The Boundary Waters is a place like none other. Words can’t do justice to describe its beauty. But even though one second you may not ever want to leave this heavenly place, in the blink of an eye, things can get ugly.
The summer of 2016 was full of fun times, but I would have to say that the highlight was my trip to Wilderness Canoe Base (a canoe base/bible camp up by the Boundary Waters). I went on the trip with a group of friends from my church and our amazing pastor. At the time I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it to be honest. But looking back I am incredibly glad I went through with it.
The one thing I remember from our first day there was being greeted by a ginormous bug about the size of my thumb crawling up my sweatpants, of course panic ensued. This wasn’t the most warming welcome by any means. After being up north for less than 20 minutes I already wanted to leave… Not the most ideal start to a trip that I was supposed to be excited about. Day one was just a lot of organizing and preparing for our first day of canoeing and essentially just surviving mother nature in general. When the sun fell it was time to get a wonderful night’s sleep, or so we all thought. I kid you not, the mosquitos were the size of bats. At least that’s what it seemed like when you’ve got 20 of them buzzing in your ear at once. But slowly but surely, the sun came up again.
Everyone slowly rolled out of bed the next morning with mosquito bites all over. We got out right away and started canoeing until we couldn’t canoe anymore. By the time we took a break, all of the paddling and portaging took its toll. We ate lunch, paddled some more and finally set up camp on this little island we discovered. We had our dinner and then something happened that I will never forget. The sun started to set. The sun lit up the entire sky with orange, purple, red, and just about every other color. Words can’t describe just how beautiful this sight was. Everyone was on the highest point of the island for about half an hour just taking in a once in a life time sight.
The next day was full of adventures. We went and explored everywhere we wanted to. We went to “Eddie’s Falls” which was a series of beautiful waterfalls. The day was also filled with swimming and fishing. And once again, another breath-taking sunset. Despite it being as amazing as it was, this night was a nightmare. The tent that the guide, two of my friends, and I were sleeping in broke. The zipper became disconnected and somehow every mosquito within a mile radius rushed inside to make sure none of us would be sleeping that night.
The next day and the day after were nothing new. We got our zipper fixed so we could have a peaceful night’s rest for the remaining two left. We had blueberry pancakes which were nothing short of incredible. I’d have to say that the meals were close to the highlight of the trip. At the start I was expecting to eat food because I needed to survive, not because it tasted delicious. Wow did I have a nice surprise though. Let’s just say that calzones were the last thing I was expecting to have on trail. We also relocated to a new campsite to spend our last night there.
The last night there was so perfect. Everything was so quiet and calm. I couldn’t have been happier with how my trip was going so far. We fell asleep to the sound of waves slowly lapping against the shoreline. Then I woke up to something not nearly as calming. I looked out the screen window and it looked like someone was holding a strobe light right outside the tent. Of course no one was doing that, it was lightning. It started to rain little by little until it was absolutely pouring. We all had to rush to put on our raingear as fast as we could. This was one of the scariest moments of my life. I had no idea what to do and it couldn’t have been more chaotic. Our guide eventually calmed us all down and we stood outside huddled up to keep warm surrounded by thunder and lightning. The storm passed after about two hours which gave us a solid three hours of sleep; not exactly ideal. We paddled back to mainland, packed our things and soon enough we were headed back home. The car ride back was just as quiet as being up in the Boundary Waters. Everybody just passed out from exhaustion 5 minutes in. Soon enough we got home and were full of stories to tell our families.
The memories and friendships that were formed and built on this trip will never be replaced. I learned a lot about myself and felt like a better, more complete person when I came back. My experience with the Boundary Waters was unforgettable to say the least. I wouldn’t trade a second of it for the world.