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Canoe Country Camping: Wilderness Skills for the Boundary Waters and Quetico

Illustrated by Susan Robinson
Copyright Date: 1992
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    Canoe Country Camping
    Book Description:

    In this complete and up-to-date guide, first-time campers will find answers to all their questions about where to go, how to pack, and what to do. Seasoned campers will find helpful tips to streamline their planning and make their next trip better than ever.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9554-6
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. Map
    (pp. viii-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiii)
  5. Planning Your Adventure
    (pp. 1-11)

    It always surprises me that most canoe camping books place the chapter on trip planning somewhere near the end of the text. I’m not sure if this signifies how the author feels about the importance of trip-planning skills or if it is merely for organizational reasons. Whatever the reason, I’ve always felt such placement is erroneous.

    Simply put, poor planning will equal a poor trip, every time. And this holds true no matter what your skill level. Regardless of your talents or prowess in the wilderness, you can’t easily manufacture or replace most camping items forgotten at home. Nor will...

  6. Good Gear = Good Trip
    (pp. 13-33)

    I awoke early in the morning after a night of fitful thunder-boom interrupted sleep, dressed, and leaving the Crooked Lake cabin, the little log building where Mary Jo and I were stationed as wilderness rangers during the summer of 1986, stepped outside into the soggy morning. The night had been one of ferocious thunderstorms and driving rains. Windrows of pine needles and other floating debris lined the lake’s shoreline as evidence of the deluge that had only just ended.

    Surveying the storm damage, I strolled into one of the two campsites within a short walk of the cabin. A young...

  7. Canoes and Paddles for the Wilderness
    (pp. 35-51)

    We sat forlornly windbound as we watched the waves, and also the remainder of our outing, blow by. Frankly, I was a bit annoyed; not at the wind, which follows its own will and wasn’t consciously disrupting our trip. I was annoyed at the choice of canoe that the other half of our foursome had made for this wilderness trip.

    I looked at it as it sat on the beach. A super-lightweight, straight-keeled, low-bowed, shallow rocket of a boat, it was absolutely out of place in the wilderness. Because of its design, we sat an entire day watching the waves,...

  8. Canoe Country Clothing
    (pp. 53-67)

    You may not think it is important to make a fashion statement when on a canoe trip, but the fact is the clothing you choose for your adventure will indeed receive critical review. Wind and rain will test it, and insects will line up to assess your clothing choices. The sun will pass judgment and cold winds will pry into every flaw. The very rocks themselves will seek to make an impression. Satisfying all these critics takes a bit of forethought.

    You’ll also have a limited amount of space in your pack for clothing. Just what to cram into that...

  9. The Canoe Country Kitchen
    (pp. 69-87)

    I guess if you’ve ever seen how Charlie Brown’s dog, Snoopy, behaves at dinner time, dancing his little doggy dance, you have a pretty fair idea of my behavior as our supper simmers. No doubt about it, meal time is a highly anticipated event during every canoe trip.

    It can be a dreaded event as well, especially if the food is difficult to prepare, dull, or not filling enough. A bit of planning can help avoid the dreaded dinnertime blues.

    So far in this book you’ve been subjected to my opinion on how many new products don’t work as well...

  10. Packing for the Portage
    (pp. 89-101)

    The sleekness of your canoe won’t determine how far you travel. The sophistication of your paddles and technique won’t define how fast you go. Even your most fervent wishes and careful planning won’t put you at your secret camp of solitude or that remote fishing hole. More than any other factor on your canoe trip, it will be how you handle the portages that controls ease, speed, and distance.

    And how you pack governs how you portage.

    There are two common dictums concerning canoe trips. The first is that you need not worry too much about weight since the canoe...

  11. On Your Way, Finally
    (pp. 103-125)

    Both the greatest anticipation and the most apprehension concerning your canoe trip occur as you stand at the landing where your trip will begin. The car is parked. Packs are loaded into the canoe. Wind plays with your hair, sun dances on the waves. Ahead is the expanse of the first lake and beyond lies the wilderness, with all its glories and challenges. And you question, briefly, are we ready? Did we forget anything? Will we find our way? Then you shove off, dip your paddles into the gleaming waters, and leave the world you know fading behind. You are...

  12. The Movable Home
    (pp. 127-141)

    A gentle breeze slips softly through pines, sighing. Across the lake the sun settles in for the night, its lowering light a ruddy orange, the sky above it purple. The campfire crackles, snapping sparks toward the first stars. Wood smoke smells fine, the lapping little waves sound better. You settle back with feet to the fire and eyes on the sunset, slightly stiff back and sore shoulders enjoying their rest. Your thoughts turn to the day’s adventures, the many tasks, the snug camp you’ve just secured for the night. You feel as though you’ve just walked into your own home...

