"What sets a canoeing expedition apart is that it purifies you more rapidly and inescapably than any other travel. Travel a thousand miles by train and you are a brute; pedal five hundred on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature." -- Pierre Elliott Trudeau  




 Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area camping trip

Just another day in paradise




Swimming in the Quetico Park

A quick dip in the cool waters















August in the Northwoods-

          It's been a hot and dry August on the Gunflint Trail.  Guests have enjoyed clear skies, sunshine and temperatures in the high 70's and 80's.  On the 10th of August we had a high temperature of 91 degrees.  The average daytime high temperature this month is 79.52 degrees, the average daily low is 56.14 degrees and the average overall temperature is 67.33 degrees.  We're about 5 degrees above average at this point in time but that can change quickly with cooler temperatures.

     All of this warm weather has made the lakes and rivers very comfortable for swimming.  Many of the lakes have a surface temperature of over 75 degrees which is nice and refreshing on a hot day.  We're grateful we have the river to jump into whenever we feel the need to cool off.  

     Rain has been almost non-existent this August with just .35 of an inch measured the first 10 days of the month.  On the 11th we received a good soaking of .70" which the dry earth desperately needed.  We'll need to get at least another half of an inch of rain if we don't want to break a 10 year August record for the least amount of rainfall.  In August of 2007 we received 1.55" and in 2006 just 1.85" of rain fell.  The water levels are low and we could use some more precipitation to cover up some of the rocks in the rapids.

   The extended forecast looks great for canoe camping in the wilderness.  After temperatures cool down into the high 60's this weekend they are expected to be back up into the 70's for the next couple of weeks.  

     September will be here with a blink of the eye.  The leaves on the trees have already started to change colors and the fireweed is almost done blooming.  These are signs fall is fast approaching and we need to savor these remaining summer days.  

     I know I need to get out and camp in the canoe country at least a couple of more times this season before I'll be content to put my equipment away.  I hope to get out and paddle this September and October to enjoy the peace and quiet of the almost vacant Boundary Waters.  It's a great time to paddle as the water is still warm for swimming, there are no bugs, the wildlife is abundant and there are very few human visitors to the area.  I like to have the woods and water all to myself but I will gladly share it with my Voyageur friends.  So come on up and paddle the wilderness, there's still  plenty of time to plan a canoe trip.


Clear Waters Outfitting Company on the Mississippi River 

Clear Waters Outfitting Company




 Voyageur Canoe Outfitters-

Where the Trail Ends Your Voyage Begins







Quetico Provincial Park Ontario Camping and Canoeing

Evening on a Quetico Lake







   What's New?-       

    Clear Waters Outfitting Company-

     If you're a paddling enthusiast and live anywhere in Minnesota then you won't want to miss the Grand Opening Celebration of Clear Waters Outfitting Company on the Mississippi River.  There will be food, give-a-ways, live music, day paddling trips and great deals on canoes and other paddling gear.  It's a brand new business and you are sure to love it as much as we do.

     On Saturday, August 21st and Sunday, August 22nd make your way to Clearwater, Minnesota and head to the river where you'll find Clear Waters Outfitting Company.  It's less than an hour drive from the Twin Cities making it a wonderful place to paddle for the day.  They have canoes, kayaks and shuttle service so all you have to do is be ready to explore the Scenic Mississippi River and enjoy a day of paddling. 

     Mike's cousin Sandra and her husband Dan are the owners of Clear Waters and many other family members are involved in the business.  Mike's parents will even be there on Saturday selling Prom's Cheese Curds, tastier than the ones at the State Fair. 

     Be sure to tell the cash register Crew at CWOC Mike and Sue sent you and you'll receive a free gift ranging from a hat to 50% off your next Voyageur vacation.

Blogs and More-

     I know many of you enjoy reading the Boundary Waters Blog on a daily basis and I appreciate your readership.  I'll be updating it daily at http://www.boundarywatersblog.com.  However, for those of you who find my blog by going to the Voyageur Website and hitting the blog link you will now find a slightly different version of the blog that we're calling the Voyageur Canoe Outfitter's Blog.

     The Voyageur Canoe Outfitter's Blog will have a different format than the Boundary Waters Blog as well as some different content.  One feature of the new blog we are excited about is the ability of our guests to share their stories and photos with everyone.  We're hoping you will take the time to visit the new site and tell us about your Voyageur Experience.   

     If you want to read more content that I've created then please visit my Examiner Page.  I'm the new Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Examiner and I will be updating my page on a weekly basis, maybe even more often!

