Six Days / 5 Nights Canoeing In the BWCA with My Kids

Discussion in 'Outings, Trips & Expeditions' started by Terrapin, Jul 16, 2017 at 7:21 PM.

  1. Terrapin

    Terrapin Supporter Supporter

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    Just got back from my annual trip to the BWCA with my two kids, my (almost) sixteen tear old son @Peter A and my thirteen year old daughter, Maggie. We spent six days and five nights canoeing the BWCA. I took a lot of pictures, but the earlier pics got corrupted so, the picture journal doesn't really start until day two. Our journey began July 1st as we packed our gear, loaded the canoe on the minivan and said our goodbyes to my wife before we left our home in the suburbs of Chicago. Drove the six hundred miles to Babbit, MN where we stayed at a hotel there for the night. Got up early the next morning, took our last shower for several days, grabbed breakfast at the hotel and drove the 15 miles to Ely, MN. Once in Ely, we picked up a few things from the local grocery store, went to the ranger station to acquire our permit and headed to our entry point. I let my son pick the route this year and he decided to enter at Mudro Lake (#23) and travel Northwest up to a one night camp, travel the next day, find a nice base-camp (three nights) and return the same route with another one night camp before returning to Mudro Lake.. Not the super loops I have done in my 30's. This only being my kid's second trip there and me not being 30 anymore, I agreed that minimal moving, packing, etc would be fine and would leave us plenty of camp time. We unloaded at the entry point, parked the van and started our trip. On our first day, we traveled only five miles to our first camp on Fourtown Lake. We did four portages that day with a whopping total of 235 Rods! We did have a stress crack open up on my 30+ year old We-No-Nah Sundowner that I added a Spring Creek middle seat for my daughter. I was pretty small crack and with just a few strips of Gorrilla Tape, we were back on the water. The camp site was a decent size but being on such a populated lake, there was garbage, toys and someone's left over rice dinner in the water at the landing... Enough said about that site. We made a quick camp and grilled up the only perishable food we took with us, three nice rib-eyes. We had a mature doe walk right up to the site... didn't even care about us... that was cool. We woke up early and headed off to our next destination. Since we were pretty overloaded (this was an older two person racing canoe that I added a seat to) and I was concerned about more stress cracks forming, so I suggested that we make base-camp on Boot Lake and keep the travel minimal. We only had one fifty rod portage to get to Boot Lake. Here come the pictures! We found a great site on Boot Lake and decided to make it home. We stayed there for four nights since I was certain that we could make the entire route back in just a little more than a half day's travel.

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    Nice little bush repair!

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    Glad to be at the base-camp!

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    Kid's tent in a nice shady spot.

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    My tent up high and overlooking the bay.

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    Our own personal bay with a narrow peninsula in the middle... Great view to wake up to!

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    Our living room after a good clean up.

    So we stayed at this site for the next four nights. Just fished from shore, practiced fire skills, weathered two short but powerful thunderstorms, processed firewood and just enjoyed each others company. We alternated meals that we dehydrated at home of my famous chilli mac, beef strogenoff and mac & cheese with pan roasted summer sausage (only store bought dinner). We mostly ate oatmeal for breakfast but changed it up with some pancakes one day. I am also on this "baking in the bush" kick so, I make a huge garlic and cheddar biscuit with one dinner and a mixed berry muffin the size of a small cake for desert. Fishing wasn't too great but we still had plenty to eat. Saw a huge variety of wildlife: bald eagles, beaver, otters, garder snakes, turtles, hawks, deer, frogs, toads, chipmunks... No bears or moose, but that's OK.

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    Had to steal the communal tarp after I got soaked when the first storm hit. Tent went in the garbage first thing when we got home!

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    Painted turtle digging a hole (for eggs) right at our camp!

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    This guy kept getting swept off the rock from waves... but came back every time!

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    Maggie processing some wood for her first bush fire... That is the look of determination!

    Continued...
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017 at 8:18 PM
  2. Terrapin

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    Peter trying to catch something to put on that fire!

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    Maggie's first featherstick! Way better then what I can do!

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    Only fish of the trip... Looks like chilli mac tonight!

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    Starting the fire with a ferro rod... Look at that pro fire lay... Things are looking promising!

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    She did it! That is my baking set up making us some biscuits to go with the chilli mac.

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    Maggie giving it her best at catching something... Not in the cards this trip!

    So after four great nights at this campsite, it was time to head out. We knew that we could travel the entire route back to our van in just six hours or so. We ate a quick breakfast and packed our lunch for the day. Packed up all of our gear and said goodbye to the campsite that we called home for 4 days and headed out back to our van waiting for us at the end of Mudro Lake.

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    saw even more critters on the way out!

