Countdown to the BWCA ~ Part 3

I’m half way through this series and with every post the anticipation is pregnant with excitement that I can hardly contain. Wednesday January 28th was permit issuing opener beginning at 9:00 a.m. My co-worker [who is also scheduling a trip this year] and I logged into respectively on our computers at 8:45 a.m. and waited like children on Christmas morn waiting for their sleepy parents to arise from their slumber so that we could open our presents!

As soon as 9:00 a.m. rolled around I clicked submit and just like magic we have a permit reserved!

Suddenly the trip became all too real – we are no longer collecting ridiculously fancy camping equipment from REI, but are going on a real life wilderness adventure.  We began going over the list this past week on what we still need, and tasks we need to complete.

After some research on an outfitter for a canoe of course (because who wants to hump an 80lb canoe in? ) and perhaps lodging for the night – we found both through Canadian Waters Inc. Dan Waters and his wife Cathy have been in business since 1964 – and have been going on trips to the BWCAW since the 40s. Clearly they are qualified to take care of a little family 3 pack (plus a Jack Russell).

Canadian Waters not only rents/sells canoes, but also has a bunkhouse and will allow our JRT to bunk with us since we plan to take her on our adventure. After talking it over with my husband – we are planning to flat out purchase one of their 2013 models providing there aren’t too many patches on it, and that the gunwales are still in great condition.

After crunching the numbers – and because we plan to take possibly a summer trip and almost assuredly a fall trip – it would be foolish to us to rent, because in just this year the canoe would be basically paid for through rentals.

We’ve settled on the Boundary Waters We-Noh-nah canoe for its stability factor (since we are avid fisherman (and woman). Further our 1984 beast mode fiberglass canoe weighing in at 80lbs borrowed to us by our good friends has the exact same dimensions as the Boundary Waters model – and we’ve been in that several times with 3 adults and had an amazing time.

We’ve purchased some more food, and I plan to actually pack them in the bag to make sure that I don’t need to upgrade to the Granite Gear Quetico – over my current pack. (Mine is purple) (The difference of 20L).

Other than that – we’ve relented to the fact that we would be better off with individual sleeping bags (as opposed to humping our queen sleeping bag) and purchasing Thermarests with foam to keep us warm (and cozy) as well. Going over our list I realize we still need to purchase a few things over the next few months.

Here’s what we still need to purchase:
-2 Sleeping Bags (Miss K has one – so as long as its R rating is good – we only need 2)
-3 Thermarests
Thermarest pillows for whoever wants one. (I do – I do)
-1 Boundary Waters Canoe from Canadian Waters, Inc
– 2 Paddles (I prefer the bent shaft)
Lifeproof Case for my iPhone so I don’t have to carry in my “good camera” since i’m shooting a wedding 2 weeks after our trip and hello the iPhone 6 takes awesome photos
Dog Lifejacket for Sadie our JRT – yes she can swim – but water temps will probably be in the 50s.
Dog bowl travel system
More Paracord (can you even have “too much”?
– SAT phone which we will rent from Canadian Waters. (For emergencies)
– New Fishing Poles (because who doesn’t want and excuse to buy new fishing gear?)

Now checking just today at the available permits – I’m so glad that I was on the ball as there are only 3 permits left for the time that we were planning to go (There were originally 8).

So – lots to do this next month. We need to reserve our bunkhouse, purchase the canoe (or at least put a deposit down on it) and finish packing to determine if I need to upgrade my pack since I am carrying the majority of our gear since Jason will be carrying the canoe – and we don’t expect our 7 year old to carry too much beyond her sleeping bag and thermarest.


Nights are filled with gear lists, timelines, unrelenting research on the area we are going to, the general Ely area, and reading trip reports of others who’ve gone on the same route, and watching video podcasts and you tube videos for inspiration. To say I am obsessed may or may not be an understatement! I have no idea how I am supposed to wait another three months, but I’m up to a challenge, and would like to apologize to everyone around me for my boundless excitement lest I annoy you that is not my intention.


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