Sunday, July 20, 2014

Boundary Waters Trip!!!

My oh my, it has been a very long time since our Boundary Waters trip, but here I am, finally posting about it!  It was such a great trip--very memorable, for sure!

Michael did so much prep work for this, he was amazing!  He thought about every detail and did such a great job.  On Sunday, June 8th, I drove Calvin, Sophie and Hannah down to Kelly and Ken's house to spend the week with them, and then I came back home and our guests started arriving!  We had myself, Michael, Ryan, Spencer, our friend Ricky, and two friends from Michael's school program, Jie and YuanYuan.  We all slept at our house and got up bright and early to head up to Ely!

We got up there and in the water by about 11:00 AM on Monday and started off on our big adventure!

Here we are just before getting in the canoes:

It was a ton of fun canoeing, and we had intermittent rain showers and heard thunder a couple of times, so we had to pull over to shore once or twice to wait it out.  Once we ended up at someone else's campsite and they weren't there.  So we felt kind of awkward just waiting around.  But at least they didn't come back while we were sitting around!

We had our first portage, and as I was carrying our canoe with Michael, he mumbled something about needing to check on Ryan and then he darted off.  I wasn't even sure what he had said, but all of a sudden, I was holding the canoe all by myself.  And it was sooooo heavy!  So I called out for Michael, but he was long gone down the trail!  So I portaged it all by myself! Going uphill was rough.  I kept getting the front end stuck on rocks and I was so tired that I had to stand there for a few minutes and then had to exert absolutely all of my physical strength to make it up.  WHEW!

Monday was a VERY LONG DAY of canoeing, especially since it was our first day and we weren't used to it yet.  It was fun, but by the time we got to the area where we wanted to camp, all of the good spots were taken.  We eventually found one, though, and we were grateful!  We made some dinner and rigged up our huge tarp and put all of the tents underneath it to keep the rain off of us.  It sprinkled a little, but it wasn't too bad.  Except for all the mud at the campsite!  We got really dirty!

In the middle of the night I woke up super cold, teeth chattering and all, and in SO MUCH PAIN!  My arms hurt so badly that I cried and couldn't even put my own socks on or do anything at all with my arms or hands.  Even just the muscles in my hands that grip onto something wouldn't function.  It was so terrible!  Luckily we had some ibuprofin, so I loaded up, stuck some handwarmers in my socks, and Michael put all of his extra clothes on me.  Then I was toasty warm and comfy!  For the rest of the trip I didn't even hurt at all, but man, that one night I was in so much pain!  Also, Michael was convinced that I had hypothermia.

But the next day was sunny and absolutely gorgeous.  We did have a pretty brutal portage, but we also had a fun one where we got to wade through a flooded path and float the canoes along beside us.  And then we got to rescue a guy who fell out of his canoe in some rapids!  His name was James, and we saw him a few times after that on the trip, so we would always call out and say, "Is that you, James?!"  It was fun to have a friend!  It was also an awesome day because we got to our next campsite at around 1 PM, so we were able to choose a really beautiful, perfect site about 100 meters from Canada!  It was so much fun!  We swam in the river, washed our very muddy clothes, fished a bunch, and made a delicious dinner.  It was such a beautiful day!  So much fun!

Here we are after our super long portage.  We survived!

 Ryan waiting to load up the canoes again:

YuanYuan and me, float-portaging our canoes!

Here's a video of Michael doing that portage:

 Ryan and me at our next campsite!  With Canada in the background!

Here is an awesome video of Ryan jumping in!

Michael getting ready to fish!

Ryan picking his bait:

Love this one of my boys!

Almost sunset with our laundry hanging out to dry:

Spencer fishing:

The next day we set out again, and this time our big adventure was attempting to paddle upstream!  It was actually a lot of fun.  It only got difficult when we had to go up some rapids.  Like 4 times.  It was pretty awesome!  We saw lots of bald eagles and other birds, a few dear, some turtles, but nothing big and menacing.  Just the way I like it!

Here I am in the canoe with Ryan:

Jie and Yuan Yuan:

Ryan helping out a bit on a portage:

Michael was exactly the kind of person one needs on a trip like this.  When we had a hard time getting up the rapids, no big deal!  Michael just hopped out and pulled everyone up in their canoes!  He's pretty brave and fearless, that guy!  Here he is, owning the river!

Happy paddlers:

Here's a video of some of us attempting the rapids:

So, we found our next camp site, and I think we pulled in in the late afternoon or early evening.  It was a nice enough site, with a big grassy field and a small hill by the lake, covered in pine trees.  We all went out fishing and caught a bunch of fish (okay, I didn't, but I did get one on my line and had it next to the boat ready to net when it got away.  That's enough of a victory for me.), and so Michael battered them in tempura and everyone raved about the dinner!  I even tried it, and I have to say, it ranks right up there with the best fish I've ever had!

Ricky, having a snack by the canoes:

Me and my wilderness-savy man!

Spencer taught Michael how to lash properly:

Their handiwork--it held up our shelter nicely!

Fishing success!

Tempura fish:

Ricky with his fish:

And Jie with his:

Ryan lost a tooth!  I wiped his face with a wet wipe and slipped and bumped him in the teeth and out it came! Look at that completely disgusting hand!

That night it started raining, and as Michael and I were heading to bed, we realized that there was no way our tent was going to make it through the night dry, so we moved it under the big tarp near the fire pit and slept great!  Until poor Ricky woke up absolutely soaking wet, then Michael helped him move his tent under there, too.

