 cup of olive oil. Try using just enough water to cover the pasta, then add the tomatoes and peppers to boil for the last few minutes. Don't drain it. Add a little Parmesan and carb up.
Day one: The trip began at entry point 30 and was miserably cold and rainy. We even went back to Ely to buy some neoprene gloves. It was a good thing too because even with the gloves I lost the feeling in my hands. The wind was terrible but we found a decent camp site and the weather brightened a bit by evening. We even pulled out some instruments and Kayla and I played both of the songs that we know. Luckily John and Rabi were with to fill in. We hauled a backpacking guitar, a mandolin, and John's now infamous "Tornado"(a little blow piano).
Dinner: Carne Asada Burritos Ingredients: 2 lbs Thinly sliced sirloin tip, one onion, 1/2 cup lime juice, one cup water (or beer), 1 packet fajita seasoning (or 1 TBSP Tony Chachere's, 2 cloves garlic, 1 TSP Black pepper, 2 Jalapenos finely chopped)
Marinate ingredients together for a day or more, grill meat, saute onions separately, serve on tortillas with guacamole, salsa, cheese, etc.
Day two: We started with a couple people going back to get Josh. We initially forgot him in the car. Joking. He had to come a day later. We then moved on through lakes 2, 3, and into 4 before we were able to find a site. The site we found was nice. In fact, we didn't have a bad site the entire trip. After some fruitless fishing (Josh did catch a tree on an island and snap his rod in two) we (verb) some (noun) for dinner.
Dinner: Was this cous cous night? Ingredients: couscous cooked in chicken broth instead of water, cashews, craisins, saute'd onions, canned chicken (southwest flavor I think).
Day three: Sticking around in the same camp site for two days was sounding like a good idea, so we spent a day trying to fish for a little dinner. We managed to get a couple hammer handles and held on to them until day four. It was a beautiful day. We even jumped in the water a couple times. John decided that everyone should try to stay in for five minutes but changed his mind after one. Odin went in too, not quite so willingly as I would have preferred though. The poor dog is just not a swimmer.
Dinner: Bear Creek Chili Ingredients: Bear Creek Chili
Day four: After a delicious breakfast of Krusteaz blueberry (lactose free) pancakes, a short paddle followed by a short portage landed us in Bridge Lake. This campsite was probably the worst one that we stayed at and it was great except for the half a dozen trees that had blown down. We were expecting thunderstorms at this point, so we were a little nervous. John slept under the half fallen tree with our bear bag hanging from it with no worries though. It started out as a nice hot day but was raining by mid afternoon and kept on until day five. At some point Josh and I decided to fish a little but fishing turned into exploration of the river heading north. We made it almost to the portage into Delta Lake but the rain started coming down so we headed back to camp, fishless and cold.
Dinner: Fish, finally. Ingredients: Poorly cleaned Northern Pike, crackers, oil, spices
Day five: We spent the beginning of the day just sort of soaking up the rain while we cooked pancakes for about 4 hours over the fire but it cleared up early and we were able to take a little trip with the whole crew to Delta Lake. It's a long paddle through hobbit (or some other mythical creature) country and through a short but rather dicey portage into a very secluded lake. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that we were the first and last visitors this spring. It was well worth the trip. I caught our first Smallmouth Bass, we had a nice hot lunch in the rain and then we made the trek back to camp. My favorite moment of the trip was on that secluded lake with a sort of surreal misty drizzle coming down on us as we paddled back to the portage. It was absolutely beautiful. I wouldn't recommend it during the buggy time of year though.
Dinner: Rice, bean, and chicken quesadillas. Ingredients: generic red beans and rice, canned chicken, onions, veggie cheese, and some flower tortillas. Use a little less water than called for in the beans and rice, slap it on a tortilla with chicken, onions and cheese. Toast it over the fire and enjoy.
Day 6: Early morning with a breakfast of 10 grain cereal and no brown sugar (oops) was followed with a quick paddle to a pretty challenging 170 rod (.53 miles) portage landed us on Rifle Lake for our final campsite. This place is great. The other direction has a 65 rod portage so there is very little traffic. We saw one other group. The fishing was the best of all the lakes. I caught about 50 Bluegills. It was a gorgeous day. We did some swimming, set up a slackline, and tried to eat the remainder of the food. Kayla did her part but some of us were slacking, so we didn't quite polish it off. I gave a little lesson in fish cleaning. Note the photo of the two fish fillets. Guess which one is John's. Patience grasshopper.
Dinner: Fish, lots and lots of fish.
Day 7: Being our last day in the wilderness, I just had to have some me time. I woke up at about 5:30 and went out to enjoy the sunrise. It was behind me, so I didn't actually see the sun except for momentary glimpses through the trees as day came. The colors in spring are altogether as amazing as fall if you really look. I don't think I've ever noticed that until Rabi mentioned it. Thanks Rabi. The bright greens of the fresh tamaracks and cedars against a dark spruce/balsam background was simply breathtaking. It was a glorious and sorrowful morning. I would never have left given the choice.
After sunrise I did a little solo fishing. This is quite manageable in a canoe as long as the wind isn't blowing...at all. It's really quite an enjoyable experience. I highly recommend it. I caught a couple very nice Smallmouth Bass and sent them back home immediately. It was probably the best fishing of the trip.
Breakfast was followed with a group photo and a rapid retreat. For some reason, the Boundary Waters is best left in a hurry. Maybe it helps you forget what you're leaving behind. Kayla carried the canoe through a portage for the first time. 30 rods and no rests. Not bad chica. We stopped for burgers, beer, coffee, and even ice cream. These little comforts helped us remember that we don't hate everything about civilization after all.
Thanks Rabi, Josh, John, Matt, Kayla, and Odin for one of my favorite trips ever. I sincerely hope that we can do it again. Cheers!