We’d been on the road for past 8 days. Having already stayed at Sandusky, OH; Chicago, IL and Woodbury, MN, I knew we now had to do some adventure. A real adventure. My cousin in Woodbury, mentioned Boundary Waters. That’s it ! We had crashed for a couple of days at his place.
Next morning we left. My NY roommate, an actor to-be and I, hit the road again at the first light. A stop at Duluth, MN (At the US dept. of forest) to obtain the camping permit; another pause at Ely, MN a really small - cute town, right at the beginning of BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area).
BWCA, more than a million acres of wilderness in the absolute North-East part of Minnesota, is a pure raw camping / adventure / canoeing / fishing region. It is a part of the Superior National Forest along the international borders of Minnesota, USA and Ontario, Canada.
The only way to reach a campsite - Canoeing; following a physical / tangible map which we took in Ely while renting our camp gear from an Outfitter. None of us knew how to canoe. I had kayaked before though; We managed. It took us more than an hour on the canoe to locate and reach a campsite. Finding one empty was tough, more so as we were rookies at canoeing.
Excited yet scared (of Bears - YES, one can encounter), we started to set up our camp. Little did we know, it would take about an hour to erect our tent. With the sun almost down and a broken lantern (it never worked), we set it up in the faint light of a fire which I managed to have with some dry wood we’d collected soon after realizing that shelter indeed is an utmost necessity of human survival. Unfortunately as an Indian child, very few learn the skills of camping or adventure, unlike such activities common in the Western world. Innocent us, we struggled but managed. Well ! We had to…
Finally relaxed in the utter silence of the wild, a couple of drinks with some camp-special packs of dinner cooked on a propane cylinder stove; A Good night !
Early morning I woke up to a beautiful and peaceful wilderness. Campsites at BWCA are scattered, each far from another.
Most of that day was spent in canoeing to a portage, hiking in a really dense forest and obviously, careful executions of basics in the wild like no food leftovers that may attract animals and purifying lake water with a handy purifier. Survival rule no. 1 - Water ! No to forget, which was also required with the bourbon we had for the night & after it. Pun intended !
I definitely knew two nights were less. VERY LESS. The whole 2nd night, it poured. The rains left a serene, misty lake-side dawn outside our drenched camp. Within my heart; it was an end to an adventure, an experience. Memories in my camera and definitely more respect & learnings from sheer nature; we canoed again, this time only to be back to civilization.
© Nipun Nayyar