Trip Stories: "Stopping to Smell the Roses"

This trip story comes from Session 2 camper Charlie as he reflects on his first round trip experience. He remarks on a unique kind of tripping philosophy here at camp, where the daily objective isn’t always the distance one paddles, but rather the amazing spots one ventures out to see. He writes…

When many people think of a trip through the Boundary Waters, they envision a long and arduous journey that involves many miles and difficult portages. The often overlooked side of tripping is the part filled with relaxation - a sort of “stop and smell the roses” kind of trip.

On this occasion, I was on a 6 day adventure from Snowbank Lake back to camp. It was a pleasant break from the rigor of a long-distance trip. We traveled about 5 miles per day as opposed to the usual fifteen or more. This, however, did not mean that we slept all day when not paddling. It gave us the opportunity to focus on the beauty around us, the nature that we come back every year to experience once again. Not the notion of “besting” the wilderness but rather one of enjoyment.

The natives of this wilderness believed that the land was not there to be tamed, but rather to be experienced. That it was ultimately the land and the elements that shaped the human experience instead of humans shaping their environment. As Wade Davis, a Canadian anthropology said regarding this line of thought, “For those with the eyes to see and the heart to feel, the land remains a rich and complex topography of the spirit.”

This is often the perspective that veteran campers develop as they progress through the tripping program. I can personally recall coming to a similar conclusion, at which point paddling out of your way for a few miles to find a hidden waterfall in a little bay was what you lived for! It was the hidden gems, the secret areas only passed down through word of mouth between generations of counselors and campers that became the objectives of your trips. And ultimately, it was what you bragged about when you told your trip stories to the rest of camp!

waterfall in boundary waters, wilderness adventure