Fall Paddling in the BWCA

It’s been a super Fall for canoe camping in the Boundary Waters this year. In addition to sunshine and warm temperatures we’ve had very few windy days. The wind is one thing I do not like to hear when I’m in the BWCA and waves are things I don’t like to see, especially if I’m on a solo trip. Experience and knowledge has made me more comfortable in waves over the years. I just read an article about how to paddle in waves and it was a good refresher.

Here’s my quick list of what to do when there are scary waves on the lake.

  1. Stay put. You’re always safer on shore.
  2. If you must travel then wait until evening when the waves will most likely die down.
  3. Load your canoe with all gear below the gunwales, evenly and equally distributed.
  5. Paddle close to shore in case you capsize(this is especially important when the water is cold).
  6. Kneel in the bottom of your canoe for more stability.
  7. Keep the waves at a 45 degree angle to the canoe.
  8. Keep paddling, dig into the wave and don’t quit.
Boundary Waters
Calm Day in the BWCA

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