Vacation Journal, Part III - BWCA!

September 10, 8:55am
We were going to make breakfast, but the matches are in the food pack - ooops! But we have everything packed up, and as soon as the outfitter opens we'll take care of a few last things, have some coffee, and be off!

8:50 pm
What a day! We were doing great! We put in at Sawbill and found the first portage easily. At Alton, several other people were using the same portage - and smoking pot - UGH! And asking about football games ... asking the wrong people, ha ha. We ran into them a few times, but after Beth we saw less other people.

In Grace, the water was choppy and it was very windy. I was navigating - as in, Tim gave me our one and only map. We came to the portage, and I got out of the canoe and scouted around. There was just no way this was it, and I told Tim so. We went a little further, and realized we had to turn around - we had gone too far.

At the same spot I had said couldn't possibly be the portage, we saw a man take off carrying his canoe into the woods ... it was the portage! I got a bit snippy because I was so wrong - but Tim didn't respond in kind.

I'd been leaving my Muck boots on while portaging, and realized between Grace and the first waterway to Phoebe that I might have a blister. Tim had me take off my boots to check, and I had a popped blister. He portaged the rest of our equipment and bandaged me up. I need to use my hiking boots to portage!

Between Grace and Phoebe were some very swampy waterways. At one portage next to a beaver dam (where Tim lost his canoe last year and had to go in after it) I asked him to show me how he'd been securing my paddle before picking up the canoe. In trying to show me ... he fell in. I felt terrible, but he didn't get upset with me. I've been blessed with an amazingly patient, thoughtful man who puts me before himself!

We prayed (begged) that the first site on Phoebe would be open - and that's where I'm writing from. It is very windy, but it hasn't rained yet. Tim seems a little tired and defeated, which is how he felt this time last year. He seems surprised I still want to be here! Of course I do! Especially since I'm with him!

September 11, 7:25am
Well, the rain finally came around 11 last night, and it rained steadily all night - yuck! But I suppose we were expecting the rain. The wind is still picking up now and again, but not as bad as last night.

A squirrel is griping at us right now. Tim is going out to see what the weather looks like (it isn't actually raining at the moment).

We heard a loon around the time with sky was starting to lighten. I've heard the sound described as lonesome, and I suppose it kinda is, but not unpleasantly so.

It's still cool, but not like yesterday - I can't see my breath. I hope Tim is encouraged by the weather - though his boots are still wet from the little fall yesterday and that can't help. I'm saying a prayer for him, I want him to enjoy this trip too!

What another day! I packed up the beds this morning in preparation for leaving, and Tim started breakfast. Despite damp socks, his feet were warm - but his upper body was not. We brought breakfast (bacon with eggs) into the tent. I could tell Tim wasn't feeling well, and he freely admitted it. While pouring water into my Sigg bottle, he suddenly became violently sick (thankfully he made it to behind a tree - not into my bottle). I was feeling pretty queasy myself after that, so we decided to stay here on Phoebe another day.

We made it out onto the lake once, to get water. Just in time for it to rain on us. Thankfully our rain gear was excellent to the task and the water simply beaded off of us. It hasn't really rained anymore since then, but the wind has continued (though the lake is calmer now).

Both of us had headaches, so we took some Advil this afternoon and set up our beds again. I read from "Woman of the Boundary Waters" to Tim until he fell asleep, and I laid down for a nap too. Had a weird dream that a bicycle ran into me?

We ate some summer sausage and cheese around lunch time and felt much better. Most of the afternoon was spent finding wood to attempt a fire. We were able to roast marshmallows, so I totally think that counts as a fire.

Dinner seemed big, but I think we needed it - especially Tim. Tonight I found out the papers he brought are romantic stories of the boundary waters he requested on the BWCA forums. Tonight's, ironically, was about a couple's 28th trip to the boundary waters, and how their ten-day canoe trip turned into a base camping trip - sounds slightly familiar!

The sunset was shockingly pink tonight, and an impossibly big orange crescent moon set just after the sun. We feel much better, and plan to take it a little easy and try to get out early in the day on Tuesday.


  1. I was calmed to hear that both your headaches have been relieved. It sounds like your trying to have fun.

    We are however becoming concerned. As we are approaching a week into October and have not heard since.

    Have you made it out yet? We shall send a rescue party on Sunday if we do not hear back.

  2. we have organized the search party and are heading out earlier than first planned. We will begin searching your last known portage at phoebe. We pray all is well, as the weather is getting colder.

    Also, we ran in to the 'pot smokers' yesterday while grouping-up and organizing the logistics and supplies. We "took care" of them.

    - JM

  3. He he - sorry to have left you hanging! The next day is up - have one more to type up after that.

    1. Amanda, you might want to submit an essay to The BWCA Reader.

      Check out the details on the site!


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