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    Look at these guys load up for the portage... @Peter A is even double packing it!

    So we made it back with plenty of time to pack up and make it to the hotel for a long needed shower and their Friday night fish fry... We were determined to eat fish before we got home! To summarize the trip, we spent six days and five nights, stayed at two camp sites, traveled a total of sixteen miles and did ten portages totaling five hundred seventy rods. to travel I am so grateful for these moments with my family and feel privileged to share this experience with you. Hope you enjoyed, Aaron, Peter and Maggie A.

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    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017 at 8:24 PM
  3. Terrapin

    Terrapin Supporter Supporter

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    reserved for later content...
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017 at 7:51 PM
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  4. pab1

    pab1 Supporter Supporter Bushclass II

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    Looks like a great trip! Thanks for sharing!
     
  5. MommaJ

    MommaJ Supporter Supporter

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    Sounds like a perfect get away
     
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  6. crewhead05

    crewhead05 Supporter Supporter

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    great trip!
     
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  7. R Stowe

    R Stowe Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    That's a heck of a trip. I'm 30 now and still look back on trips like that with my dad.
     
  8. Slowanderer

    Slowanderer Supporter Supporter

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    Good on you Dad for sharing the most precious commodity of all, time.
     
  9. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    Trips with my kids are some of their (and my) best memories.
     
  10. Hoof

    Hoof Guide

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    An epic trip for the kids, thanks for posting.
     
  11. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Looks like a great time with the kids, thanks for posting!
     
  12. snapper

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    I'm sure you're kids are going to want to do that again. Great job getting them out. Looks like your daughter has earned a new job on future trips as far as her fire building skills go. Nice to see that.

    That's all for now. Take care and until next time....be well.

    snapper
     
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  13. Terrapin

    Terrapin Supporter Supporter

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    This was their second trip there and they are already planning next year... so I think that was a win! Thank you, Aaron
     
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  14. Grouse Hunter

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    Great pics and TR. Quality time spent with family in the great outdoors, doesn't get much better. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  15. Terrapin

    Terrapin Supporter Supporter

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    OK... Probably a stupid question... and it has nothing to do with my trip... Look at the last picture I took and tell me why it is reversed. My daughter's shirt says Bulls... backwards. To take this picture, I had to use the "seflie" feature, so I could see that we were in frame. I set it on a rock and when we got lined up, all I had to do was say "cheese" and it took a picture. I never used the seflie camera before (for obvious reasons, you can see in the only pic of me that I wouldn't want that ugly mug pasted all over the internet!). Are all selfies backwards? Can I change that? Thanks, Aaron
     
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  16. bacpacjac

    bacpacjac Guide Bushclass I

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    Super cool! Looks like the trip of a lifetime, except maybe for the catching park. A trip with my kids to BWCA is on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing!
     
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  17. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter

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    What was the problem with your tent?
    Thanks for the pictures and report. You've got a fine looking family there.
     
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  18. Badey

    Badey Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Looks like a nice time with the boys!
     
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  19. IA Woodsman

    IA Woodsman Overwatch Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator Vendor Bushclass Instructor

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    Awesome trip, spent alot of time in the BWAC. Great place to take your boys.
     
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  20. Crusher0032

    Crusher0032 Scout

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    Awesome trip, thanks for sharing!
     
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  21. Terrapin

    Terrapin Supporter Supporter

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    The moment is started raining, I instantly felt a fine mist inside the tent. Looks like the tent material and rainfly failed. If the seams leaked, I would just use some seam sealer... All tents leak a little... This one failed! Wasn't so bad... slept through it ok... and dried everything out the next morning and added the tarp over the top. Thanks, Aaron
     
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  22. M.Hatfield

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    Family trips like this remind me how lucky I was to have chances to enjoy the outdoors. It is easy to see how much everyone there enjoyed that trip.

    You did them all an awesome service by getting them out and away from civilization! :)
     
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  23. TD Bauer

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    I live about six hours away from the BWCA. Used to even live in Ely for a few years - don't get that way enough these days. However, my buddy of 30+ years and I who met each in other in Boy scouts back in the 80s are planning a trip to the BWCA next year in late August 2018. Looking forward to it.
     
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  24. Terrapin

    Terrapin Supporter Supporter

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    For sure! Just keeping them off their darn phones for an entire week was a massive accomplishment! Thanks, Aaron
     
  25. Russell96

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    Such wonderful smiles! Everyone looks happy. Looks a great trip.
    Russ
     
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  26. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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  27. Terrapin

    Terrapin Supporter Supporter

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    Ely is a very cool town. As much as I love going with my kids, It would be great to get my old group of buddies back together... but I am afraid it would kill most of them! Have a great trip! Aaron
     
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