Earlier this month, I took off with my PIC to wander where there was no wi-fi, cellphone reception, and most importantly no 24/7 news and pandemic updates. We set our sights on the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Both of us grew up in the Midwest (myself a Sconie, Brian Minnesota-nice), but surprisingly neither one of us had canoed the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota. Armed with an obscene amount of bug repellent, water-resistant camping gear, dehydrated food for a week, a water filter, and a waterproof map, we set our iPhones to airplane mode, dug our paddles in, and didn’t look back.
Off the Grid in the Boundary Waters
More and more these days it seems that it’s hard to get away from the connectivity of technology whether it’s a text, a tag, or a Tik Tok video (still don’t get them). However, we managed to get off the grid in the Boundary Waters. We replaced the dings and dongs of technology with the sounds of loons, dragonflies, and the ever-present pesky mosquito.
Look Up from a Tent in the Middle of the Night
If I were to paint a perfect picture of camping in the Boundary Waters (or anywhere for that matter), I would be lying. Camping is always an adventure. Granted my pictures showcase the natural wonders, but we had our fair share of rain, lightning, muddy portages, sore bodies, and bug bites. On our last night, our coldest night, it started to rain, putting out our last campfire. We sought shelter in our two-man tent. Eventually, the rain put us to sleep. Not unusual, I awoke in the middle of the night needing to go to the bathroom. Although it had stopped raining, it was going to be damp, cold, and dark outside with a high probability of a mosquito ambush or bear.
As there was no way to exit a two-man tent without waking up the other man, I woke up my PIC and we both got out of the tent to water the plants. To our surprise, we looked up at the Milky Way and the moon so bright that we didn’t need our headlamps. No other night had the sky been clear. And, shockingly, unlike previous evenings the mosquitoes had taken five or perhaps the night off. That late-night au natural bathroom visit was yet another reminder to Look Up: 1) Be in moment appreciating the beauty around you as well as hazards & 2) Find the upside.
Returning to Good Food, a Shower, and Bed
Paddling our canoe, nicknamed Yellow Fever, in the Boundary Waters was a beautiful adventure. The thirty-five-mile loop was challenging at times, but it is something to repeat. If you are interested in doing something similar check out my Boundary Waters travel tips. However, I will warn you; after a certain amount of time roughing it, I certainly needed some good hot food, a shower with hot water, and a comfortable bed, bigger than a two-man tent. Motel 6 in Duluth to the rescue!
Here’s to looking up wherever you are, perhaps outside of a two-man tent with a stary sky!