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The Great Outdoors

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S: BWCA trip 2011

BC: Goodbye BWCA! We will miss you!

FC: BWCA Trip 2011 | The Crew: Jess, Jenn & Hilary

1: Orientation: watch BWCA video, tour bait shop, learn to pack/repack backpacks, get tips (i.e. have two containers for water), learn how to use equipment and where it is kept | Arrival: July 6th, 2011 Departure: July 10th, 2011 | VNO Ely, MN

2: Echo Trail (beware middle seat rider!)

3: Entry Point 16: Moose River North | "Just you three girls?" with Sallie Sue, Big Bertha, & Mabel | No bear sightings...but maybe some moose, birds that land on your head, and a family of leeches

4: Portage Trail | Day One: After 'enthusiastically' circling the parking lot (a great practice lap)...we find our first portage and we are on our way! | Loading the canoe | Waiting to enter Moose River

5: Jess, (high on life), carries the canoe, life jackets, oars, fishing rod, and Mabel -GO JESS....on the first portage. And now....we make it to the Moose River. | Plant life | Preparing for take-off \ | End of portage one

8: "Eagle Rapids"

9: If it looks like a portage, it's a portage... same goes for graveled roads

10: Base Camp One: Lake Agnes "Leave no trace....leave it cleaner than you found it" | For future reference: Not everything needs to be done the hard way....so don't land your canoe on the rocks

12: Making ourselves at home | What luck! On our first attempt, the base camp we set out for, was unoccupied!

13: Settling in: tent up -check, scope out a good bear tree -check, have Hilary and Jenn go out in six foot squalls to get water per Jess's suggestion -check.....

14: Lunch Day One: 5 Bagels with cream cheese (for 3 people), carrots, and cranberry juice in filtered Lake Agnes water | Breakfast Day One (at 5:30 am): Britton's Cafe in Ely, (per request from VNO bear guide guy) serving the breakfast special of french toast, scrambled eggs, and bacon.

15: How to wait out the rain: | 4. Take a nap | 1. Take 'awesome, mature' pictures | 2. Read VNO tip sheet on how to make our BWCA trip worthwhile! | 3. "Attempt" to play cards | 5. Decide where we want to go for our day-trip

16: The Latrine | When nature calls.... this is where you go.... but be careful, Jess and Hilary might sneak up on you! | The Latrine | Lake Agnes | Nina Moose

17: Hiking really works better when you follow a trail...this 'off the beaten path' stuff is for the bears | Our legs took a beating... | ...and we scared one guy "shitless"!

18: Taking a rest after walking through a 'bit of a bog'!

19: Checklist for hiking: -synchronize compasses -find good walking sticks -use a map that "we probably won't need" anyway

20: Making our first fire (and our most successful one) | We made friends with the locals.....hello Alvin!

21: Supper Day One: 2 ribeye steaks and 1 chicken fillet (for 3 people?), baked potatoes, and juice in filtered water Campfire tips: soap the outsides of all of your pots and pans...no one wants to pay a hefty fine for blackened cookware and according to "Survivor Man", a fire just needs some oxygen....so just blow on it! (right Jess!)

24: On a late night water run, we spotted a bald eagle and chased an elusive beaver around the island. Our first night in the tent Jenn and Jess were discussing the sounds of the night to be bears?...turned out to be just a few mating bullfrogs!

25: Day Two begins with a foggy delay to our day trip. However, it gave us a chance to enjoy soggy, dirty french toast and sausage -while watching the squirrel rummage for some breakfast of his own in our pack (and leave trace!)!

26: Finding the ranger's cabin and trying not to look like lost little girls, we were then directed to the next portage (that we were heading in the wrong direction to find). We were also told about 'off-the-map Curtain Falls', (it's more 'dramatic') and the better portage to take to get there. | We also learned that our Lake Agnes base camp was going to be under construction.

27: The rangers mentioned this area held the best chance for spotting moose. After crossing "Dead Turtle Lake", the difficult to find portage led us on a muddy mile long trek to Iron Lake. | Moose track | If you hear a moose, everyone stand under the canoe and then.....yeah, there was not a next step!

28: Day Two Lunch: Beef Jerky, trail mix, and granola bars. A well deserved meal before navigating open water. | Straight from the map: "O Canada Island"

29: Entered Canadian waters and struggled to find the safe portage to Curtain Falls. Some helpful Texans were told the same lie and advised us to 'just' run the rapids | Baby loon riding on Mama Loon's back.

30: Curtain Falls

31: Met serveral other canoeists enjoying the falls who encouraged us to take the time to visit Rebecca Falls, (considering the proximity). | Visible are the "rapids" Jenn coached us through. | WATERFALLS | FISHING | TRAILS

32: Jess | The island division | Hilary | The powerful water running through Rebecca Falls literally cuts through rock, creating an island.

33: "Whatta catch!" | Jenn | How do you like them apples (or fish)!! This is for all the people who doubted our fishing abilities! Okay...these were borrowed fish (with permission -eventually), but this is what we would have caught! | Rebecca Falls, Canada | Rebecca Falls, known for its beauty and its fishing.

34: "Valence Falls"

35: "Just Around the Riverbend!" | Yes...in case you were wondering....there is such a thing as 4 Island AND 3 Island!

36: We finally learned to double-pack! | Rules of Portaging: *No stopping *No whining *HAVE FUN! | "Batwoman!" | "How you doin'?"

37: Day Two Supper: After a long day-trip, a pot of beef stew, warm apples, and hot chocolate hit the spot.

38: Base Camp 2: Nina Moose | BWCA: Day Three | Day 3: After waking up to thunderstorms in the wilderness... (quite the alarm clock) we feasted on scrambled eggs with bacon bits, hashbrowns and hot cider for breakfast. Then it was off to Nina Moose!

39: Base Camp#2: Nina Moose

40: Making ourselves at home... again! | Enjoyed a classic dinner of PB&J with Pringles and juice in filtered Nina Moose water, then time for some photographic fun!

42: Jenn and Hilary nature watch as Jess navigates the shoreline for an easy entry point. Three days in the wilderness, surrounded by water, and not once did we go for a swim...by the last day, we figured the water contamination from the oil in our hair wasn't worth it!!

43: Jess going solo in the canoe | We were supposed to hang our food pack....where exactly in these trees?

44: (You and me) Going fishin' in the dark... you never know what you might (almost) reel in! | One of two sunnies Jess snagged from our rock!

45: "The Snapper" | He's the one that got away, and ultimately got the best of us (meaning Jess) and really left his mark

46: The Hiccups of the BWCA | "Man Down!" | And then there was one...... hook left that is!

47: Friends don't let friends suffer....they yell at you to 'get in the lake!', pull treble hooks (down to the barbs) from your face, and come rescue you from the mud. | "Just shake it, you don't need a fork!" | Middle man-no place to be on Echo Trail | Who needs an ER....when you can have your very own 'bone chin' in the BWCA! Now that's hot!

48: With little lasagna left, we dined on warm apples and hot cocoa which was enough to satisfy. And as the sun set over Nina Moose, Dr.Jenn went to work on Jess with what supplies were available: Listerine, vodka, alcohol wipes and cotton from a tampon. The result: the infamous "Bone Chin"

49: The early morning sun brings out the competitiveness in the crew as we race for the river mouth (and won!)

50: Yeah, this pretty much sums it up... | pure serenity, lots of laughs, some mishaps, and great friendship!

51: Now as our journey comes to a close, hooks are removed, and we are homeward bound, we reflect on the memories that made this trip.

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  • Title: The Great Outdoors
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