Voyageur in the Press-

     Mike's been busy paddling and camping with writer and Editor of the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer Gus Axelson this past year.  Gus has articles published in the New York Times, Men's Journal and now he has an article in the current Backpacker's Magazine.  Pick up a copy of the magazine to learn about camping in the Pitfall Primitive Management Area of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and check out our Media Page to find links for other stories that include Mike.













SPaddling with the Pink Graphite canoe paddle

Paddling Pink


My friend and model Heather paddling pink for breast cancer Pink Paddles by Sue Prom Pink Paddles for canoeing; bent shaft, made of graphite

Pink Paddle Power


Voygeur Canoe Outfitters blue sweatshirt 

Shop for Back to School Clothes


Online Store Specials-

     Paddle Pink- I have to admit I love my Pink Paddle.  I don't think it is just because I designed it either, although that is a bonus.  I forget how heavy a normal paddle is and how quickly my arms get tired when paddling with one.  All I need to do is lift my bent shaft graphite paddle in one hand and a wooden bent shaft in another and I can easily feel the difference.  My arms never get sore when I use my Pink Paddle and I've paddled long distances with it. 

     I've also used my paddle on numerous occasions over the past few years and it still looks great.  I was a bit skeptical thinking the color would flake off but it has stood up to the tough conditions of wilderness paddling.

     The best part of paddling with my Pink Paddle is knowing I've made a difference in the fight against breast cancer.  We donate money to the National Breast Cancer Foundation and have donated quite a few paddles for various fundraisers.  It's nice to know people are out there making a difference one stroke at a time.. 

     The symbol on the paddle is an original design with Maori symbols somewhat incorporated into it.  A necklace I received as a gift inspired me to create a logo based on the design and meanings of the Maori fish hook and fern symbols. The top of my logo is similar to their fish hook symbol and represents strength and a safe journey over water. The bottom of my logo is a wave and is similar to their fern symbol which represents peace, tranquility and new beginnings.  The logo on the Pink Paddle is a wish for anyone touched by breast cancer or other illnesses and stands for, "May your new beginning bring you strength, peace and tranquility and may your journeys over water always be safe."

     I'm not sure how long I'll keep selling these paddles as I have to order a large quantity at a time.  I do know I have a dozen of the 52" size in stock that I will sell for $145.00 plus free shipping when purchased by Monday, August 16th.  That's a savings of $25.00 per paddle.  Order yours today online at our Voyageur Trading Post or on the Pink Paddle website or call us at 1-888-CANOEIT.  You'll be glad you did. 

    Back to School Specials- It's always difficult to transition from summer to back to school.  The only fun part I remember about it was getting to go shopping for school clothes.  How about doing some shopping online at the Voyageur Trading Post?  We have some great garments for sale like this hip sweatshirt normally priced at $39.95 but on sale until Monday, August 16th for just $20.00 and no shipping charges on any orders.         

        Any teachers who come up to Voyageur for one of our last minute vacation specials will receive a $50.00 gift card to Barnes and Noble.  Riverside Cabin is open August 14-18th, departing on the 19th and again August 20-25th, leaving on the 26th.  Paddler lodge unit is available August 23-27th, leaving on the 28th.  In addition to the free gift card we'll make you breakfast and give you quick lunches for two of the days during your stay.  Going back to school won't be so bad if you can fit in a last minute vacation at Voyageur before it starts back up. 



Tow boat service on Saganaga Lake

To tow or not to tow? Duh!

Quetico Provincial Park Cache Bay Ranger Station

Education at the Cache Bay Ranger Station

Quetico Park camping trip

Happiness is camping with friends

Quetico Provincial PArk Ontario Canada Boundary Waters

Bye, bye Quetico campsite

Hook Island, Saganaga Lake Boundary Waters

Back at Hook Island  


 Quetico Park Canoe Trip-

      Sometimes a quick trip into the canoe country is all you have time for.  That was the case on August 4th when a friend and I, along with our two 9 year old boys, left Voyageur Canoe Outfitters around 10am.  We used our tow boat service to travel through the Boundary Waters and got dropped off on the edge of the Quetico Park.  

     We were thankful to not have to paddle Saganaga and a bit apprehensive about paddling to the Cache Bay Ranger Station.  Mike was our tow boat driver and he kept trying to convince us to just set up camp close to Hook Island so we didn't have to deal with the waves in Cache Bay.  We had our mind set on camping elsewhere and decided to attempt to make it out to see Janice, the Cache Bay Ranger.

