Thursday, June 9, 2011

North Woods Minnesota in Spring

For those Minnesotans who are outdoor enthusiasts, there is a right of passage: to leave home and head up north to the Boundary Waters.   The BWCAW is the most highly visited wilderness, which is both good and bad.  It means it is easy to gain access, but hard to get away from it all.  Fortunately, if you go early in spring and head to little known areas, you can have it all to yourself.  We did just that.   We secured a permit to Big Lake, the least used access point in all the boundary waters for a 4 day journey.  There the portages where long, the people where few and the rivers and swamps were plentiful.  This meant that their were plenty of moose, eagles, beaver and bugs.   This area was remote and quiet leaving us to travel far every day.  Pushing up to 35 miles a day was punishing, but it meant we would see a lot and be constantly rewarded.  

Here is the landscape we paddled: 

The ever present birch trees.

The western Boundary Waters is low lying and filled with rivers and beavers.  Sometimes beavers change the landscape by building damns, sometimes they fail, as in this photo.

Chad paddling along a narrow river.

We waited out the brief downpour that caught us by surprise.  

Sioux Falls, the last portage on the Little Indian Sioux River before crossing the echo trail.

A soft sunset at the first night's camp.

Busy Beavers cut down trees booth small and large to build their homes and damns.

When their job is done right, beavers have the power to change the landscape more than any other animal, besides us.

A small, little known falls on the Nina Moose River.

Enjoy and get out there and camp!

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