Spring Expo at Midwest

This weekend is the Midwest Expo in Minneapolis.  It is one of my favorite shows of the year. Usually, it’s raining which means I’m not missing out on good paddling weather. It’s also in my hometown which means lots of friends stop by to say hello. If you are one of my friends and if you’re reading this blog I certainly consider you one of my friends, please stop by and connect with me.

Saturday,  Apr. 25th, 10:30 am,  I will be speaking at U of M – Hanson Hall next to Midwest Mountaineering, Room 102 Tips from a Thousand Trips – Travel Like a Wilderness Guide. I have done this program before. However, there are many updates. Every time I go camping I learn something new. The forest is a great teacher as our my companions on the journey.  I can’t imagine you walking out of this program without you learning some new wilderness strategies or ideas. Maybe you won’t agree with my recommendations and that is okay too. There are many paths to the summit of Mt Fuji.  Anyway it’s fun, fast-paced and I hope to see you there.

On Sunday at 11:45 I’ve been asked to be a part of a Q&A panel at Cowles Auditorium with legendary paddlers  Cliff Jacobson, Bob O’Hara and Kevin Callan. A few years ago at Canoecopia when I shared a room with Jacobson, O’Hara exclaimed, “Two of the greatest bullshitters of all time in the same room together!” Well now there are four of us. I hope to get a word or two in, and I am honored to share the stage with these three icons of the paddling world. Several years ago O’Hara and Jacobson squared off at a table in my kitchen. After an evening of paddling and partying, they debated canoe camping styles for two hours. The party crowd was enthralled. My friends still talk about it. So Callan may be right when he says, “it’s going to be epic.”

I have also volunteered to help the Quetico Foundation at their booth. I am a trustee of the foundation and believe in what they’ve done and what they’re doing. They are Canadian-based but are opening an American office probably in Minneapolis. Their focus of conservation, education, research, and celebrating the wilderness resonates with my beliefs. I will be at the booth after my program on Saturday and after my program on Sunday please stop by and say hello.

I am happy to announce that my Noatak expedition this summer is fully subscribed. It should be an incredible journey, and I hope a little drier than last year. It looks like a great crew and my hope is that it will be a life changing experience for them. It always is for me.

There is still little space on both sections of birding in the Boundary Waters. Learning the birds of the BWCA has contributed to my enjoyment of boundary water trips. This is also the most relaxing expedition I lead all year. Sure we get up early with the birds, but then we come back to a base camp and have a nice brunch. We even eat pancakes which if you come to my seminar on Saturday I will contradict myself. No portages, no strenuous paddling, just warblers, loons, merlins, eagles, owls, woodpeckers, boreal chickadees and hummers. 46 species I think last year.  It is a fun and learning few days.

Even though Dan Cooke and I are both doing far north expeditions this summer, we’re still going to go ahead with another shoulder season bushcraft and paddling seminar. It’s the first week in October and participants can choose between, the first half, the second half, or the whole week. Join us. (Dan is paddling the Kazan in the central arctic in August)

One last informational piece: I’m going to return to the Rio Grande next February. I have three expeditions planned. The lower canyons of the Rio Grande is my favorite canoe trip south of 60° North. I had a great time two weeks ago on the San Juan River in Utah, but over 12,000 people a year paddle that river. The lower canyons of the Rio Grande are a place of solitude, enchantment, and adventure. Every year I learn something new there.

Most of my writing these days is devoted to working on the Merlyn project. It is a much bigger job than I anticipated. But it is coming. And it is going to be great. Thanks for your support and ……happy trails.

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