Our family vacation this year was a trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). I was last there in 1992 just before my sister Hannah was born and I was eager to return with my family. We started our trip with a scenic drive. I started by taking the kids on the Golden Eagle Ferry in St. Louis over the Mississippi river.
I decided to try taking the road from the ferry north for a scenic drive. Little did I know that the road was extra narrow and had many hairpin turns. I was driving under the speed limit for safety and to keep the family from getting car sick.
We made the drive over two days to get a head start on the drive. By day two, is starts to be a chore and people get inventive. Sonora did a craft project and Corvin found ways to block the sun so he could read. Most of the drive, we listened to the audio book, The Scorch Trials by James Dashner.
On the second day, we got to Ely, MN just after lunch and checked in at Cliff Wold’s outfitters. There we got the scoop on our trip and found out our accommodations for the night. On the drive out to check out the cabin, I found a sign that I misread, so I fixed it…
We finished out our night exploring the tiny town of Ely, Mn.
Eventually we had dinner and went back to our cabin. Sleep didn’t come easy as the mosquitos didn’t want us to sleep. And maybe we were all excited. But when the morning came in, we all got ready in a hurry and waited for the shuttle to come and pick us up.
Unloading the shuttle van at the start of the trip.
Here we are with all our gear for 5 days, packed to head off at Lake One, the start of our trip.
It looks like a dead end, but this is the right way to continue onto the next lake.
Hogan and Sonora on a peaceful lake with 3 fifths of the gear.
These plants with flowers were a constant companion when the water was shallow and calm during the trip.
Nothing makes a selfie better than having Sonora and I in the background.
Way too many times the BWCA took our breath away with the scenery.
Corvin with his tree man bracelet on.
One of the many portages of the day.
The end of the portage and the stark scenery from the 2011 Pagami Creek forest fire. 6 years later and the trees are starting to come back.
The wildlife didn’t seem to notice us getting close for a photo.
Somewhere around here, we made camp for the night at a fantastic site on a huge rock overlooking the lake with its own beach. There are a bunch of memories from this campsite but a few really stick out. There were not many choices of where to hang our food bag as the fire didn’t leave many tall trees. What we found wasn’t great, but would work for the night. At some point in the night, I woke up to lights, but couldn’t place them as there is no electricity and nobody else around. Danelle woke up around the same time and we ended up going outside. There, we realized it was lightning to the north of us. I was a little concerned as we were out a bit on a point, but decided to sleep anyway.
Sometime later we hear a strange snapping sound. Worried about a bear attacking our food, we shined a light out and spotted the food bag. Everything seemed in place and we finally gave up and went back to sleep. We woke up the next morning to realize one of our tent poles had snapped. We ended up duct taping a splint on the broken pole for the rest of the trip.
Making dinner at our campsite on a rock.
Camp is setup. The canoes are lower down beached on the sand.
Having one actual chair was a nice change for one of us versus the canoe seats and log benches.
You can never go wrong making bacon.
The tent pole that snapped in the night.
More water vegetation.
Hogan carrying a canoe on a portage.
Danelle and Corvin paddling.
Danelle getting photographs of scenery and Corvin hiding from the sun.
Love the calm days out on the water.
I must have asked Sonora to turn for a photo cause she’s looking at me.
Stopped for lunch and a swim.
The highest level of cliff jumping we allowed the kids during the trip. I spent a bunch of time making sure it was deep enough before allowing it.
Corvin’s favorite pose for the trip. It made an interesting sound when our boat glided over the vegetation.
Its awesome to be able to see down into the water and view the vegetation.
Tons of these flowers on the water.
Corvin testing to see how deep the water is.
A splint for a broken tent pole. Always bring duct tape!!!
Sonora and Danelle planning our route together.
There are not enough sunsets in the BWCA!
It wouldn’t be camping without trying to cut something too big for the fire!
Some pots are more dirty than others. This won’t be fun to clean.
Corvin on a fallen tree.
Sonora taking a break from packing up in the morning.
Danelle taking a break from packing up in the morning.
Hogan in the middle of a long portage with a heavy aluminum canoe.
Sonora and Corvin putting their sails up.
Leaving a portage.
Our favorite campsite of the trip. Log sofa to the left and rock coffee table in the middle.
Without Internet and electricity, you do silly things to entertain yourselves.
My hands while cleaning the nasty pot. Good thing I soaped the outside, as it came totally clean.
When your hands are too dirty to touch yourself, the kids can sculpt your hair.
Lounging on the wood sofa.
A hair monster?
Double man bun?
The best campsite without our junk.
Takeout at Snowbank Lake.
Group shot at Snowbank Lake takeout.
Sonora modifying a road sign.