Trip Stories: "The Secrets of Devil’s Cascade"

This trip story comes in from Anthony after his first round trip of Session 2. An iconic part of their route was the series of rapids known as the “Devil’s Cascade.” However, unlike most groups, they went out of their way to explore the full extent of the cascade, hiking off the beaten path a ways to get to a swimming hole. He writes…

Perched atop a campsite in the northern Boundary Waters we saw the roaring waters of Devil’s Cascade. Like a great thunder strike echoing throughout a bay, the waters were roaring with ferocity, still carving out the rocks they’d been running across for millennia.

I had seen many a cascading river before, but never had I experienced swimming in them. We scouted out the rapids and made our descent carefully, being sure to keep our center of gravity low and maintain at least three points of contact. We eventually made it over to a side stream eddy which was much calmer and safer than the main torrent. This was trendsetting at its finest, exploring a stream so often idly watched from the portage.

We continued to explore and found a section of the falls in which we could go under the rapids and see the water rushing overhead. It was a surreal experience. Once we had made our way out of the rapids, we went back to our campsite, wholly satisfied by our day’s discovery.

Even with the extensive tripping we’ve done in the Boundary Waters, this story demonstrates its vastness. More than 60 years of tripping and to our knowledge, this is the first anyone has found a swimming hole near Devil’s Cascade.