July 20, 2010

Our second campsite during the Boundary Waters trip, a great jumping rock, tons of berries and location of our bear sighting.

I knew July was going to be a bit crazy going into it, but I hadn’t fully anticipated how quickly the month was going to fly by! No wonder I tend to miss so many birthdays this month (Sorry Dad, Becca, Miriam and probably others)!  I just spent the past few hours dragging myself through 3 out of the 4 parts of my final Ed Psych lesson.  Now if only my professor could finish grading the lesson I submitted OVER A MONTH ago, I could maybe take my mid-term and final exam before September.  But regardless of that, it feels nice that the part of the course that I actually have control over is almost done and hopefully tomorrow I will be able to go ahead and fax my exam requests in early.

We had some very early mornings on the trip, which I have to say meant for some really pretty sights

In other news I got back from a wonderful trip to the Boundary Waters this weekend.  I helped my good friend (of world traveling fame) Zeb co-lead a group of high school students on a 5 day canoe trip through Wilderness Wind.  It was an incredible week with a great group of kids.  Not only were they cooperative, of the non-complaining sort (for the most part), they were seriously hilarious in that goofy way that reminded me a lot of my own high school youth group days.  For example cannibalism was a featured topic at every meal and sarcasm was rampant.  They also stepped up to the challenge of a pretty exhausting trip of 51 miles of paddling (just under 3 of them spent portaging canoes and packs along wooded trails).

We didn't actually see this beautiful animal in the wild, but during our trip to Ely's Wolf Center.

We saw two bald eagles carrying freshly caught fish, a bear (from a distance), a beaver, muscats, countless loons and some very beautiful, very early mornings.  In addition to really enjoying this trip, I also really enjoyed the chance I had to push myself further than I ever had in regards to canoeing abilities.  I went into the trip rather uncertain of my ability to portage an 85 lb aluminum canoe on my shoulders for any extended period of time (most of my previous trips I had let the privilege of that task fall on others), simultaneously paddle and steer a canoe, set up a bear bag, or several other activities that are usually done by the guide of a trip.  This trip greatly improved my confidence in my abilities because I carried canoes on almost every portage (including the one that was about as steep as it was long and basically felt like climbing a stairmaster with canoe and pack included), learned to steer, and basically learned the responsibilities of a wilderness guide.

Our first morning Zeb got us up quite literally at the crack of dawn.

During our 3 days at Wilderness Wind where we did orientation, service and several local field trips, I experienced a brief burst of anxiety when I realized that the responsibility of being the adults on the trip was going to fall solely on Zeb and I.  And as I have said before, I tend to be kind of weirded out by the idea of being an adult and don’t tend to feel that different from my 16 year old self.  However after bringing this up with Zeb, he figured that between the two of us we could probably average out to be at least one adult at most times.  I have to say, I think it worked!  Other a few unmentionable incidents involving the bear bag tree from hell and my own brief freak-out during a thunderstorm driven paddle across a big lake with an inexperienced canoeist in the front of my canoe, it was an incredible week!

We took a brief break our second third day to go see Eddy Falls

Now I am trying to transition my way back through a backlog of emails, details, unpacking and re-packing because tomorrow Becca and I leave on our epic train ride to Seattle.  46 hours on undivided lounging time! I hope to read like crazy, journal, nap, take pictures, watch Bones (Season 5!!) and generally relax before arriving on the West Coast Friday morning.



  1. Thanks, Abby. Lovely pictures, nice prose and interesting observations. Makes me want to return to the Boundary Waters again.

  2. Thanks for the text, and thanks for updating! And putting pictures up! And being awesome! It looks like a wonderful time was had. Though looking at all the stuff you all did gives me some sympathy tiredness.

    • Awe, I am glad you liked it Jess!

  3. Came over from a short-out for your blog by Ultralighter. I’ve never been in the Boundary Waters, but two years ago spent a week in the Quetico, to the north of the BW in Canada. A great trip and I have many photos in my blog. I love that area. Thanks for the post.

    • Sage, glad you found my post and I have often heard about the Quetico, but have yet to make a trip there. Although it is always fun to make illegal raids on Canada, when one has the chance 🙂

  4. that should be “shout-out”

  5. […] I am not actually going on the full fledged Boundary Waters trip, like I originally thought (the group was all boys and I was wary of breaking up the male-bonding […]

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