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Boundary Waters
I was going to start this as "and now, for something completely different" but after seeing all the flooded DV pictures, my lake photos should fit right in.

I spent five July days canoe camping in Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) near Ely, Minnesota. It's an interesting challenge; you have to pack everything you are going to need, because there's no stores, roads, electricity, anything, but at the same time, bring nothing extra because you're going to have to paddle and sometimes carry it all. It's easier than backpacking in DV, because it's mostly paddling with few portages, depending on your route. Also, there's plenty of water all around; you just need to filter it.

My permit was for entry on Lake One, and after portaging into Lake Two, our campsite turned out to be on a hidden bay off Lake Three. (Most of the BWCA lakes have real names; I'm unsure why One through Four were left out.) 

This picture is representative of most of the scenery we encountered. I found the huge rock to be interesting; it evidently had split in half, and only the left side was still standing.
[Image: 53142175278_8652a11220_b.jpg]

Not a lot of wildlife around, but some beautiful swans.
[Image: 53141910394_3ea79ce2f2_b.jpg]

Oh, and every night you have to hang all your food, toothpaste, and deodorant high in a tree so the bears and ground squirrels (especially) don't get into it. Not a Death Valley problem.

On the way back, I noticed these incredibly straight lines in the rocks along the water. I'm not sure if they're water lines or sedimentation layers, or something else.

[Image: 53141706006_f96549f483_b.jpg]

The south shores of Lakes Two and Three were heavily burned back in 2011's Pagami Creek fire, so the trees on those shores are newer, shorter, and lighter green. Our outfitter knew a lot about the fire, and he told us how on Lake Three's shore there are two spots that still have the old dark green pine trees, unburned. Both spots are campsites, and were thoroughly cleared of anything flammable on the ground by campers trying to cook a meal or enjoy an evening. (The Forest Service provides fire grates at each site.)

My other humorous observation was that of our group of four people, two were there for their first time, and we had the most wonderful weather. It only rained at night, and we had nice flat water to paddle on, with hardly any wind resistance. Just so not fair. I've been there many times when we had to hug the shore and fight like heck to get anywhere, with no breaks because the wind would just blow you back to start. Great memories! Anyway, I hope they don't think it's always that perfect.

Sad to see the DV flood damage, again. It doesn't look like I'll make it there this fall. Good luck to all the rest of you!
Thanks for sharing! How busy/crowded is that park in the summer? Is it difficult to get a permit/camping?
(2023-08-26, 08:13 PM)netllama Wrote: Thanks for sharing! How busy/crowded is that park in the summer?  Is it difficult to get a permit/camping?
BWCA is similar to Death Valley in that you can choose your level of adventure and solitude. I'm limited, so I stay on easy lakes, but there are folks who make arduous long treks, even into Canada, and have glorious times on their own. One couple we ran into had been out almost two weeks, but came back because they were "running out of batter for the fish they caught." Sure, rub it in (we caught only one).

The Forest Service keeps a limit on how many people are in BWCA by requiring a paid permit, which you can get either by going on or asking an outfitter to obtain one for you. The permits become available near the end of January, and it's not hard to get one but there is competition for popular entry points; you might have to switch to a different day or lake.

As for crowds, we saw no one near our campsite, a few canoes on the lakes, but we did run into a "crowd" at the portage from Lake One to Lake Two. Portages are bottlenecks, so they sometimes stack up and everyone has to be patient and courteous to get through. Part of life.

Campsites are not reserved; whoever gets to them first wins (I'm remembering the first time I went, with a large group; we raced some Boy Scouts for the spot we wanted but lost and had to find another one. No problem; the scouts generally only stay one night, so we moved over early the next morning and stayed the rest of the week.)

There's more information at, the official site, and I use to check out what other folks say about lakes and sites.
Very scenic

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