Voyageur Quote:

 "A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows."
-- St. Francis of Assisi




Boundary Waters Pine Trees 

Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder







BWCA Bliss 

BWCA Bliss














         July of 2009 won't be remembered for its rays of sunshine but for being cold and wet.  The first part of July was cold but not wet while the second half of the month was cold and wet.

     The rain started falling on the 14th and kept right on throughout the rest of the month.  It rained 12 of the last 18 days of the month for a total of 5.2 inches of rain.  The forest is happy with the moisture content of the soil and trees but knows it can quickly change. 

     July 2009 ended with an average daytime high temperature of 66.98 degrees.  This is 5 degrees colder than any July in the past ten years. Quite a difference from the average daytime high of 79.80 in 1993.

     Have no fear, July is over and August is here.  The forecast is calling for some great paddling weather;  low winds, sunshine and temperatures in the 70's.  This weather forecast actually sounds like a Minnesota summer.  That's a good thing because the locals don't like complaining about the cold weather every month of the year.

     We know it's going to be a nice August and September.  It's always a great time to visit the BWCA or Quetico Park.  The fall colors of the north shore and canoe country are a sight to behold so please plan to visit us this fall.



 Commonly Found in the BWCA 

Family Time







Wildlife Update-   

     Guests are still reporting lots of wildlife sightings out in the canoe country and around our place at the end of the Gunflint Trail. 

     Many of our guests have been happy to see some of the rarer wildlife along the Gunflint Trail.  Timberwolves have been frequently spotted as well as numerous black bears.  The moose are still hanging out with antlers continuing to grow on the bulls.   

     The other day I saw something I had never seen before.  A family of 9 mergansers flittering about the surface of the water.  They took turns diving and running across the lake in pursuit of a meal of minnows. The fact there were still 9 mergansers in August is very rare.  Most of the time the majority of ducklings are eaten by some predator well before August arrives.

     There's always something wild happening on the Gunflint Trail.  You just have to be here to experience it.




Granite Gear Pack 

Pack Light!




Quetico Park Trip to Saganagons







Quetico Park Trip

Pack Lighter!






Granite Gear Packs

Granite Gear Packs






 How to Pack a Canoe Pack-

     "We're supposed to get all of our stuff into that?" This is something we often hear from our guests when we completely outfit them for their canoe camping trip.  We usually reply, "We'll give you as many packs as you want, just remember you'll be carrying them all across every portage."  This is why all experts agree on the golden rule of packing, Pack Light.  Here are some other helpful tips to follow when packing a canoe pack.

     Be sure to keep important items easily accessible.  These important things include items such as rain gear, sunscreen, bug spray, first aid kit, sunglasses, water bottle, toilet paper, flashlight or headlamp and a tarp or tent.  These should be packed close to the top of your pack or in a smaller thwart bag or fanny pack so you don't have to dig through everything else to get to it.  A snack is also a good thing to keep within an easy reach.  The tarp, tent and rain gear are especially important to have in an easy to get to spot in case it starts to rain.  Being warm and dry and having dry gear is important on a wilderness trip.

     When packing your canoe bag be sure to use all available space in your pack.  Make items as small as possible by placing your sleeping bag and other soft items into separate compression sacks.  You can remove the cardboard from toilet paper and paper towel rolls and then smash them almost flat using only half of the space as when they are in their normal shape.  We like to pack our plates and cups inside of the cook kit and put beverages or other hard items inside of a pitcher if we choose to bring one along.  When packing our food we put all items needed for a single meal into a plastic bag.  One staff member was known for sucking the air out of the bags so they took up as little space as possible.  We have a vacuum sealer now and it's great for compressing food items.  Unfortunately Mike hasn't learned that some things like marshmallows and bread should not be vacuum packed even if they do take up way less space that way.   

     There are a couple of other things to keep in mind when packing.  Make sure you don't have any loose items in the canoe.  This will make portaging faster and will ensure items aren't lost in case of the canoe capsizing.  Place a plastic liner inside of the pack to make sure items are kept dry.  It's a good idea to store fuel that may leak inside of a plastic bag and away from any of your food items.   Keep sharp utensils inside of a utensil roll up so they don't poke or damage any of your other equipment.  And make sure your heavy items such as the tent are packed in the middle of the bag and close to the bottom so you can maintain a low center of gravity on the rough and rugged portages.

     There are many things to think about when packing your pack.  Just thinking about it ahead of time is a good start.  But if the opportunity to go canoe camping arises out of nowhere then do as I do not as I say.  I don't fret I just grab all of my gear, throw it into a pack and get on my merry way. The good thing about this method is it's usually light due to the fact I've forgotten half of my stuff.


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What Not to Pack for a Canoe Trip-      There are obvious things to leave at home when packing for a canoe trip and then there are some not so obvious ones.  There are also those items of debate although you could debate any of them.  With the help of some of the readers of the last newsletter I have compiled a list of what to leave at home when you're portaging and paddling the canoe country.

  • iPod
  • Radio
  • Musical instrument
  • Cell phone
  • Laptop
  • Work
  • Electrical game
  • Big Lantern
  • Air mattresses
  • Keg of Beer
  • Dog
  • Car keys

     In addition to these items I have to share some of the funny things Bob Parr from St. Louis, Missouri has seen on portages in the canoe country.

  • A tackle box the size of a suitcase.
  • Four aluminum fold up lawn chairs.
  • A 48 quart cooler filled with ice and bottled water being dragged across a portage by a woman in high heeled sandals.
  • Two guys pulling an industrial sized dolly with 2 packs strapped to it.

And the best one...

  • A man pulling a rented canoe across a portage with his overweight teenaged son sitting inside of it so he didn't get his feet wet. 

     In the case of the man above I wouldn't debate putting his son on the Do Not Bring list.  Thanks for sharing your ideas with me and if you have seen something crazy on a portage then why not share that with me?  Then next newsletter I can share that list with you too.



Thank you for reading our newsletter.  We hope you enjoy it and tell others about it.  

  Mike, Sue and the Voyageur Crew