First Family BWCA trip

31 08 2009

Well after 20+ years of Jason going on guy only Boundary Waters Canoe trips, he finally let me go this past week.  He said I wasn’t ready until now – perhaps he is right since I think I have grown into a stronger person this past year.

He chose our entry point as Hog Creek, about 11 miles off the Sawbill trail.  On our drive to Sawbill Canoe Outfitters to pick up our canoe, we spotted a mama and baby moose right alongside the road.  Right then I knew that this was going to be an awesome trip.  Some other critters we hung out with on the trip included:  loons, eagles, snapping turtles, painted turtles, bats, frogs, and minks. Here’s the beginning of our adventure:
canoeoncar

Our paddle down Hog Creek took about an hour and a half through drizzly rain & temp’s in the mid-50’s.  Not ideal paddling weather, but the boys did just great – no complaining!  The creek was very narrow, with some spots only as wide as the canoe, with an extreme amount of windy turns.  Sure did sharpen my steering skills!  Hog Creek flows into Perent Lake, which is where we set up camp.  Of course the first 5 camp sites we paddle to were taken, so we ended up at one clear across the other side of the lake.  Even though our site was small, we enjoyed it very much.  It had a excellent landing area that served as our playground for the next 3 days.

First time portaging a canoe all by myself!

First time portaging a canoe all by myself!

For some reason the gods were looking down upon us and made it stop raining just long enough for us to set up the tent and tarp.  After that it poured for the rest of the afternoon and evening.  Me & the boys hung out in the tent the first night eating ramen noodles and fry bread that J made for us.  We passed the time by reading books and putting together some puzzles.

View of camp from the lake

View of camp from the lake

The next few days were just incredible.  We were able to run around in swim suits most of the time because we had glorious, sunny, warm weather.  Perent Lake has several islands that we paddled to and explored.  We hiked trails, gathered wood, climbed rocks, hunted for blueberries, and did a bit of swimming.  We found the holy grail of blueberry bushes and picked as many as we needed for the next morning’s blueberry pancake breakfast:

Noah's sweatshirt being used as our "blueberry bucket"

Noah's sweatshirt being used as our "blueberry bucket"

There wasn’t enough room in our 3 person canoe to bring in firewood, so we hiked around some remote parts of the lake to scavenge for dead, dry logs to make our campfires.  The boys really got into helping out with this chore and we nicknamed them the “little beavers”.

Taking a break from unloading wood from the canoe.  Typical boys using sticks as swords - Hi-ya!

Taking a break unloading wood from the canoe. Typical boys using sticks as swords - Hi-ya!

We tried our luck at fishing, and of course mom got skunked.  My dear little Kallen, however, was the fish master!  He caught some rather nice fish (minus the walleye the snapping turtle ate off the stringer) including a 20 inch walleye and a 30 inch northern!  Dad was so proud of him:)

Kallen so giddy after catching his first walleye!

Kallen so giddy after catching his first walleye!

I love this shirt..courtesy of Baby Blend Tees (and organic cotton of course)!

I love this shirt..courtesy of Baby Blend Tees (and organic cotton of course)!

You may be wondering what we packed for food, so here’s what we brought:  pancake mix, eggs pre-cracked in a nalgene, bacon, turkey slices, block cheese, tortillas (no sliced bread cuz it gets smashed), PB, Cliff bars, beef jerky, dry lentil soup, ramen noodles, fry bread from my friends at Cache Lake, mini candy bars, fruit snacks,and crackers.  We did leave one supper open for fish – which thankfully we did have.

Boys enjoying breakfast

Boys enjoying breakfast

You normally don’t portage ice into the BWCA, so you are pretty much stuck with warm drinks.  We used those little crystal light powdered drink packets to mix with (filtered) water in nalgene bottles to make juice for the kids.  What really worked good for adult beverages was bringing along those liter sized boxes of wine.  Once you are done with them all you have is the plastic cap for garbage since your can burn the cardboard box.

Hmmm....this picture must have been taken after polishing off the box of wine.

Hmmm....this picture must have been taken after polishing off the box of wine.

At our campsite we had a little hike to get back to the latrine, to err…relieve ourselves.  Every time I took the boys back to the potty, we would pass this little “landmark” and the boys would scream – “look, there’s the red mushroom again”!

redmushroom

Here’s some family pics of us at our little landing site:

canoefamily2

familyBWCA

This is one of my favorites because it shows how happy my boys are out on the water:

canoeboys

Our paddle out on Sunday was peaceful even though going upstream through Hog Creek was bit tougher.  That’s ok – I just got an extra bicep workout, that’s all!  It was sunny and about 65 degrees, but it definitely felt much hotter.  Me and J didn’t put on sunscreen and our noses and cheeks paid the price.  I felt so good after reaching our entry point and was thankful of time our family spent together.  Things went so smoothly – I think this was our best family trip ever.

Once we returned back to Sawbill to drop off our canoe, there was nothing better in the world than drinking a cold soda.  It was sure hard to choose between a that and a cold beer – but the Diet Coke won this time around:)

Thanks Sawbill - hope to see you next year!

Thanks Sawbill - hope to see you next year!

Who knew you could make a "green" roof on a dog house?  Ingenious!

Who knew you could make a "green" roof on a dog house? Ingenious!

I finally understand how important these canoe trips are to Jason.  We intend to make this an annual family tradition. It brings a certain calmness over you and does make you realize the truly important things in life.

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One response

10 11 2009
Shane

What a beautiful family and wonderful memories you are creating for them. I am off to find out more about bamboo…

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