My First Minnesota Summer Camp Adventure

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Story by Charlie Jay (middle), age 10

This summer I stayed at Camp Voyageur for two weeks. The reason I went there is because my dad went as a kid. After four days in the cabin, I went on a six-day canoe camping trip into the Boundary Waters. We had to pack food, pots and pans, gear, and clothes. The next day we tied the canoes to the van and loaded packs, fishing gear, and paddles in the back of the van before heading to Moose Lake to begin our trip.

On the first day, I did the longest portage of my life, 195 rods carrying a 50-pound pack. One rod, in case you are wondering, is sixteen-and-a-half feet. After a few hours of traveling, we found a campsite and set up tents. For dinner, Harrison cooked us chuck roast with potatoes. We ate while listening to the birds chirping like a symphony, never playing the same song, but everchanging. Loons that can yodel for several minutes are my favorite birds. They make the most special noise that always tells you you’re in the Northwoods!

For the next few days, we paddled and slept. Then we arrived at the island campsite. The island campsite was a whole island we got to ourselves! It had good swimming, views, blueberry bushes, and cozy tent pads.

Then we kept paddling and camping. One of the campsites was infested with tiny slugs who liked to hitch rides on our packs and lifejackets. On the sixth and final day, we paddled home over water that was so calm it was like glass. I remember so vividly the canoe gliding through the water from the wood and plastic paddles propelling us. We had our final lunch at Kawishiwi Falls, watching the water roar past us, then falling into the river and crashing and slamming into the water below as I chomped on M&M’s.

Looking back on the trip, I learned that everything has to be worked for and not just given to you. The rewards are worth the struggles. I felt like it was a great experience. - Story by Charlie Jay, age 10

See more trip stories in this year’s Paddle Post newspaper, coming soon right to your mailbox. with your mailing address to receive your copy or if you moved recently.