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US-61, The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Gunflint Trail, Minnesota, Part 6 of 6

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bwca route

Keane
Keane. Outdoorsman. HAhahahaha...

1990 BWCAW Canoe Trip

1990 was the year Ron and I decided it was time to do one of those BWCAW canoe trips. I mean, how can you say you were always going up to the BWCA, without taking a real canoe trip? Right?

Well, here's the experience in a nutshell. You're going to take a trip, quite a few miles in length, where you have to carry your clothing, food, transportation and shelter. During those days, you are on your own. Rarely is there a way to bail out of the trip, so once you start, you're pretty much committed.

I have to say it was an educational experience. It's the first time those little lines on the map met reality. It was a pretty rough experience, but at least I can say I did it.

We outfitted and started from Clearwater Lake, then followed the border lakes for a few miles. Some of the portages are directly on the Canada-US border, and there are metal, official border markers along the trail. Not only can I say that I stood on four states at one time, but I can boast that I pee'd on two countries at the same time. Hey, do you think there are public bathrooms around here?

Speaking of bathrooms, the National Forest Service provides primitive, unprotected uh... boxes. I took a couple of pictures. Over in Quetico, there are no official campsites, and you grab a shovel and find a log to sit on. Not sure which I'd prefer more. Or less.

1990 BWCAW Canoe Trip
199009Min_004K0100hjl 199009Min_005K0100hjl 199009Min_006K0101hjl 199009Min_007K0102hjl 199009Min_008K0103MountainLake 199009Min_009K0104MountainLake 199009Min_010K0106MountainLake 199009Min_011K0107MountainLake 199009Min_012K0108MountainLake 199009Min_013K0109MountainLake 199009Min_014K0110MountainLake 199009Min_015K0111MountainLake 199009Min_016K0112MountainLake 199009Min_017K0113MountainLake 199009Min_018K0114MountainLake 199009Min_019K0115MountainLake 199009Min_021K0117MountainLake 199009Min_020K0116MountainLake 199009Min_022K0118MountainLake 199009Min_023K0119UpperLilly 199009Min_024K0120LowerLilly 199009Min_026K0122Moose 199009Min_027K0123Moose 199009Min_028K0124Moose 199009Min_029K0125Moose 199009Min_030K0200Moose 199009Min_031K0200Moose 199009Min_032K0201Moose 199009Min_033K0202Moose 199009Min_034K0203Moose 199009Min_035K0204Moose 199009Min_036K0205Moose 199009Min_037K0206Moose 199009Min_038K0207Moose 199009Min_039K0208Moose 199009Min_040K0209MoosePortage 199009Min_041K0211MoosePortage 199009Min_042K0212MoosePortage 199009Min_043K0212MoosePortage 199009Min_044K0213NorthFowl 199009Min_045K0214NorthFowl 199009Min_046K0215NorthFowl 199009Min_047K0216NorthFowl 199009Min_048K0217SouthFowl
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The Canadian border turns south as we followed it, then came back West and looped back into Clearwater. Relatively short portages, we gave ourselves four days to do it. It should have been 5. At least we had a week up at Seagull Lake to rest up afterwards.

Other than learning a valuable lesson in load balancing and dumping the canoe in Lilly Lake, the only other real lesson of note is the prevailing West to East winds make for crappy paddling on those long East-West lakes like Pine and Caribou... :-)

199009Min_049K0218RoyalRiver 199009Min_050K0219RoyalRiver 199009Min_051K0220RoyalRiver 199009Min_052K0221RoyalRiver 199009Min_054K0223RoyalRiver 199009Min_055K0224RoyalRiver 199009Min_056K0225Portage 199009Min_057K0226John 199009Min_058K0227John 199009Min_059K0228John 199009Min_060K0230John 199009Min_061K0231LittleJohn 199009Min_062K0232LittleJohn 199009Min_063K0233McFarland 199009Min_064K0234Pine 199009Min_065K0235Pine 199009Min_066K0236Pine 199009Min_067K0237Pine 199009Min_068K030!Pine 199009Min_069K0300Pine 199009Min_070K0300Pine 199009Min_071K0301Pine 199009Min_072K0302Pine 199009Min_073K0303Pine 199009Min_074K0304Pine 199009Min_075K0305Pine 199009Min_076K0306Pine 199009Min_077K0307Pine 199009Min_078K0308Pine 199009Min_079K0309Pine 199009Min_080K0311Caribou 199009Min_081K0312Caribou 199009Min_082K0313Caribou 199009Min_083K0314Portage 199009Min_084K0315Portage 199009Min_085K0316Portage 199009Min_086K0317Portage 199009Min_087K0318Clearwater 199009Min_088K0319Clearwater 199009Min_089K0320Clearwater
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End Minnesota Arrowhead - Part 6 of 6.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

Revisions:
  • 07/15/2013 - Update to v3.11
  • 08/29/2014 - Update to v3.2