Although I have been paddling for most of my life, the impetus to go to BWCA really came from Tom. He actually had such an interest in going to MN that he suggested I get a job up there! We didn’t exactly know what we were getting into, but we have enjoyed 3 or 4 paddling trips in the Adirondacks in the past and we figured this would be similar. In most ways it was. The biggest differences are the vastness of the BWCA and the types of wildlife we saw. We saw no fewer than 4 bald eagles, many frogs and toads and many turtles, as well as 1 leech. As they are in the Adirondacks, Tom’s beloved loons were in attendance. The portages (carrying the canoe between lakes or bypassing whitewater) are also different in the BWCA-most are shorter and not nearly as muddy. We were in the backcountry for 5.5 days and saw as few as 4 other people one day. We paddled and portaged a total of about 76 miles over a frickin’ bunch of lakes!
This year was very light on the rain, so the water was much more shallow than usual (per locals’ reports) and I never found a good jumping rock at any of our campsites. The lakes are also much warmer than the Adirondacks. I had the pleasure of swimming every day (this also helps keep the stink down when there’s no shower around for 5 days). We did get some rainy weather, but it was mostly at night and we had clear, beautiful, dark skies for 2 nights to view the stars and moon as well as couple of beautiful sunsets.