The next day we stayed at the same site all day, and had lots of time to fish and play Uno and do whatever!  It was nice to have a relaxing day!

Michael getting the fire going again!

My bed head.  Is this not really really really awesome?

Ryan and Spencer fished from shore for a while, and after a little while of no success, all of a sudden they were pulling in another fish with every cast for a few minutes there!  It was crazy!

Spencer and Ryan with their fish:

Me and my Ryan bear:

Warming up by the fire:

Spencer and I took the canoe out for a good long time.  It was fun, even though we didn't catch anything!

Eventually Spencer and I decided to head back to camp, since it started to sprinkle.  Michael and YuanYuan were out fishing, Jie was asleep in his tent, and Ricky and Ryan were playing Uno.  We got up there pretty much just in time for some crazy rain and wind gusts.  All of a sudden it was just crazy, and out shelter was falling down, and we all just had to grab a support stick and hold it there, hoping Michael would come back soon, since none of us really knew what to do about it!

Here we are, holding up the shelter while Ryan sat by the fire!

 Luckily Michael and YuanYuan got back soon, and Michael sprang into action, of course!

It took a while to decide what to do.  By that time we were completely soaked!  It was a crazy half hour or so of holding things up, changing our minds, trying different things.  I had told Ryan to go into our tent and play around with his camera, and it was so amazing that he actually did it, because I think it all would have scared him!  But there he was giggling and laughing and having a great time.  By that time the wind had snapped our tent poles, and so he was really just sitting in his sleeping bag in a collapsed tent, having the time of his life!  It was awesome!  Eventually they moved the tarp over the fire and we spent some time hanging out in there.

It was freezing!  We could see our breath:

YuanYuan and me, having some hot coacoa!

The happy hero.

Ahhh, fire!

Thanks to Jie and YuanYuan's weather radio, we knew that there was going to be a ton of rain and 30 mph winds, and guess what, it was right!  It demolished our shelter, so eventually the guys decided to move everything to the side of the pine tree hill so at least it could block the wind, and they rigged up a shelter with the tarp!  

YuanYuan gathering firewood:

 Rigging up the new shelter:

Attempting to warm up and dry our clothes:

Group selfie:

Happy camper:

Ricky and me looking awesome:

Jie and YuanYuan also had a really nice tent and had picked a great spot for it, so their tent was dry as a bone.  They were kind enough to let Ryan stay in there with them, so at least he was warm and cozy!  The rest of us gathered in the new shelter/tent/lean-to and hunkered down for what we new would be a very long night.  We were soaking, all of our clothes were soaking, the tarp was leaking, and it got down to 37 degrees.  Seriously, it was crazy!

Here we are in our new shelter:

Here's a video of us enjoying it.  Don't mind my crazy laugh.  Delirium was setting in.  Can you blame me?

Eventually, Michael and I left Ricky and Spencer to enjoy the shelter by themselves.  It had mostly stopped raining, and we were so soaking wet that there was no way we were going to sleep anyways, so we opted to be near the fire.  We dragged a canoe over to sit against for a while, while we tried in vain to dry our socks.  We actually ended up burning holes in them :(  Ricky came out at some point and he was soaking we and in a long sleeved t-shirt and shorts, so I gave him my poncho and we helped him set up his tent by the fire.  He took a picture for us!

Michael and I ended up flipping the canoe the right way and laying down inside of it, wedging a pot of boiling water in between us and wearing life jackets to keep warm.  We put our broken tent on top of us and then put our wet sleeping bag on top of that for extra weight.  It was horribly uncomfortable, but I think we got a couple of hours of sleep at least...

Anyways, eventually the morning came!  We listened to the weather radio again and the forecast was more rain, more wind and more cold.  So we unanimously threw in the towel and decided to make for the nearest exit and have someone hitch hike back to our cars!

Here we are on our last day of canoeing:

Portaging again! This one was easy, but the second one was literally up and down a mountain.  It was horrible, and I didn't even have to carry a canoe!  Michael did that one all by himself.  Pretty amazing!

Ryan by a waterfall!  

These videos crack me up:

Ryan with YuanYuan and Jie:

Fishing as we paddled along!

Here's Ryan's summary of our trip:

Well, our plan was working out nicely.  We made it to the parking lot by 10:30 AM or so, and Michael found a ride right away.  Our cars were farther away than we thought, however, and so he didn't get back until about 1:30.  Then he gave me a map and I jumped in the van with Ricky and Spencer to go get the truck and bring it back, too, so we could all load up.  Well, that was the sorriest excuse for a map I have ever seen.  That combined with my sheer exhaustion from the previous night got me good and lost.  For, like, ever.  In the middle of nowhere.  Eventually we found someone to ask directions and got pointed in the right direction.  Even after that we got lost a couple more times.  We finally got the truck, and by the time we made it back to everyone, it was like 5:00!  I felt terrible!  But we headed over to Subway for our first real meal in a week and it was heavenly!  We must have been quite a sight, though!  We were so filthy!  Then we were on our way back home!

Here's a Ryan selfie from the car ride home! 

A hot shower has never felt better in my whole life!  It was such an amazing trip, though!  I'm so glad we went.  And Ryan really had so much fun!  Michael saved the day too many times to count, and everyone had an awesome time.  Definitely a trip to remember!

1 comment:

Miranda Moore said...

So fun!!!!! It sounds like an amazing trip! I love all of the pictures too! You are wilderness survivors! :)