Voyageur Lingo Everyone Should Know

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“We were eating GORP in our dry clothes on a duff day on my GP trip and we saw this bimbler lily dipping over to an island just to build a cairn.” Camp Voyageur’s jargon may sound like a foreign language to some. Hold your own around the next campfire by learning these terms:

Big Man Camper who helps the counselor coordinate the trip. He helps plan the menu, pack food, and cooks several dinners. He navigates for two full days on the trail, while sterning and carrying a canoe. He must be a proficient campfire builder. A Big Man must possess integrity, lead by example, and act as a second leader. (See Camper Ranks Explained)

Bimbler Rookie canoer typically characterized by a lack of lifejacket and shirt, paddling on the same side, inefficient portaging, and not following LNT ethics.

Bushwhacker A canoe-tripping rank for campers who portage and efficiently stern a canoe for two full days on the trail. Junior Bushwackers handle a light canoe, while Senior Bushwhackers handle a Grumman aluminum canoe. (See Camper Ranks Explained)

Cairn Human-made rock towers often used to mark a trail or a beautiful sight. Breaks the rules of LNT.

COD Cloud of the Day, the best cloud of the day.

Dry Clothes A set of clothes designated to stay dry, typically used for pajamas or hanging around a campfire when not raining. Campers must protect them or they won’t have any dry clothes to change into each night.

Duff Day Taking a day to rest at a campsite.

Duffer Passenger in a canoe (not paddling).

Fruit GORP A blend of dried fruit trail mix.

GP The Grand Portage is a historic 8.5-mile portage from the Pigeon River to Lake Superior. It’s a rite of passage for veteran campers. May also refer to the Grand Portage 10-day trip, which goes from Camp Voyageur along the U.S./Canadian to Lake Superior.

GORP Good Ole Raisins and Peanuts (and M&Ms) trail mix.

Lily Dipper One who pretends to paddle.

LNT Leave No Trace, a set of seven wilderness ethics to prevent trail and outdoor destruction: Plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, minimize campfire impacts, leave what you find, respect wildlife, and be considerate of other visitors.

PP Polar Pure, an iodine water disinfectant.

Sweep Checking an area (i.e., campsite) for anything left behind after the group leaves.

Wackies The worms used for a wacky rig to catch bass and pike.

Wet Clothes A set of non-cotton clothes designated for traveling during the day. Not necessarily always wet.

If you know other common Voyageur terms we missed, let us know in the comments section!

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