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“Into the wilderness
AS I DIPPED MY PADDLE into Lake One and our canoe lifted free of the sand, the unnerving realization sank in that I was headed into the unforgiving ruggedness of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, and my partner, my 12-year-old daughter, already had stopped paddling to look for fish. My sister and her son were paddling like contestants on The Amazing Race. My wife and my other daughter had stopped to fix their hats. Nature, I hoped, would be kind to us.
Fortunately, we had help. Ely-based River Point Resort outfitters designed this “Taste of the North Wood” two-day, one-night trip to ensure novices like us have a good first experience here. The staff gave us canoe lessions, packed our gear and food and drove us to the launch point. They salved our fears about bears and getting lost, although they did suggest we stick to Lake One, avoiding portages and the more remote tangle of lakes.
The advice was good. Even though we had a map and compass, the shorelines massed with pine trees and boulders created a disorienting flow of islands, points and inlets. Finding a campsite (marked only by a metal grate) was not easy. Eventually, we found one about three miles from where we put in (five miles, adding wrong turns and circles). We gathered wood, started a fire, pitched tents on hard ground and boiled lake water to cook chicken, mashed potatoes and even lemon pie (which was delicous). Our muscles ached, we were dirty, there was only lake water to drink, and there was nowhere soft to sit, yet a singular contentment settled over the camp. This wilderness was our wilderness, it seemed, reachable only through self-reliance (and a goodoutfitter). The following morning, we sat on sun-baked rocks at the edge of the gently lapping lake, watching the stillness and listening to the sound of peace.
There was no rush to leave. We felt as if we had discovered a new world. We had, in fact, discovered two: the wilderness around us, and one within.”
Written by Greg Philby
INTO THE WILDERNESS The National Forest Service requires permits to enter the Boundary Waters; limit nine people per permit. River Point Resort & Outfitting Company will customize your travel package, depending on your skill level and your choice of options, such as menu items, sizes and types of canoes and tents, sleeping bags, etc. You may even have a guide accompany you on the trip, if desired. Basic “Taste of the North Woods” one-night package for six (as described in story) is about $595 with an extended stay at the resort.”
Refer to the “Taste of the North Woods” package for more information about enhancing your River Point Resort lodging stay with an overnight BWCA canoe trip.
Refer to River Point Outfitting Co. for all other canoe trip packages and information.