The Pow Wow Trail

When most people think of summer recreation in the Boundary Waters Wilderness, images of canoes, blue lakes and fishing come to mind. To a cadre of backpacking enthusiasts the BWCAW is also home to the wildest backpacking trails in the midwest. These trails enable citizens to safely penetrate a wilderness, detached from canoe routes, and to experience ecosystems in a more terrestrial manner.

Hikers accustomed to trails in the mountainous and arid west can find these lightly traveled BWCAW trails difficult to follow. Even experienced hikers, sometimes in a cold sweat, will turn on their gps units just to make sure they have not wandered from the hiking trail on to a game trail or a long abandoned logging road. The 45-year old, 29-mile, Pow Wow trail is located in the south central BWCAW beginning at the west end of Lake Isabella. It was made infamous by Cary J Griffith’s … Continue reading

The Rio Grande and Rain

Off to the Rio Grande on February 2nd. I will be paddling the lower canyons by canoe and I am wildly excited about it. I have a great crew and I just cannot wait to lose myself in the spiritual grandeur of those desert canyons.

With water levels as low as they are in west Texas, we likely will not see many, if any, people on the river, but hopefully we will be paddling not walking the 85-mile route. After an autumn when I was concerned about water levels for paddling in the BWCA, to a winter when I keep looking skyward hoping for snow to keep me xc skiing (rain is predicted today), and now wondering about water levels and whether springs will be flowing along the Rio Grande, precipitation and temperature have been a persistent theme in my thinking and honestly, a worry.

Last year was the warmest … Continue reading

I am back

Okay, I screwed up again. I have not followed through with my blog nor kept my web page up to date. My excuse? 2012 was a huge paddling year for me. The Big Thicket in Texas, Caddoo Lake in Texas, Jacks Fork and the Current River in Missouri, the Buffalo River in Arkansas. Five trips in the BWCA, A week on Lake of the Woods. the Wisconsin  Freestyle Symposium, kayaking Vancouver Island. Plus, hiking in the North Cascades and SCUBA diving in the Cayman Islands. And, my daughter Mari is getting married, and Zoe is still in University, and Greta is living in our basement. AND my “real” job is still helping build leadership in schools, corporations and organizations. The blog was always on the “to do” list and always pushed down on the list by something more urgent or more fun. I pledge to do better in 2013.

As … Continue reading

Off to the Big Thicket

I have been a bad blogger. Life got in the way. I have had the good luck to speak at the Indy Quiet Sports Expo, the Duluth Pack Store travel series and Canoecopia where I had a chance to sit next to Becky Mason who was selling her splendid new freestyle canoeing DVD. But now it is time to put the paddle in the water. I was invited to join a trip to the Big Thicket swamp in SE Texas. I leave tomorrow. It should be great fun and I thought it would give me a leg-up on the paddling season. However, this has been a very mild winter and Minnesota rivers are already running and the lakes are opening three weeks ahead of the average for the last 25 years. But the Thicket, with the chance at spying the Ivory Billed Woodpecker, is a great opportunity. After that, a … Continue reading

changing our roles as wilderness advocates

Interesting article on front page of Pioneer Press today, Sunday 1/8/12, from the Washington Post, “If we can fix the world, should we?”

It addresses the emerging need to “manage” ecosystems in the post-wild world. As inept as humans have been in the past in attempts to positively manipulate the natural world, I think we need to try again. Aggressive fire suppression in the caribou range of the sub-arctic being one example, clearing blowdowns and careful reseeding efforts after BWCA fires being another.

Change is happening too fast for slow poke Mother Nature to react quickly enough to positively adapt. A sliver of proof is we have already, this January, recorded the highest night time low in Minneapolis since those warm “greenhouse” years following the Krakatoa eruption in 1883. In the past few years states are recording new record low barometric pressures at an alarming rate. So the near future … Continue reading

The Website

Just about ready to go public in a major way with the Website. Those of you that have followed me over the years and have noticed that my old site has been down for six months, thank you for your patience. Putting this website and blog together reminds me of my Thekehili canoe trip many years ago in the Canadian sub-arctic. It was a route and a river that even the most accomplished of arctic canoeists had never even heard of. My mother has just died so I had not really focused on the planning. The maps were so bad they showed river connections that were not there and one whole day we were lost in a huge swamp that was not even depicted on the map. Late in the trip wild fires raged around us putting our lives in peril and totally disorienting us in the smoky gloom. … Continue reading

Website Taking Shape

Happy to announce that by midnight tonight most of my new website will be up and running. I especially want to draw your attention to the “guided canoe trip” section. These are going to be some terrific trips. I hope people don’t think they are too expensive. Actually they are running about 50% below market, but I know many of the people that follow my adventures are not accustomed to guided trips and these fees may seem a trifle dear. Let me tell you, by the time I go through all the hoops and pay all the fees, unsnarl all the red tape, pay liability insurance and marketing costs; these trips will be a real bargain and will likely be non-profit! But the good news? I get … Continue reading