  13. Bugs, Bears, and Other Travel Travails
    (pp. 143-161)

    The phone conversation was’t going in the direction I had hoped. I had called a friend to hear about his recent bass fishing canoe trip, a trip he had taken to the same lake we were about to visit. What I heard instead was about the bugs—and it wasn’t pretty.

    “Had to leave a day early,” he said. “Couldn’t even eat outside. Never seen the bugs worse than that.”

    Great. What to do? We were all packed and ready to go. The fellow I talked to was experienced and not prone to complaining. If the insects had driven them...

  14. Wilderness Wildlife
    (pp. 163-174)

    Basswood River churned noisily over the lower falls as we paddled upstream toward Wheelbarrow Portage. A calm, warm day lay heavy on the canoe country, blue skies punctuated with white comma clouds.

    We stroked along just outside the emerald horsetail reeds a few yards from shore, the only sound our slightly swishing paddles. Rounding a point, both Mary Jo and I suddenly back-paddled, halting the canoe in a quiet hurry. Ahead, on the water’s edge and ankle deep, stood two whitetail fawns, each still speckled with infant camouflage, tawny miniature deer against a dark forest background.

    We sat silently, smiling,...

  15. Additional Resources

    • On Wilderness
      (pp. 176-182)

      Less than a half a century ago, the banner of developers plying their trade on the edge of the Quetico-Superior Wilderness was “A Road to Every Lake.” A frightening thought.

      Look at a map of the canoe country. No other place on the planet offers such a canoeists’ mecca. Thousands of lakes, hundreds of miles of rivers, all linked by connecting portage trails through almost two and a half million acres of boreal forest. This resource is an international treasure, as unique as the Everglades, as spectacular as the Rockies.

      The American half, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW),...

    • Fishing the Canoe Country
      (pp. 183-186)

      To many folks, a trip to the canoe country also means the chance to fish and perhaps to enjoy a delicious meal of fresh fillets. With nearly two thousand lakes to choose from, the angler in the group will likely go crazy with anticipation.

      The major game fish species found in the canoe country are walleye, lake trout, northern pike, and smallmouth bass. A few lakes contain largemouth bass and panfish, and there are a handful of brook trout lakes. Those interested in what fish are to be found in which lake should consult my bookA Boundary Waters Fishing...

    • Reservations and Regulations for the Boundary Waters and Quetico
      (pp. 187-194)

      Both the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Quetico Provincial Park are managed wilderness areas. Those who visit overnight are required to have in their possession a valid travel permit. Each permit allows a group to enter from a specific entry point on a specific day—no variations. However, once you are in the wilderness you are free to travel as you wish.

      If you will be entering both the Quetico and Boundary Waters, you’ll need a separate permit for each, and when crossing the international border from the United States going into Canada, you’ll have to stop at a...

    • Canoe Country Guardians
      (pp. 195-195)

      Since the threats to the wilderness never cease, these groups can use your support.

      Izaak Walton League of America

      1401 Wilson Boulevard, Level B

      Arlington, VA 22209

      The Izaak Walton League has been engaged in the canoe country’s preservation since the 1920s. There would not be a BWCAW without it. A national conservation group with thousands of active local chapters, it still serves as a watchdog for the BWCAW and Quetico.

      Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

      1313 Fifth Street SE, Suite 329

      Minneapolis, MN 55414

      Formed to fight for the Boundary Waters wilderness legislation passed in 1978, the Friends’...

    • For More Information
      (pp. 196-197)

      BWCAW reservations:

      (877) 550-6777 (toll free)

      TDD (877) TDD-NRRS (toll free)

      fax reservation to (518) 884-9951

      or on line at

      BWCAW information:

      U.S. Forest Service

      P.O. Box 338, Duluth, MN 55801


      Quetico reservations:

      (888) ONT-PARK (668-7275)

      Quetico information and Ontario fishing licenses:

      Ministry of Natural Resources

      Quetico Provincial Park

      108 Saturn Avenue

      Atikokan, Ontario, Canada POT 1 CO

      (807) 597-2735

      Remote Area Border Crossing Permits:

      Canada Immigration Centre

      Suite 108, 221 Archibald St. N.

      Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada P7C 3Y3


      Minnesota fishing and watercraft licenses:

      Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

      (888) MINN-DNR

      Map sources for BWCAW and...

    • Suggested Reading List
      (pp. 198-199)

      Perhaps no wilderness has been featured in print more often than the Boundary Waters and Quetico. The visitor can easily read not only about the canoe country’s history and charm but also about its routes and fishing before planning a trip. The following is a suggested reading list to make you more familiar with this wonderful country.

      Boundary Waters Canoe Area, by Robert Beymer. An excellent two-volume guide to the canoe routes of the BWCAW. Published by Wilderness Press.

      A Paddler’s Guide to Quetico Provincial Park, by Robert Beymer. Published by the W A. Fisher Co., this book introduces the...

  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 200-201)