Wednesday, September 20, 2017

One week in the Boundary Waters

We moved on from Duluth to go further North to the Grand Marais area. We found an awesome campsite with steps down to a river and spent the next day Rock climbing. We found a fun spot with a great view, but it took about 3x as long to hike to it because there was a trail running race going on and we had to keep stopping to let people pass. Anyway, the climbs were interesting.

 view from Carlton peak

 first climb of the day

 interesting 5.8 climb

5.7 climb, we think. It was hard to find with limited info on

The main thing to report is our one week canoe trip in the Boundary waters. We started on a Monday, heading out on a beautiful sunny day that got windy in the afternoon. Our intent was to do about 6 miles, but we did closer to 10 miles because the campsites were all taken early. Oh well. It got us pretty far out fast. It also made us very sore for the rest of the week since we were paddling daily. It was a blast though. We had several options and decided to try and take it easy. This was wise, we would have been even more sore otherwise.

 view during lunch

first campsite


making dinner

looking and feeling sleepy in the morning

The first 4 days were rain free. On the 5th day we got some rain but only after we stopped to camp. We were into a routine by then so we already had the bear bag thrown and our tarp set up. We already had dinner by the time the rain started so we went under the tarp to keep dry. That did not last. It rained fast and heavy for about 30 minutes. Our site didn't have good drainage so it started to flood. Thankfully we didn't have much out yet. We quickly got our rain gear on and got up waiting for the storm to calm. It eventually did, slowing enough for our spot to drain. We took our sleeping pads out and tried to get some of the water off. We did go to bed damp but I was happily dry by morning. Best of all we didn't flood again that night.

 chopping wood for dinner

Let see... other interesting things to note... Once while lounging at camp I felt something squishy between my feet, it was a LEEEEECCCHH!! That was gross, but didn't bother me nearly as much as I think it should have lol. On the first few warm clear days we jumped in the water to cool off. It was quite hot those days. We saw a lot of chipmunks, a few bald eagles and one snowshoe hare!

We stayed at one site that warned of a bear, with a sign on a rock and we could tell from the packaged food that was shredded at the site. Later that day two guys stopped by on there motor boat to inform us they were at the site for 4 days and saw a small black bear every day. They got tired of it getting into there things and left. Before leaving us they gave us two fish which we immediately cooked up. Unfortunately we already had dinner and couldn't finish them, so Matthew went on a short hike and dropped it off in the woods, a good distance from or site, as an offering to the bear. We never saw or heard the bear and our things remained unmolested.

 our bear warning on the rock as we pulled in

free fish!

We didn't stay at any site for more than one evening. We had to do several portages which we became efficient at by the end. It came to pass that I was unable to carry the canoe, it was just a little to heavy and awkward for me. So, I was tasked with carrying all the gear, which was not lighter but more condensed and easier to carry. We never got a photo but it was funny, we both had a backpack so I put one on with the other pack slung over it. The whole thing stuck out pretty far so I hunched a little forward to stay balanced. It worked better than when I tried having one on my back and one in front as that blinded me and I couldn't as easily walk along the uneven trails.

our last evening out

We loved the trip, it is such a beautiful and tranquil place. I'm a huge fan of being on the water and we have already agreed that we will someday buy a canoe and/or kayaks if we land in a place we can use them... which is likely. Anywho, next we are heading to Wisconsin to visit friends then on to the climbing mecca of Red River Gorge in Kentucky.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Eclipse, running from the burning west, in Minnesoooota!

As it has been almost a month I will sum up. We did some more hikes in Wyoming awaiting the eclipse. Here are a couple shots from different hikes...

On the day of the eclipse we hiked Table Mountain on the ‘not recommended’ route because we thought it would be more fun. It was quite difficult, and fun. It was also shorter than the alternative route. We made it to the top and met up with an old friend of mine, Sean and his wife Alexa! It’s funny, we weren’t planning on doing anything special for the eclipse, just happened to be in the area. We would have just looked up from our campsite or something if it weren’t for Sean. We were so happy he was there and got us to hike up to see it. I didn’t think about the darkness and how it would look standing on the top of a mountain with the Grand Tetons in front of us. Oh man and it got cold!! Anyway, it was beautiful and a wonderful experience. We topped it off by hiking back down on the longer route with our friends then having a few beers at a nearby brewery.

On the hike up

One of the views from the top

Others waiting

Taken during the eclipse

The next day we headed to Sinks canyon near Lander, WY. It is a great climbing spot and they have the International Rock climbing festival there every year... sadly we missed it by a few weeks. We stayed there for about a week or so... and didn’t climb much! We didn’t feel all that well for the first few days. We did some climbs but... we just couldn’t get it together. Oh yea, I also hurt my shoulder. Nothing serious but bad enough I couldn’t climb for a day. I think we climbed a total of 3 times.. and on of those times we only did one climb. Eventually we decided we’d return some day but should get moving.

 neighbors at camp

 view from camp, cliffs in the distance we planned to climb but didn't get too 

breaking after one of the few climbs we did

In an attempt to escape the fires of the west, in part due to Matthews asthma, we started heading east. Initially we were going to Utah but the smoke was very persistent and didn’t seem to be getting better.. and he wasn’t feeling so great. We decided to drive home for the holidays anyway so we are slowly making our way back. So, our next stop was the Black Hills national forest in South Dakota. On the first day we climbed all day, doing about 6 climbs... I think more than all the climbs we did in Sinks.
only photo I got that day

We were sore the next day so we went to Jewel cave, which is currently the third largest cave in the world. We only saw about a half mile of it, and it was impressive. Our photos don't do it justice so I'm not going to bother posting any, it was too dark, they are just sad phone photos.

The following day we woke to the smell of smoke, strong. We went for a drive, found a forest ranger station and found out there was new nearby fire that evening that was out but would smolder for 3-4 days before clearing. groan. We spent a few hours at a coffee shop and headed out! On our way out we decided to stop at Wounded knee. I had mixed feelings of sadness and shame.

We camped out near a beautiful lake on the way. The next day drove 9.5 hours to another beautiful lake to camp for the night on the way. The following day we made it to Duluth, MN. We spent some time wandering Duluth, then found a campsite about 30 min away.

 great site in South Dakota

 Great site in central Minnesooooota

wandering Duluth

Plan is to hang out here for a while, do some rock climbing and a canoe trip in the boundary waters.