A little over a year ago, I assisted in putting together a Guide to Campfire Cooking with The Chopping Block. That was shortly after my last trip into the wilderness. This week, I am very thrilled to be back on the road to Minnesota and the Canadian border. I have been planning a 6-day trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness since January when entry permits became available.
Rose lake from the Border Route Trail. Canada is on the left shore. This is the lake we will call home for the next 6 days!
I really love hiking, canoeing and camping. I choose this area for my wilderness trips because it has over a million acres of forest with thousands of lakes all knit together in an area largely untouched by humans. The BWCAW is a protected area of wilderness in Northern Minnesota that runs along the border of its Canadian counterpart, Quetico Provincial Park. The area is full of natural beauty like waterfalls, mountains, palisades, rivers and lakes abound. Not to mention the rare opportunity to view wildlife like moose, bear, beavers, bald eagles and all sorts of forest creatures. Plus some of the best fishing available anywhere!
This area is also rich in history of Indian tribes and the French fur traders. The forest was once in jeopardy to logging camps, but became protected under a Federal Act prohibiting building, development or residing in the BWCAW. The lakes and landscape in this area are just as they have been since they were formed by glaciers.
There is no easy way to experience what the BWCAW has to offer. To see some of its most spectacular sights often requires trekking through the wilderness for days, toting everything you need to survive in a canoe and on your back. To most, this doesn't sound like much of a vacation, but to me, it's an amazing adventure. I have had the opportunity to see, hear and be part of pristine nature. This is truly the home of the wild animals and the wind. I am just a humble visitor in their domain. There is a peace and tranquility that cannot be compared.
The BWCAW is accessed from two Minnesota cities. Ely is the launching point for voyagers exploring the Western half of the wilderness. Grand Marais is the nearest town to host those thrill seekers entering the Eastern portion of the forest.
Mitch and Grayson excited to finally be out of the car after 10 hours
On this trip we are heading to Grand Marais and then up to Hungry Jack Lake and our outfitter. We have visited the BWCAW five times in the last few years, twice out of Ely and now three times out of Grand Marais.
Grand Marais is one of the last cities on the road North East along Lake Superiors Northern Shore. It is a community right on the lake and is charming and picturesque. It's an artist community and boasts lots of great eateries and shops. From here, we head North on dirt roads through the forest and up into the foothills. Our outfitter and launching point is about another hour along this road bringing us just a few miles shy of the Canadian border. From here we transfer our gear into our modest wilderness bunkhouse for the night and then into our canoes in the morning to begin our voyage into the wild! We will travel approximately 25 miles on this trip with 250 pounds of gear and 2 canoes.
Heading into the wild
In my next blog, I will have a complete trip report with links to my journal and lots of great photos. I'll also include the menu from our trip in case you were curious what a couple of chefs and their kids eat out in the middle of the wilderness!
Ready to brave 6 days in the forest
In the meantime, see the amazing recipes we created in our campfire cooking guide and give them a try during your next outdoor adventure.