BWCA 2017

Pictured is a dragonfly coming out of a cocoon.

We started at Seagull lake and travelled north to the border of Canada. After a brief canoe trip to Canada, we skirted the border and cut back east through South Knife Arm Lake. There is a bay on the far east edge of South Knife Arm Lake which is where we went fishing. There are Walleye at the right times and Northern everywhere. Fish jump out of the water around 7 PM, and the north-east edge of the bay by a river inlet has a ton of bass.

This was our general route as shown as the "Thunder Point" route. We went from Seagull Lake to American Point. We spend part of a day going into Cache Bay before travelling on. Right above Toe Lake is the small bay with tons of fish in it. It wasn't too difficult of a route, but it was a really fun trip.

Canoeing in the Boundary Waters

For my second week-long wilderness trip, my friends decided to go to the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness. Our most experienced hiker had gone through the boundary waters multiple times throughout his life guided us through many of the lakes and connecting points. We also had a friend from Malaysia join us in his first ever camping trip. It was completely a mixed group as far as experience in hiking and Boundary Waters experience. We all had a blast and learned a lot. Specifically, I got taught how to navigate with a map and compass. It is actually more difficult when one is on the open water on lakes instead of on trails. Judging distance travelled is much more difficult in a canoe than I would have expected. We were all also taught to navigate the canoe and the basic right and left handed strokes for steering properly.

The first night or two were fairly uneventful. It was calm and beautiful canoeing. We all learned how to portage which ended up being pretty painful with my friend's wooden yoke with no pads. We did end up spending the day travelling into a bay in Canada to visit Silver Falls waterfall. After that time, it rained for almost 48 hours before stopping. We couldn't take as many pictures that day, but we had a lot of fun getting fires lit for cooking and keeping sleeping gear dry-ish. When it was overcast, we met a man who was solo canoeing with his dog. His daughter's wedding was in a month or so, and he didn't fit into his wedding suit. He decided to take a week to canoe through the boundary waters as a weight loss plan. He gave us tips on fishing spots and such.

We decided to take a couple mile detour to camp out near the good fishing spot. In the evening we caught a medium-small Northern and two decent sized smallmouth. We decided to chance leaving the smallmouth strung up for breakfast. That night, we heard a wolf call. Then, we started hearing more wolf calls from different directions, which was weird. The calls would call and then rise in pitch before trailing off. We realized we also started hearing loon calls. The first wolf howl was actually copied by loons! It was a pretty eventful night. Suprisingly, no loons or trash pandas came for our fish, so we were able to eat a smallmouth breakfast the next day after I cleaned them.

Backpacking in the Bighorns

This was actually my first backpacking trip. My internship mentor lent me one of his old hiking backpacks and I got some boots to start me on my way. It was a very challenging trip with altitude change almost every single day with a total altitude change of approximately 9800 ft. For someone going on his first hiking trip, this was a lot to take in! Luckily, I was in shape enough that I was able to keep up and ended up loving almost every minute of the trip. Taking a look at our maps, one can see every place that we planned to camp overnight.

There were a lot of fun and challenging things that happened on the trip. Most memorable was definitely right after Elk Lake. We were doing great on time, arriving at around 2:00 PM. It was a bit overcast, but our group decided to try to make it to the next site. My friend Dan and I saw a storm cloud rolling in. We decided it didn't look too good and left the trail to make camp. We made it about 100 yards before the storm rolled in faster than we have ever seen and released a massive hailstorm. We put up our tents in a grove of pine trees as fast as we could, ending up with hail in and around our tents. We huddled in our tents until the torrent subsided 15-20 minutes later. The whole area looked like it had snowed before melting before dark. Luckily, we were able to cook and do everything we needed to after the hail stopped. It was quire an experience going from a 75 degree day and sunny to hail and down to mid-30s at night.

Our Route

We went a total of 70 miles after the detours and backtracking that we did sometimes. The sign at Willow Park reservoir was flipped around, the path was in disarray, and the second path that was going there pretty much wasn't there. We travelled well past before realizing we were almost at the end of the reservoir. We definitely learned that day that maps can be inaccurate or trails aren't always upkept.