At least once a year, for many years, we go to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The BWCA is this pristine wilderness located in northern Minnesota and on into Canada. It’s remote. The air is crisp and clean. Quite literally, going to the Boundary Waters is “getting away from it all”. You have to get a permit to enter. You have to canoe for miles and miles to get to your campsite. You filter drinking water from the lake. You carry in all your food and carry out all your trash. You don’t shower for days. I mean, it is really something…
We’ve gone by ourselves, with our friends, with our dog. Last year, for the first time, Jonah got to got into the Boundary Waters for one night. Prior to that, we would take him up to the outskirts of the BWCA and camp at a state park. Then we’d canoe in for day trips. But now he’s old enough and he gets to do the official Boundary Waters experience. This is the big time, guys.
Anyone who has ever been in the same room with Jonah knows that he is THE most active kid. Ever. He’s constantly in motion, climbing on things, talking constantly, touching everything…and he’s fearless, too, which makes for an even crazier experience. But you put this kid in a canoe or a kayak and he’s good to sit still for 4 or 5 straight hours. He’s been like that his entire life. Maybe it’s because we always go paddling with him…Or maybe that’s WHY we always go paddling with him. I’m not sure which…
To the delight of us all, this little mink came running through our UNO game.
It is not UNCOMMON for Joel to pick up slimy things he finds in the woods.
So then, when you’re done, you go into the town of Ely. There are canoes everywhere. Atop cars, piled high at outfitters…everywhere. And most of the businesses are named something “up northy”: Portage Realty, The Paddle Inn, Wildlife Liquor. Ely is the coolest small town in America. No, seriously, I’m not making it up. Budget Travelsays so!
And I whole heartedly agree!
This is our tradition: when we’re hungry and tired and cranky while portaging (carrying) our canoe for miles, we think about what kind of pie we’re going to get at the Chocolate Moose once we’re done with the trip.
The Chocolate Moose is our favorite restaurant in Ely.
And it has THE. BEST. PIE.