Birding Minnesota by Canoe

As we drifted down the Cannon River, a Cooper’s Hawk glided over our canoe toward a stump in the middle of a boggy backwater stretch of the river. We paddled the canoe into the quiet water in time to observe a pair of Eastern Kingbirds lift off and start attacking the hawk. The hawk landed on the stump and worked its way to a branch where there was a nest. Continue reading

On the Scent of Boundary Waters Adventures

It’s the smell more than anything, whether you are varnishing paddle blades in preparation for the upcoming canoe season, or spring cleaning and deliberating on whether to put an old Duluth Pack in the garage sale pile, or maybe you just unrolled a set of Fisher maps for a quick reminisce. When you catch a scent, whatever that scent is, it launches you into a daydream of adventure. Continue reading

Navigating in the Boundary Waters by the Seat of your Pants

Wait! Whenever I see an article on navigation, I skip it. Boring, confusing, read it all al-ready. This article is different. This is an article by a Boundary Waters paddler that doesn’t know an azimuth from an orangutan and has no interest in learning or relearning all the terms and procedures usually covered under the heading of navigation. So how am I qualified to teach you about navigation in the Boundary Waters? Continue reading

Pooping and Peeing in the Boundary Waters

I will be speaking at Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin, on March 11, 12, and 13, 2022.  After a two-year Canoecopia COVID hiatus, it will be a great event this year. I look forward to seeing many of my former crews and current blog followers. Please come on down after my talks and update me on your paddling adventures. It is an honor to be asked to return and speak again this year. I will be flying in from Aspen. Continue reading

Summertime Ultralight Canoe Camping in the Boundary Waters

I love the Boundary Waters in every season and every style. Snowshoeing, skiing, dogsledding, hiking, canoeing, day outings, 2-week trips, groups of nine, solo trips, commercial trips, family trips, men’s groups, women’s groups, glamping, base camping, fishing, birding, exploring, relaxing, I have done them all and enjoyed every trip. Everything considered, midsummer ultralight canoe camping is my favorite way to prowl the BWCAW and Quetico. Continue reading

Trip Report 5 July – 29 July 2019 Noatak River

Trip Report 5 July – 29 July 2019
Noatak River approximately 476 miles
Arctic Alaska entire trip north of the Arctic Circle
Crew: Sue Plankis and Rob Kesselring
written in Kotzebue, Alaska 30 July

When people imagine far north canoe trips, they might visualize bears, ice, and barren landscapes. After 34 or so expeditions up here, when I think about paddling the far North, especially north of the Arctic Circle, I think of weather. Continue reading

Exciting Opportunity

The Merlyn Carter Book Project
Retired school principal and mayor, Steve Staton was quite taken by my new book, Merlyn Carter Bush Pilot. So much so that in the summer of 2019 he took his son to Nonacho Lake, Northwest Territories to visit Merlyn’s sport fishing camp and the site of Merlyn’s demise from an unprovoked and fatal charge of a bear. But it goes beyond that. Staton believes that there is so much important history of the North in this book that he would like to get the book into all  of the northern high schools and libraries in Canada and Alaska. He has taken this on in a non-profit totally volunteer effort. I applaud and heartily support his efforts. Continue reading

On the Road

I have been remiss in not keeping up with my blog. That’s a bit of an understatement. It’s been nine months since my last entry. I could string together a bunch of how time flies cliches but suffice to say my life has been frenetic and keeping up with the blog was not high on my priority list. Followers, please forgive.

A brief update of my trail since July and after an outstanding visit with Myles and Lisa Carter at Nonacho Lake Northwest Territories. After 3+ weeks at Nonacho, I did some book readings and drove from Yellowknife to Minneapolis with Sue Plankis while stopping at national parks, wilderness areas and museums to discover and learn. 

Late August and September included a Boundary Waters canoe trip, hiking, and elk watching in Rocky Mtn National Park, a canoe and hiking trip at Shoshone Lake in Yellowstone with Dan Cooke and the … Continue reading