What I didn’t see at the Boundary Waters

Having only a few days after my Waterville Valley trip to get ready for the much anticipated Boundary Waters paddling and camping trip, I ran out to purchase the last few pieces of equipment & food I still needed. A few days before the trip, I started to feel a bit under the weather. Then the fever hit. Then it was painful to breath. Then I went to the doctor.

I tested positive for Influenza A. Due to the prevalence of H1N1, the hospital stopped secondary screening and the policy was to assume anyone testing positive for Influenza A as positive for H1N1.  Therefore, I was listed as likely being infected with H1N1 and placed under quarantine at home. No contact with others, no leaving my apartment, and no Boundary Waters camping trip.

Devastating! I’ve been looking forward to this trip for months! Despite my sadness at not going on this trip, I was even more saddened by the possibility that I had transmitted the virus to my 7-month pregnant wife. She was immediately placed on side-effect-prone Tamiflu, as H1N1 seems to cause coma in pregnant women and is not good for the baby.

I’m happy to say I survived, my wife remained healthy (except for the nausea and vomiting from the Tamiflu), and I got to go “camping” in my office at home for a week while my fever broke.

The plan was to enter at Moose Lake (entry point #25), northeast of Ely.  After paddling across Moose Lake, we would then have a half-mile portage to Wind Lake.  Next, we’d settle on a campsite on the shore of Wind Lake and use that as a base for the rest of the trip.  We planned on paddling around Wind Lake and have day hikes around that area.  We’d rent kevlar canoes to help with the portages, but I was planning to bring my inflatable kayak for myself.  We’d planned to have a total of 5 people, including myself.

What follows now is a post about what I did not see while on my Boundary Waters camping trip. These photos were “stolen” from a co-worker of mine that did make the trip. I am grateful that he got such beautiful photos, but also sad that I now know what I missed.

Rental Canoes

These are the canoes that I didn’t see us rent.  They weigh less than my inflatable kayak and were reportedly quite manageable to portage.

Hard paddling

This is the hard paddling I didn’t see them do.  I would have been blown all over in the inflatable kayak.  I guess there was a reason they named it Wind Lake.

Shoreline with canoes

This is a landing I didn’t get to see.  Luckily the shores are mostly sandy and easy to get in and out of.

Portage trail

This is a portage trail that I missed.  The main portage trail was more open than this, but I’m sure it would have been quite the struggle with the inflatable kayak over my head.

Portage trail

The water level was fairly low, so this trail was extended to keep the portage trail accessible.  I didn’t see one of the campers almost lose a shoe in very deep mud around here.

Wet campers

Here are three of my fellow campers I didn’t get to see sitting in the rain on my waterproof tarp.

My tent in the Boundary Waters

Here is my tent that I didn’t get to see in the woods.  I hear it performed just fine with three people and kept everyone mostly dry.


Here is the campsite I didn’t get to experience.  It actually looks more developed than I was expecting.


Here is the campfire I didn’t get to see, but my fellow campers didn’t get to see it very much due to the wet wood around the campsite.  Luckily the camp stove worked just fine.

Daytime reflection

Here is a beautiful sight I missed.


Here is a picture-perfect shot of Wind Lake.

Canoes in lily pads

Here is some tough navigation of lily pads, grass and shallow water that I didn’t get to see or experience.  This would have been tough in the kayak, but I can’t wait to paddle in an area like this.

Lily pads

Here are some lily pads I didn’t see while paddling on Wind Lake.

Lily pad flower

Here is a blooming lily pad flower I didn’t see on Wind Lake.

Beaver dam

Here is a beaver dam that I didn’t see built on Wind Lake.

Bald eagle

Here is a Bald Eagle I didn’t see hanging around Wind Lake.  I’m always impressed to see these in Minnesota, especially in the Twin Cities.


Here are some turtles sunning themselves that I didn’t see.

Canoe in the woods

Here is a picturesque scene along the woods I didn’t see in Wind Lake.

Trail up to another campsite

Here is a trail leading to a nearby campsite across Wind Lake from the campsite I didn’t get to see.

Tree reflections

Here is a picture perfect scene of the sun setting over Wind Lake that I didn’t get to see.

Beautiful evening

Here is another picture perfect scene of the sun setting over Wind Lake that I didn’t get to see.

Trees in the sunset

Here is dusk settling over Wind Lake that I didn’t get to see.

Pink sunset

Here is some very still water over Wind Lake providing great shots of a colorful sunset that I didn’t get to see.

Late dusk

Here is a view of the darkening sky over Wind Lake that I didn’t get to see.

Tranquility at dusk

Here is the end of the sights I didn’t get to see in the Boundary Waters.

Fret not, for I certainly hope I can make it up here again while I still live in Minnesota.  My daughter’s pending birth does imply I won’t make it up this year (or the next couple), but I am willing to bet that I make it up here one day.  I just hope I can capture as beautiful shots as my lucky, lucky co-workers.  Thanks again for the photos Aravind!

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