Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tents and Canoes and foods....

My trip to the boundary waters gave me some very different foods, accommodations and transportation!  I want to tell you that I have not camped or canoed for many years.  I think the last time I officially camped was with my mom, dad, family, and grandparents, probably up to Lake Itasca in northern MN. I canoed the south fork of the Flambeau way way back in the early 80's.

Let's get this party started!!  don't we look fresh and ready!
We may look happy, but we were not fresh!

I think I LIVE a camp up here, so have never felt the need to pitch a tent and sleep outside. Really, I can make a fire in the fire ring ANY time I want, cook outside at will, sit on the ground or a log, hike in the woods, etc. This tent thing was a situation I just chose not to think about before I left.  I had set my mind to the fact that I was not in charge of this trip, I did not have to make a lot of decisions, with any luck at all I did not have to cook much!! and whatever I had to do to sleep, I would!  So, I found the whole tent thing somewhat entertaining.  Fortunately, my friend Cat gave me some good tips and pointers about existing in a tent, and that was quite helpful.  Glad I had my flip flops to use at the site so I didn't end up dragging the entire beach in and under my sleep pad.  No, only about 1/4 of it came in, so that was all good.
Dirty feets!

We ended up putting a big sheet of plastic down in the tent instead of on the ground under the tent, which worked really well when it rained and rained and rained and rained rained and rained and rained and rained rained and rained and rained and rained rained and rained and rained and rained and RAINED on Tuesday night.  The extra plastic pulled up around the edges kept the splashes out of the tent.  Nice.

A few notes about tents- don't put yours on a slant, as you will spend the night scooching back up and taking your feet out of your Omaha pack.
Keep your stuff organized or it will look like this:
Typical:  Rose and Emily's side vs. Debi's side!  You guess which is which!!  :)  bahahaha

Don't take pictures right away in the morning, because then you look like this!

The canoeing aspect of this trip was about the best part.  I love to canoe!!  All the training and weight lifting that I have done served me very well.  I could paddle for a long time on one side, which suited my canoe partners well.  I ended up with a couple different partners during the expedition.  One was Pat of course and the other was Penny.  Both of them were great steerers, and since I am a power paddler and gawker, they accommodated me very well!  I was the only person on the trip with a camera, so I had an important job to do.  We were lucky to have never gotten rained on during out various outings and travels, and it was nice and overcast when we went on our long daytrip up to Canada!
Bright much?

Partners of awesome!

I love to paddle!

Canoe flash back

This is called concentration, kids!!  hahahaha

I have to say that is was quite an event for all of the participants.  For me, this was a test of my physical abilities.  I was really happy with the way that turned out.  For Rose it was her first true camping trip in many years, she likes this kind of thing- a lot.  She is way more adventurous than her older sister for sure!  For Emily, I think that this is way different than anything she has ever done before!  She turned into an awesome canoer!  The improvement she made was epic!  For Penny, she had never gone on a Boundary Waters trip with just her son, Nathan. Nathan!  Nathan had a transformative journey, as he had been in a severe car accident a while back and he never thought that he would make it up to the BWCA again.  So for him to be able to canoe, portage, camp, hike and generally climb his own personal mountains was a touching thing to behold.  And Pat got to have 3 moms and art!  Hey that almost sounds like a TV show, doesn't it??

Not only were the Canoes an awesome mode of transportation, they lent themselves to some wonderful north-woodsy/outdoorsy ambience!  (Hang on here kids- I have a badillion canoe pix- how do I choose??)
Canada portage

Portage time

Beautiful sunset

First day canoeing

Canoe ambience

Exit and enter the canoe staying low!

Canoe reflections

We ended up having 3 fewer people on our trip than we first thought, which left us with room to take an additional pack full of - you got it- art supplies.  They came in quite handy and really added to the experience.  Every 2 people had one pack for their stuff, then there was the food pack and the equipment pack, plus the paddles and canoes.  We usually just took things in 2 trips, though the preferred method is to do everything in one trip!  Oh well, it was pretty relaxed, so we weren't too worried about this kind of thing.  Emily had the lightest pack, which ended up with just my stuff in it, Pat ended up putting his things into the art supply pack, and so she was able to carry that at every portage, along with some PFD's or paddles.  And of course we all had to babysit Penny's waterbottle.  Poor thing.

