is older than it's ever been and now it's even older


Minnesota Dreaming

Minnesota winters are awful. This is not because it always snows, because it doesn't. This winter has been particularly snow-free; I think Oklahoma may have gotten more snow than us. No, Minnesota winters are bad because they just last so damn long. Today it is forecasted that we will top 60 degrees, which will be the first time that has happened since last October, I think. And then there's the lakes-- they remain frozen, which means that even though the weather is now nicer I still have to wait to get the canoe out on the water.

Ah, but canoeing. Maggie and I have owned our canoe (it's a We-no-nah Spirit II fiberglass/nylon composite) since 2000, and have taken it all over the state, although surprisingly, we've never been to the Boundary Waters. This is because we were such rank novices when we bought the canoe that the idea of going to a place where we had to portage and paddle for long periods of time with uncertain weather made us nervous. But not anymore. We are seasoned canoeists with experience in all kinds of weather conditions, from snow to fifty mph straight winds (by the way, I wouldn't recommend doing much canoeing in that kind of wind. fyi).

So this year we've decided to become Boundary Waters buffs. There are some really neat online sources to get one going. This is an awesome site that lets you get topographical maps for every entry point. I have been scouting around in there to find out what good entry points look like; I think we will be starting off by going to Trout Lake before the fishing opener, provided that the lakes ice out by then (and hence me complaining about the weather). There are also two links on my sidebar that I use a lot, namely the ice-out tracker and the lake finder. The lake finder tells you what kind of fishing to expect-- this is Trout Lake, for example (although the narrative report on the status of the fishery is uncommonly good compared to most lakes in the database).

I myself am planning on going with no external navigational aids (although I will bring a GPS for distance measuring purposes), but this site has GPS coordinate information for various places, should I want that. And finally, when planning a trip it's best to keep in mind the storm damage that the July 4, 1999 windstorm did. Maggie and I were in a tent in far Southwestern Minnesota that night and saw the most frightening lightning storm we ever saw. Later we found out that it caused amazing blowdown damage in the Boundary Waters which snarled portage trails and denuded the forest in hundreds of thousands of acres.


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