Monday, my eldest son and I are off to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for a short (four day) trip among the lakes in the extreme Northeastern part of Minnesota. The Boundary Waters are just that, it is easy to take a wrong turn and end up in Canada. It is, by definition, a canoe area, motorized vehicles and boats are prohibited throughout most of the area, and strictly limited in a few shared-use zones. The Wilderness part is what is often left off. BWCA is the common acronym, BWCAW is the proper one. It is a wilderness, with no buildings, roads or amenities. It is, along with the Quetico on the Canadian side, a place of nature where one is forced to accept its terms. Moose, bear, wolves and even the secretive Lynx will be our neighbors, although we will probably not cross paths at this time of year (deer are another situation- we'll almost certainly see them, it is mating season and one hopes not to cross paths with them on the highway!)
It will be a chance for me and my son to get together in a way that perhaps we should have more when he was younger. Stuck in a bad work situation, the boys and their mother spent several vacations without me. A parent always seems to think that he or she never did enough. In his case, I just tried not to get in his way. I've done a little dabbling up north, he's made literally dozens of trips- including winter camping (-35°!) Next month, he leaves for field work in Antarctica (his 2nd stint.) I'm just a homebody by comparison.
He sent me a list of things to get- of those items the LED headlamp is the coolest- I'll be able to read my Laxness in the long evening. Wool, Poly, and even Silk clothing, with Neoprene waterproof boots and rain gear round out my apparel. Even underwear- which I haven't worn in years. Civilization = no underwear, wilderness = underwear. Oh well, we'll be sharing a tent.
I should be back by next week-end, with pictures and stories. Who knows? I may even run into Mark Trail !