A low temperature of -50 degrees was recorded near Snowbank Lake and the Boundary Waters on Saturday. If verified it’s the lowest temperature recorded for February 13th in Minnesota. Meanwhile we showed -40 degrees at the end of the Gunflint Trail and have had a prolonged freezing spell.
Some people stay indoors during these cold spells but other people embrace the outdoors. Here’s a Facebook Post from George Pastorino who spent some time near exploring near Voyageur Canoe Outfitters and with Matt and Bosley. Check out his post and video below.
“I have had several requests to produce a video that shows all 9 Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Day Trips in one Video, so here it is. We covered over 70 miles on trails, Frozen Lakes and Portages via Snowshoe and Backcountry Skis in temps ranging from the mid-Twenties above zero progressing downward to 32 below zero actual temp with a 55 below wind-chill. You will see our wardrobe change dramatically as the days go by. You can get a feeling of what the 9 days were like in just 4 minutes below. Pussanee and I are most at home in true designated Wilderness.”
Last year saw an unprecedented number of visitors in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. A number of these visitors were experiencing the canoe country for the first time and may not have had the knowledge needed for such an endeavor. The US Forest Service Ranger Stations which are responsible for issuing a large percentage of BWCAW wilderness permits were closed due to Covid. This lack of human interaction prevented campers from learning about important wilderness principles including information about Leave No Trace camping. It was evident by the number of complaints about garbage left in campfire rings, damage done to trees and general unkempt campsites that education is necessary prior to taking a canoe camping trip into the wilderness.
In order to do a better job educating people heading into the Boundary Waters for the 2021 paddling season the USFS has created 3 short videos all permit holders must watch. I’m not sure how they will guarantee the leader actually watches the videos or that all members of the canoe group will watch all 3 videos.
I do know guests who come to Voyageur Canoe Outfitters will be able to watch the videos and interact with knowledgeable humans prior to beginning their canoe trip into the Boundary Waters. I watched all of the videos and while the first two have some nice scenery the final video contains all of the educational pieces I consider necessary for a successful trip. Have questions about a canoe trip into the BWCA? Feel free to give us a call or drop us an email, we’d love to be a part of your trip.
If you’ve visited Voyageur Canoe Outfitters in the last few years then you’ve probably met Bosley. Bosley enjoys interacting with guests when he’s not snuggling with Matt or Cassidy. Bosley has a new four legged friend named Beanz. Beanz belongs to my niece Paige who will be working at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters this summer. Beanz had a vacation at Voyageur this winter and enjoyed being shown around by Bosley, Matt and Cassidy. We know you’ll love Beanz as much as Bosley does.
Minnesota is experiencing some cold temperatures and the Gunflint Trail and North Shore of Lake Superior are no exception. The thermometer at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters read around negative 25 degrees and the vehicle registered negative 27 degrees on the way to Duluth this morning. Temperatures aren’t expected to reach above zero until after the weekend and there’s a wind chill advisory in effect. It won’t stop us from getting outside to enjoy the snow, it will just require a few more layers and all bare skin to be covered.
We now have a sauna at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters. Our winter guests are enjoying the magical experience of crossing the frozen Seagull River and heading up the hill to the sauna. The days are short so most people make this trek beneath the millions of sparkling stars in the night sky giving them an opportunity to look for northern lights. On nights when the moon is fuller there isn’t even a need for a flashlight as the snow reflects the light of the moon. It’s a great way to warm up after a day of ice fishing, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. We invite you to be a guest of Voyageur this winter and experience the relaxation and invigoration of our sauna.
If you’re on social media and you like fishing then you’ve probably seen posts by Girl of 10,000 Lakes. She took a trip to the Boundary Waters through Voyageur Canoe Outfitters in 2019 and I’m just now posting her awesome video. Good things are worth the wait!
There’s no need to carry a big stick when you’re paddling and portaging in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area but you should probably think about carrying a Big Six Camp Chair made by Big Agnes. This big and comfortable high back chair was by far the favorite on our recent canoe camping trip with Matt and Cassidy.
Camp chairs make life around camp so much more comfortable. Sitting on the ground is fine when it’s dry and warm but in the chill of spring or fall sitting on a chair is much nicer.
We’ve tried a large number of camp chairs over the years of owning Voyageur Canoe Outfitters. Crazy Creek, Alps Mountaineering and even the two-legged Alite Monarch chair have all been into the BWCA with us. There are many comfortable and lightweight chairs on the market these days and my favorite is Helinox Chair One. It has accompanied me to baseball games, into the Boundary Waters and even into living rooms for extra seating.
I actually never got to sit in the Big Six chair because we only had one along on our trip and someone was always sitting in it. It has a tall back, sits 20″ off of the ground and is much larger than the Camp One by Helinox. Helinox has a high back chair option too, we just didn’t have one of those on our trip. I think I know what I’m getting Mike for Christmas this year.
Big Agnes used to sell Helinox chairs but something must have happened because they now have their own line of chairs. They look exactly the same as the Helinox so I’m guessing they are. It probably doesn’t matter what brand or style of chair you choose as long as it’s lightweight, breaks down to a small size and makes camp life more comfortable.
People who paddle canoes may be familiar with the sound the bottom of a kevlar canoe makes as it comes into contact with the mucky bottom of a shallow creek bed. It’s a sort of shloshing sound that accompanies the canoe as it gradually comes to a complete stop. “This is what canoes are made for!”
I’m not sure how many times we heard Mike repeat this mantra on our Boundary Waters Kawishiwi River canoe trip this fall. Had we known it would be used over and over maybe we would have started counting the first time. Like the rising of the sun each time Matt and Cassidy’s canoe or ours came to an unexpected stop due to low water levels Mike would say, “This is what canoes are made for.” Sometimes he would add another phrase, something similar to, “A jet ski couldn’t travel here.”
True. The waterway we paddled and the portages we took would not have been possible using a jet ski. It also would not have been possible without encouragement from paddling partners or companions. We found a number of rocks just beneath the surface where our canoes came to a rest. Push, pull, shove and get out of the canoe to get ourselves off, a jet ski wouldn’t have made it. A well constructed dam of trees, mud and twigs by a beaver would have stopped anyone on a jet ski, but not us in our canoes. The almost dried up waterways that looked more like a marshy grassland than a place to paddle were what a canoe was made for.
A canoe was made to take you places not intended for other watercraft to travel. A canoe was made to bring you to a place where contentment is almost always found.
A dog went missing on portage in the Boundary Waters on September 17th. Eden is a Tibetian Terrier and only weighs around 25 pounds. When we heard the news about the dog being lost on the portage between Kiskadinna and Muskeg Lakes near Long Island Lake we immediately wanted to go search for it. Unfortunately schedules wouldn’t allow us to and after the owners spent three days searching they had to give up and return home. I can’t imagine how awful that must have been for them. As the days continued to pass we didn’t think this story would have a happy ending but thankfully it does.
Eden was found by campers on Tuesday about five miles from where the dog went missing. They didn’t know about the missing dog but when they got out of the BWCA and into cell phone range they called the number on Eden’s collar and reached the ecstatic owners.
This is one of those stories that warms the heart. If only Eden had been wearing a camera that could have recorded her adventures over the days she survived alone in the Boundary Waters. If she could speak what a story she would tell.