Marie's Musings

Musings from the mundane day to day life of a mom of 9 to more serious ponderings of the day.

Friday, May 21, 2010

BWCA - Day 2

Andrew was up with the birds but since the temperature was a balmy 28 degrees, I had no desire to crawl out of my sleeping bag. I enjoyed sleeping in that morning til around 8 o clock when the hubster called out to say the oatmeal was ready.

The lure of a hot breakfast pulled me out of my sleeping bag to get dressed and start the day. It was beautiful with the sun shining and a new start to the day. I was looking forward to a relaxing day in camp with my hubby. He had been productive that morning, getting his hammock up and the laundry line strung and had the fire going. While it was chilly, it wasnt nearly as cold as the day before with the rain bearing down. Eventually the temps soared into the 70s with a nice breeze all day.

We ate breakfast, yummy blueberries and cream oatmeal and bacon! We took care of clean up and then hubby took a nap in his hammock while I pulled out a book. I found a tree to lean on, got some dried fruit and my cup of java and began reading. It wasnt completely quiet, of course, the birds and loons making sound, as well as water lapping at the shore. It was very peaceful and relaxing. I told Andrew that I might go off hiking and he reminded me to take my safety whistle and have fun.

So I set off exploring, I took the camera to see what shots I could capture. The landscape is a bit unique in the BWCA, in that the forest is really allowed to decompose naturally. Lots of downed trees and unique brush. I had a blast climbing over and on trees and seeing how far back into the woods I could make it! One of my favorite parts of this trip was the hiking and finding spots that I could use the self timer on the camera to take goofy shots. Some worked out great, others a bit dorky and some, well not at all. I really had a lot of fun doing that. I made Andrew come with me later to some of the same spots(not nearly as far back into the woods though) to take some nicer posed pics!

By the time I got back from hiking around, it time to start lunch. I was glad we had decided to wait til today to eat our fresher packed in meal - fajitas! I love fajitas anyway, but after all the hard work to get to our campsite and being out in the beautiful BWCA , they tasted even better!!! Andrew did some fishing, I did some more reading and even napped on a rock. I tried the hammock and it was nice but the breeze was just enough to make me feel chilled. So I elected to nap with my head on a boat cushion on a warm sunny rock. It was fabulous!

Then it was off for more hiking together and fun with pictures :) We gathered firewood on the way back. That of course was an almost constant chore. I didnt mind, generally if I hiked up to the latrine, I brought back firewood. I figure, there are no wasted trips. I was looking forward to a hot supper. We had cheesy tuna helper -- not andrews favorite -- but I thought it was very tasty! Hubby did the dishes this time and then we finished out the evening playing cribbage. We used to play that game all the time, it took a bit for us to get refreshed on the rules and the game was on. Andrew won! I really enjoyed just hanging out together and having the day to relax.

I knew that we would be up early for our day trip the next day to the pictographs, so I hit the sack relatively early. I think it was between 9 -930. Again, I totally heart my sleeping bag. It kept me really warm on those really cold nights!

Day 3 to come tommorrow!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Boundary Water Canoe Trip May 2010, Day 1

Wow its been a long time since I blogged~! This past weekend my husband and I were blessed to take a trip into the BWCA, just the two of us. My BIL and SIL watched the crew and they did a fabulous job with the kids. I wanted to capture the experience of my first trip. I plan to blog each day separately.

Day 1 -- The plan was to leave at midnight of Friday morning in order to be at the ranger station promptly at 7 am. That really left little time for sleep. I dozed a bit on the way while my husband drove but not well. I think that made the first day much more challenging, not having full capacity since I was really really tired!

We got off pretty timely, just a stop back for a map and a brief stop at a 24 hr walmart. We pulled into the ranger station at 630 am. Woot -- that left time for a half hour nap~! I didnt quite know what to expect. I had been warned by my husband that I would need to watch a 15 minute video but beyond that, this was all new. The ranger that gave us our permit was a lot of fun. He was lively, funny and engaging. He went over the rules and even gave me an orange smoky friend bracelet. I proudly wore it the entire trip~! I watched the video, most of it being common sense stuff.

I really was excited for this adventure. The only damper on the enthusiam was the cold and the rainy weather. I started out the morning with 5 layers - tank top tech shirt, long sleeve tech shirt, fleece button down, fleece vest and a rain jacket. And then sometimes the life vest as well! My hand gear consisted of fleece gloves and fingerless canoeing gloves. I did not realize what I was in for at this point. Im thinking we will canoe until afternoon, make camp and have a grand ole time. It was slightly longer than that lol.

