Monday, 16 June 2008

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Part 1

I am back from my paddling trip! Everything worked out great - except for the rain of course....But I will start at the beginning: Raru picked me up at O'Hare airport in Chicago and we went shopping for our 2 weeks paddling trip. After a long day of repackaging food for 2 people for 2 weeks and going through all my stuff we finally left DeKalb in the evening of the next day. We broke up the drive up to Minnesota by staying at a US Forest Campground and finally arrived at Boundary Waters. I could not wait to sit in a canoe, but we first stayed the night at the campground there. And then we started paddling - and of course, it rained. Actually it was raining 12 out of 14 days, but I am sort of used to it by now.

Paddling was easy but I had not realised that there are so many portages - and they are long! Right on our first day we had to do a 280 rod (1 rod = 1 canoe length) portage, which meant that we had to go 5 times. We had so much stuff that we had to do 2 rounds for carrying the food (plus coming back) and the last round for carrying the canoe. The first day was also the worst: Too much stuff to carry and a lot of rain.... But then things became better. We got used to the portages and perfected our system. Also our food got less so that we could the portages with 3 goes instead of 5. And right now I am missing carrying a canoe over my head...

I also perfected my way of getting in and out of a canoe. You can still call me Ms. Grace and Elegance, but I look actually sort of professional right now doing it. And I also perfected the art of building a fire, which is a real pain in the ass when it is raining all the time. In the BWCA (=Boundary Waters Canoe Area) you have to stay in designated camp sites, which is not a problem because there are hundreds of them. Each camp site has latrine and a fire grate. Raru had bought a lot of fresh vegetables like onions and carrots that we would roast on our camp fire. The food was heavy but it tasted delicious. Raru also caught a couple of fish and nothing is better than a fresh fish prepared over a camp fire..

And there comes the first really funny story: I wanted to try fishing, too (which I then only tried once without any success) and therefore we bought a husband and wife fishing license. And believe it or not, right in the middle of nowhere in BWCA a game warden stopped us to see our paperwork. And when I produced our fishing license he asked very sceptically whether we are really married. Before Raru could open his mouth to admit the truth I had already produced a story about us just recently having married and being on our honeymoon! I even fantazised about applying for American citizenship. Raru would make jokes about me as his duelly wedded wife for the rest of the trip. We got fined nevertheless for not having a registration on our boat.... Shit happens!

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