Early Season BWCA Trips
I love to paddle the BWCA but I have yet to ever take a spring trip. It’s not that I don’t want to take a trip it’s just that there’s always so many things to do that take priority over paddling. The other thing I have never done is taken a solo canoe trip. This past week, Adam Maxwell, a 3rd year returning member of the Voyageur Crew went on a solo canoe trip into the BWCA.
The Boundary Waters is a wilderness area as Adam knows very well. He’s paddled, camped and fished many of the lakes. He’s even had a slight accident while out in the woods and knows help is a long ways away. Last year his friend Billi had to paddle him out from Ottertrack Lake with a lure stuck in his hand.
This trip proved to be an eventful one for Adam as well. He experienced rain, high winds, some snow flurries and wavy water. Wednesday morning he packed up his camp, pushed off from shore and started on his way only to find himself in the freezing cold water moments later. Somehow his canoe had tipped dumping him and his belongings. He knew there were other people on the lake so he immediately yelled for help and began struggling to get to shore. By the time he made it to shore a few minutes later he was quite frozen.
The people heard him yelling and came to help him. They retrieved his canoe, paddle and gear and brought it back to him. Luckily Adam had one small bag of dry items and was able to warm up. He spent yesterday waiting for the wind to calm down but it never did. This morning he broke camp again and this time made his way back to Voyageur safely.
Thankfully Adam is ok. This event could have turned out differently, especially if Adam hadn’t been wearing his lifevest. If the other people weren’t camping on Ogish with him then he would have been stranded without his canoe, paddle and gear.
The BWCA is a wilderness and especially so early in the spring. The ice has just gone off of the lakes, there’s snow in the woods and the cold air temperatures combined with the cold water temperatures can make the Boundary Waters a dangerous place. An early season BWCA trip would be nice to take but I think I’ll wait for things to warm up just a little bit before I take one.