The food pack had an interesting variety of things in it. Everyday there was a surprise for us.  We got to pick out our menu for the trip on Sunday night.  I think Pat was thrilled to have another vegetarian on teh trip with him and I was happy that it wasn't just me who needed hummus and cheese.  The first day or two, there was perishable food available- like steak for supper (veggie burgers) and sausage, cheese and hummus for lunches.  After that, the dried things kicked in and it was all good.

The high calorie food that he kept stuffing us with was sort of amazing.  I spend my life doing portion control, counting calories, eating lightly and I imagine I ate 3000 calories or more per day!  I don't think I want to actually count it up.  Even though it didn't matter, really.  I mean, I had 2 salted nut roll candy bars (made in St. Paul- go USA) on the Canada trip!  I never eat one candy bar, let alone 2!  Anyway, I am peanut buttered out, as we had lots of peanut based food. I loves me some peanut butter, but I couldn't bear to eat any right now.  We had peanut butter a few times for lunch, the Pad Thai had a peanut butter based sauce, we had gorp with peanuts, mary bars which are dripping with peanut butter, nut rolls......  you get the idea.
One match fire

Potatoes and corn, steaks



No comment


more popcorn

oatmeal and raisins

Oatmeal and hot chocolate

mid bite!


Pad Thai and peas

I enjoyed all of the food really- breakfast was awesome: Pancakes with dried pineapple, oatmeal and raisins, scrambled eggs and potatoes, and granola and banana chips.  Which I really don't like all that much even still- long story.  Lunches were simple pita or bagels with something on it.  Pat discovered that you can not only heat up your salami, but also you can make bagels and cheese into grilled cheese very easily!  YUM!  Dinners were divine- steak and potatoes, pizza, pad thai and voyager stew. Voyager stew was lentils with a bunch of dried veggies in it, with an onion soup base.  Pair with some biscuits cooked in the frying pan and you have delish!  We had popcorn every night, along with smores and some left over trail mix, etc.  The last night we heated soft pretzels in a little oil on the campfire and then shook them in cinnamon sugar- that was dessert.

And BONUS!  the food pack kept getting lighter and lighter.

Portaging all of that stuff back and forth was a challenge, but we did great.  Everyone did their share, did what they could do, with no complaining.  There was a lot of determination in faces to get that canoe/pack what have you across to the other side, no matter what kind of rocks, roots, moss, creeks, hills, mountains or other obstacles were in the way!  YAY for us!!

I have to go on with my day, here, I will be posting more about our adventures soon!

And I am going to have an extended birthday celebration!!  woo hoo!!
Until next time- be a joy giver!!!  


  1. Outstanding documentation of a fantastic experience! The tents look like Eureka Timberline Outfitter "6" models...were they? You shouldn't have had to put the ground cloth inside the tent. Part of its job is to protect the bottom of the tent from rocks, branches, etc underneath. If you had splashes/other wetness coming through the sides, the tent needs a re-coating with waterproofing spray. Or you had things inside the tent brushing/rubbing against the inside of the tent walls. Or both :)

    Thank you for sharing these pictures!

  2. Oh honey, I have no clue what the tents were! If my dear buddy Pat reads this blog, maybe he will know! I do know that Pat had to borrow the tents from someone. I was not responsible for anything but trying to keep the beach off of my sleep pad! The plastic worked very well, I know not a thing about it beyond that!! :) And did you see the pic of my side of the tent?? Of course I had stuff rubbing against it. Lol, I go from hot to cold to warmish to freezing all in one night, so I have assorted blankets, shirts, fleeces (which ended up under my head) and my waterbottle and camera in the waterproof case all in my reach. It was great!