The huge Canadian wilderness park known as the Quetico is just a 15 mile paddle from Camp Voyageur. A few old Voyageurs who ventured into the Quetico several years ago recount the 10 things they loved most about this remote paddling destination.
By: Johnny Alden, Simon Comminos, Mike Neal, and Conner Sullivan
Of course this is a topic of personal preference, but our group decided that having the freedom to be able to dig a hole and choose where to relieve one’s self at a spot with no bugs, great vistas, and a gentle breeze is far superior to the latrines of the Boundary Waters.
Throughout the Northwoods, wildlife roam free. We were able to paddle close to a moose, watch it graze in the water, and walk off into the woods.
After a yawn-inspiring first portage, we were nervous that we would be bored on the Quetico portages. We were later relieved of our boredom when we found the 250 rod Yum Yum Portage, which featured steep inclines, sharp corners, slippery rocks, waist deep mud, and a plethora of flesh-eating insects.
Campsites in the Boundary Waters require campfires to be built in designated areas. In the Quetico, we’re able to create a fire circle anywhere that’s safe. So, upon arriving at a campsite on Kawnipi Lake, we found two old fire circles that did not feel perfect. We proceeded to make a new fire circle on a suitable rock face with a great view of the lake.
We talked to Peter Grunawalt who caught a 27½-inch, plaque-worthy Northern Pike at Keats Falls. Peter claimed to have little prior fishing experience.
While nearly 200,000 people pass through the Boundary Waters each year, only about 20,000 people do the same in the Quetico. We never had to worry about occupied campsites or congested portages.
The Quetico features some of the cleanest freshwater in the world. We were very impressed when we saw the bottom of Argo Lake in 25 feet of water.
Whether you prefer the pictographs on the cliffs of Darky Lake, a vibrant sunset on Sturgeon Lake, the splashing of Chatterton Falls, or immensely beautiful stars at night, there is always something beautiful in the Quetico.
It is required in the Boundary Waters to camp at a designated campsite, but in the Quetico you’re free to camp wherever you’d like. Our personal favorite campsite was found on Russell Lake. It featured 210 degrees of shoreline, two separate fire circles complete with benches, a surprisingly flat tent pad, and a collection of sun-bleached animal bones.
After paddling twenty miles in the face of wind, rain, and ocean-like waves, we finally discovered the number one reason to love the Quetico: Louisa Falls. We did not arrive at the falls until 10:30 at night, but we quickly set up camp in order to take a late night dip in the spectacular falls.
Check out Louisa Falls and more on this trip video from a recent 10-day adventure deep into the beautiful and remote Quetico!