SUPing Around the Boundary Waters

Well that time of year has come again. Ya know, the typical Memorial Day weekend adventure. I love to take advantage of any extra time off work. This weekend was no exception. Matt and I decided it would be fun getting back into the same area of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. But this time, we will have two newbies with us, Jess (Matt's girlfriend) and Brooke. We all were super excited to get up and away from everything. Matt and I always talk about our last Boundary Waters trip and how truly amazing it was. Said that, we warned them how you have to earn it up there. Nothing is easy, which is my favorite part about it. Portaging is no joke and we will be doing 8 of them. Matt, Brooke, and myself are using Hala inflatable stand up paddle boards and Jess is using her kayak. The girls were up to the challenge. So we hit the road Friday after work, stopping and stay with our good buddy Rob, in Duluth. 

Day 1: Ummm I forgot _______ (fill in the blank)

Woke up early Saturday morning ready to take on the last few hours on the road. Had to swing by the Gunflint Ranger Station to get our permit first. Next thing we knew, we were launching onto the westside of East Bearskin Lake. Our target was to get to Caribou Lake, which we had a few portages to get there. Weather was interesting. Matt and I kept a close look on the forecast and it was talking potential storms. But with Minnesota ya never know! Knowing Caribou Lake is a bit of a stretch we still launched and started making our way.

Oh why is the title of day one I forgot ____ (fill in the blank). Well I forgot a bag in my garage that had Matt's fishing tackle, which we made a stop and he picked up a few things. Next, we were like a half mile into the paddle when Brooke remembered she didn't have her food, kind of important. So we made our way back to the Jeep to grab it, which was a good thing since my lights were still on for some reason. Forgetting, losing, and misplacing things did not stop there in the trip lol. 

Right away you can see the smiles on everyones faces. That quickly changed on the first portage. Eye opening for the girls and a friendly reminded to Matt and I. Yup, we are back in the Boundary Waters. Again, this is a place that can push you if you are not ready. You have to physically carry everything from lake to lake, be out in a variety of climates, and be ready to take on anything. 

Day 2: My Kind of Day

Waking up in the Boundary Waters overlooking completely flat water, is the perfect way to wake up. Today is a good push day. We are doing the biggest portage of them all. I was jacked up and others were less trilled. But once we got there everyone hammered it out! 

After this portage we had a very short paddle across Pine Lake to get to the Johnson Falls portage to Canoe Lake. This is the 0.8 mile portage up hill pretty much the whole way. Matt and I figured out the plan would be to carry the packs first, then go back and grab out boards/kayak. At the same time, we figured I would launch as soon as I can to scout for a campsite. Good thing I did! As I was pushing off two other canoes were talking about having to find camp on Canoe Lake as well. So I turned up the paddling and raced them to the first open site I could find. Afterwards, I headed back to the others and paddled back to camp with them.

Day 3: But I Don't Want to go Home!

That day has come. But first we have a waterfall to see! Matt hit the water to go fishing. I took Jess and Brooke back to that long portage to hike it back to Johnson Falls. After the falls, we paddled our way back to camp, meet up with Matt, and continue back to the Jeep. Have a few portages ahead of us and two solid paddles. 

Waahooooo! All of the portages are done and over with. So proud of how well everyone just hammered it out, but you could tell people were happy to be done with them lol.  Now for the last paddle back across East Bearskin to the Jeep. This was a slower easy going paddle since everyone was pretty pooped from the days prior. Plus we wanted to soak up as much of the beauty and being away that we could. 


I've said it a number of times, I LOVE the Boundary Waters! It is a place you can make it as challenging as you like. Away from all the day to day BS we all face. A place where you can think, reflect, and meditate over anything you like. Or you can just have a blast paddling, hiking, portaging, and fishing. My favorite aspect is how I loose track of time. Time means nothing to me in the backcountry. The sun is all you need to know when to setup camp, when to start the day, and when you should find some shade. Ok well that last one is probably just for me and my fair skin hahaha. Anywho, we all had a blast! I know it pushed the ladies to a new point they have never experienced, but they both came out with smiles on their face standing proud. That is all I ever want to see. People getting out, learning new things, putting themselves in uncomfortable situations, figuring out problems/tasks at hand, and just loving life. So many forget to let go and enjoy the little things in life. The Boundary Waters help make that happen. We will be returning probably later this year :)