     The waves were rolling as we approached Cache Point.  We zigged and zagged to keep the waves from hitting us broadside and made it to the Ranger Station just in time to see the Quetico Park float plane take off.  Our neighbors from Camp Birchwood for Boys were also headed into the Park so we joined their group for Janice's presentation about wilderness etiquette.  Before long we were on our way north battling the rollers once again.

     It's always surprising how one minute you can feel safe and sound and the next minute your calm can be challenged.  Cache Bay has tipped over quite a few canoes and I didn't want to become one of them. Luckily we were paddling a Wenonah MN III that handled beautifully and tracked perfectly.  We ducked behind islands, rode some waves and made our way to the portage. 

     We found a nice campsite and spent the afternoon enjoying the peace and quiet of the wilderness.  We didn't see any other groups as we swam, snacked and fished.  A quick rain shower sent us to the tent for a game or two of cards but before long the rain was gone and the boys took the canoe out to go fishing.

     They enjoyed their freedom of being able to paddle around the lake by themselves.  We kept an eye on them and enjoyed listening to their conversations as they carried across the lake's calm surface to our open ears.  They stopped at islands to cast, caught some fish and had to be coaxed into returning before the night sky was completely black.

     As we tried to fall asleep a beaver was wide awake.  He kept slapping the water with his tail and it sounded like he was right in front of our tent.  I guess he wasn't happy to be sharing the lake with us but the loons didn't seem to mind as they sang us to sleep with their lullaby.

     Sometime during the night the wind started to blow.  The wind is a bad thing when you have to paddle back out through Cache Bay.  We knew it would be wavy but we weren't mentally prepared for just how big the waves actually were.  I had only seen them that big a couple of other times and both were when Mike was in the back of the canoe and there were no other passengers.

     We wanted the boys to know there was a possibility we would tip in the waves.  They were concerned about their pet frogs they had collected on the portage but we told them not to attempt to save the frogs or their moms if we did tip.  We had them sit on the floor of the MN III canoe for extra stability and then we started surfing the waves of Cache Bay.

     The wind pushed at us from what seemed like all directions as the waves crashed against each other.  Large swells pushed the canoe into the air and then we dipped down dangerously with waves licking at the gunwales.  We took on water a couple of times but my bow paddler never quit paddling and never hesitated when I gave her a command.  With her strength and endurance we miraculously missed hitting a rock pile and made it around Cache Point upright in the canoe.

     I can honestly say I felt exuberant.  I had a smile on my face and felt like I had reached the summit of Mount Everest.  What a feeling it was to know we could safely navigate through Cache Bay during one of her moodier moments. 

     The waves continued to get bigger throughout the day as we waited at Hook Island for our tow boat to pick us up.  We snacked, swam and relished the joys of canoe camping. 

    A mere 27 hours had passed since we left for our trip and there we were home again.  We experienced all of the aspects of a longer canoe camping trip including different weather, catching fish, portaging and time around the campsite.  We got exercise, gained self-confidence and made wonderful memories of mom and son time together.  While I'd love to have been able to get out for a longer trip I'll take what I can get.  I'm lucky to live so close to this wilderness area because after all, a quick trip is better than no trip at all.   


Quetico walleye fishing success 

Caught in the Quetico by Dennis Black

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 Fishing Report-    

     The fishing reports this summer have been very good.  Almost everyone who has tried fishing has been successful in catching at least some type of fish. 

     Smallmouth bass have provided the most action for everyone this year.  It's difficult to not catch a bass while fishing in the Boundary Waters and Quetico Park.  It seems they will bite on anything and are attracted to all sorts of tackle from Rapalas to jigs and everything in between.  Many of the smallmouth caught have been right around 20 inches long and provide a great fight.  

     Northern pike have been almost as abundant as smallmouth bass this year.  If you're fishing for any other species you're likely to catch a northern.  They'll attack anything in their area including a fish that's being reeled in.  We hear story after story of how northern pike follow a fish right up to the canoe.  Northern are a blast to reel in especially when they see the canoe and take another run.  

     Fewer people fish for walleye and lake trout but those who have put time in have seen positive results.  There are some nice sized walleye out there in the 28-30 inch range just waiting to bite.  On a recent Quetico Park trip our crew member Adam caught a 27", 27.5" and 28.25" walleye while   Josh caught 5 small walleyes right from our dock the other day. 

     There are plenty of fish to be caught out there and still plenty of time left in the season to catch them.  Come on up to Voyageur and wet a line, we'd love to see you up here.

 We hope you enjoy our newsletter and tell others about it!

  Mike, Sue and the Voyageur Crew  


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