Monday, October 24, 2011

October Night Sky-photos by Rachel

The northern lights came out to celebrate Juan's birthday tonight---

High Point

Some Saturdays, it's hard to come up with a high point.........

Would it be the happy-go-lucky dog who thinks life is just one big excuse to chase the ball?

Would it be a bonus day to get the chores done, or Rachel who did the lion's share of the raking?

Would it be the plucky little pine trees that show up when the ferns die for the season?

Would it be the sparkles on the water?

Would it be the coffee break?

Would it be that loyal dog again?

Would it be my two favorites?

Would it be the late afternoon paddle?

Would it be the funny people at the game night? it simply the blue and the green together?  

It was a high-point kind of day.   May your tomorrow be full of them....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Happy Campers

It was Jimmy’s first visit to the BWCAW. He came with Brent Belisle, and the St. Croix Youth last August. Brent brings young people up every summer, he’s a quiet guy with a subtle sense of humor that can make Andy roll, even in the busiest time of August.
Jimmy is 13, and we could hardly pull a word out of him when he arrived at Tuscarora. Maybe he was excited, but he just looked nervous to me. When they came back, he told his story to anybody who would listen--in the car, in the store, in the office--finally wanting to film his testimony—assisted by his  helpful, (and tan) buddy Tristan.
They were cute—and clearly had a good time. But the thing that touched us the most was the way these woods had become Jimmy’s home. It only took at week for it to become a part of him. It was a familiar story to us—Andy and I both discovered the BWCA about that time in our adolescence--in separate youth groups, 8th or 9th grade.  I have to say, it didn't actually kindle a flame until my 3rd trip....but....the spark came on that first trip.
It’s some kind of magic. I suspect it will always hold that spot for Jimmy, because when something becomes a part of you with that kind of intensity at that time in life, the moments can take on a different quality—or at least they did for us. This is also why are hats go off to people like Brent Belisle, Matt and Jamison, Polly, John, and so many others---for bringing the kids in the first place.
The thing is, we know so many people---people all over- Toby in Manhattan and Dirk in France, Linda and Jeannie in the Cascades, Cass in Louisiana, Jim in Iowa……I can’t begin to name them all. It doesn’t matter that they don’t live in the BWCAW, it doesn’t even matter that some of them haven’t  visited lately or as often as they wish, it’s just as much their home as it is Jimmy’s as it is ours. It’s the eternal charm of the BWCAW---or as Jimmy put’s it---“I have to say, this is the best trip ever”

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunny days and permit lottery news

Fall  is lingering with  summerish weather at Tuscarora—as  it seems to be lingering all over the Upper Midwest.  Every hour above 60 degrees is a bonus this time of year—but over 70 is a slice of heaven.  Rachel and Andrew are the last staff members lingering-and doing a splendid job wrapping up the season.
                And there’s only a little teeny voice  in the back of my head, uncomfortable with anything that doesn’t fall into the “normal” range.  Surely it will snow soon enough. In the meantime, there’s a time for raking and paddling and basking in the sun.
               You won’t see a December lottery date this year because the USFS is discontinuing the permit lottery system.  BWCAW permits for the 2012 paddle season will be available on a first come first served basis.  On January 25th, you can secure your permits by phone (1-877-444-6777) or on-line with  We’re also glad to reserve your permit, first thing in the morning, January 25th—or any time after that.   Call us if you need help choosing an entry point or entry date.  We haven’t had any problems in the past few years with entry lakes filling up in January.  It isn't until summer's most popular dates approach,  that some of the more popular and limited entry points (like Cross Bay Lake) start to close.  We’ll be curious to see if some travel patterns change along with the landscape on the west side of the forest.  And honestly, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Reserve America website comes crashing down  for a while on January 25th.  They’re not always on top of their game.  But, ultimately, it isn’t something to worry about—it seems to be less complicated--and we’ll certainly do our best to secure your first choice of BWCAW travel permits for next season.  In the meantime a few lucky paddlers are taking advantage of the July  October weather.  Hope you are enjoying yours.