The rain would come and go. Sometimes it felt slightly warmer, somtimes not. The first lake was hard. Maybe not so much hard as big. I really underestimated distance when thinking of this adventure. We went too far and missed an area -- at this point -- Im still thinking thats okay, we are on an adventure. Remember its still like 9 am :) Im asking Andrew all kinds of length questions, I found it really helpful to know how many miles I had to go. That first lake, I canoed I believe was close to 4 miles. Now that doesnt seem so bad but for a newbie in cold and rain, it was tough!

In the beginning, I was looking forward to the break of a portage. All of you, who have done this before, are laughing right now. It didnt turn out to be the break I envisioned it to be. It was just a different kind of hard work! I began learning the fine art of portaging. This first portage is the only one we didnt double portage. After that, we both double portaged our way there. I did my fair share of carrying thebackpack, the bear barrel or the dry pack. The first one was short. Im thinking , okay that was hard but I can do this.

So I say, we are in lake 2, how many more lakes to go? Wrong question! At that point, we needed to make it thru lake 2, 3 and 4, at least 3 more portages and then lake insula. The adventure is seeming a little tougher! Hubby is encouraging me to drink more water and Im thinking of digging that hole in the woods. I managed to avoid that fun, the entire trip.

It really was beautiful despite the rain and cold. Mostly at this point, Im thinking how far til that campsite and fire!

I really was very tired and probably dehydrated as well. I was hallicinating , I kept seeing pieces of driftwood or rocks as animals or lawnchairs or all kinds of things. I would finally come closer to something and think oh, thats just a stump. Maybe I just was looking too hard for animals and things. It really was kind of amusing. I was disapointed that no black bears were spotted though!

We made it thru the next couple of lakes fairly quickly. I think each of our crossings in those lakes was less than 2 miles or so. Im gaining hope at this point but its taken us a loong time to get to this point. Im rethinking the plan of going in all the way to insula!!! I knew that hubby was wanting to try that insula portage he broke his leg on, so we carried on. Im asking more milage questions -- hoping that we have made it at least halfway point. Most of the portages along this stretch werent long but hard work nonetheless.

Finally, we get to the insula portage, the longest one of our journey. I believe it to be 110 rods or somthing of that nature. I know my husband told me that we might find a campsite after this portage right away or we might have to go all the way across the lake. My hope springs eternal, so IM thinking of course we will find one of the 40 campsites on this lake, right away thats perfect. So we begin the portage, pause midway for some pictures. Make our way back and double portage again. It was long but it wasnt as daunting as I thought it might be. Dont get me wrong, it was a long hard walk but worth the effort. We are back in the canoe and we find the first campsite and hubby declares it too open to the wind.

Okay folks, remember this is late, probably at least 5 pm by this point. Im tired(so tired Im seeing things), Im cold and wet and my feet and hands are frozen. So I think okay ... keep on paddling, envisioning dory from Finding Nemo, just keep on paddling. So off we go. Its harder and harder to gather the strength to make the paddle dip into the water one more time. Visions of my warm sleeping bag filled my head. We repeat this scenario at least 3 more times. Each time, my hope waning. About the time we make it to the fifth campsite, I must have had the look on my face that stated, "This one better work or you are going overboard buddy" Hubster decides this one is sheltered enough from the wind and will work fine. Thank God! Im not sure I could have made it any farther. Im not sure on the exact time but it was after 6 pm for sure.

Andrew got the fire going, we started putting up the tent and finding dry socks. The relief was palatable! Andrew sent me off to gather firewood, most of which was wet at this point. I found what I could quickly and brought it back to camp. I hiked up into the woods( the latrine was 150 yards from the campsite) and went to the bathroom. I was pretty glad I managed to make it til then. It was a unique experience using a latrine without a shelter in the middle of the woods, especially after we discovered a giant spider made his home there. Literally had to clear a web out every morning.

Its still really cold at this point, but thankfully the rain had stopped, we were at our campsite and there was no more canoeing at that moment!!! We had some discussions about dinner, elected for finger foods -- neither of us had any energy at the point for anything but necesity. I know it wasnt long after we ate, that I crawled into the tent, happy to put on my pajamas and warm fuzzy socks. I totally heart my sleeping bag, it kept me warm thruout freezing winter temps. We discussed whether Sat was our in camp day or our day trip day. I was very relieved to agree on our in camp day. I was so looking forward to sleep!

Day 2 to come tommorrow!~