9/21: Canoeing the Boundary Waters

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The squish of mud.

The spray of water on your face as you paddle.

The weight of the canoe on your shoulders – your amphibious adventure vehicle.

Cool morning mist.

The water warmer than air.

Cold damp socks.

Hot coffee.

The hum of the wild as you drift off to sleep.

Branches cracking.

The brightest stars.


The last ten days of canoeing were tougher than the first five of backpacking but with the miles on our boots we knew we could take them on. We did not just survive – we thrived, bonded and overcame challenges we didn’t know existed in a place that most had never imagined.

We led one another through close to 40 miles on the water, over 38 lakes and through the mud, trees and woods of 3,507 rods of portage trails. (Portages are measured in rods – approximately 16 feet per rod or the length of one standard canoe.)

In the spirit of doing challenging things every day the groups headed immediately from their last canoeing campsite right to the Shovel Point climbing area where we spent the day catching up and climbing on rock faces directly over the blue waters of Lake Superior.

Now we’re back at Home Place – seasoned adventurers with a taste of the wilderness. We’ve cleaned our gear and partook in our final romp through the woods – The Personal Challenge Event or PCE. In the PCE we paddled 6 miles in pairs, portaged the canoe one mile, then walked/ran/crawled/smiled 6 miles back to Home Place. At the end everyone was exhausted but empowered – we had finally made it!! The first showers in a few weeks were well earned last night and today we’re clean and confident and ready for our service projects with Habitat for Humanity and working with a school group on the Outward Bound campus.

We’ll be back to campus this weekend and starting the next academic portion of the Gap Experience next week!

Enjoy the photos from our journey below…

September 8th: Headed out!

September 9th: Navigation Planning by Firelight

September 10th: Learning the canoe quick-flip-up

September 11th: Petroglyphs!

September 12th: Making our own trail and Solo!

September 13th: “Crashing” out

September 14th: Morgan’s Birthday!

September 15th: Fun on the Lake

September 16th: We baked a cake!

September 17th: Nature art installations

September 18th: Misty Sunrise

September 19th: Climb Day!

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