I will not lie. I was a little nervous as my favorite Guide Lawrence, drove me and the rented solo canoe to Slim Lake. Pulling into the tiny parking lot and setting all the gear down, he said. “The most important thing to remember is to always wear your life vest and take your time. Don’t hurry, that’s when you make mistakes.” I thought this was sound advice, and since I was planning to stay for four days, I was not in any hurry.
When I got all my gear and the canoe to the lake, I had noticed it was windy, and the waves were strong. Luckily the water was flowing north to the direction I had planned on paddling, which is a plus. I loaded my canoe with two portage packs, a soft-sided backpack cooler, and my trusty brown backpack that has accompanied me on all my BWCA adventures. I pushed off and went feeling adventure calling me home.
My heart was racing, but the majestic beauty of the landscape seemed to calm me, reminding me to relax. I knew deep down that I got this. The waves were strong, and it took some effort as I paddled to my intended campsite, I saw that it was already occupied by two women. I asked if they knew if the next site to the north was open and they said they had not seen anyone else all day. Perfect!
I kept going north hoping that the campsite was free; otherwise, I would have to turn around and fight the waves all the way back down to the southern end of the lake where there was another site. Thankfully when I arrived, I saw the site was free, and it looked perfect for me. It was on a point, and I noticed it even had a lovely small sandy beach where I could pull up the canoe. There was a lone butterfly that fluttered around me the whole time I was setting up as if to say. “I am so happy to see you!” I took this as a good omen and continued on.
Deciding that when I had set up the tent and got situated, I knew this beach is where I would be sitting that evening. By the time I was done, I was warm and needed to cool off. I decided to put my swimming suit on and test out the water to enjoy my own little piece of heaven. The water was warm, and the wind had died down considerably. It was if Slim Lake was giving me a warm, gentle welcoming because the first day was the best weather of my stay.
The campsite was so peaceful I did not once feel scared! I felt secure knowing that experience had taught me enough to stay warm, watch my footing, and like Lawrence said, take my time doing everything! As I sat in my camp chair on the mini beach, eating a peanut butter sandwich, I couldn’t help but feel anything but gratitude for this moment. Appreciation for being in the middle of a postcard picture moment and being brave enough to journey to that spot alone.
As dragonflies zoomed by taking care of the flies that may have bugged me, I felt contentment seep into my body. The peace and calm I felt was the exact reason why I love the BWCA as much as I do. I am telling you, nowhere in the world do I feel as connected and centered to my self and Spirit as I do when I am there. I kept repeating my mantra for my stay, which was simply. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
As the sun sank behind the giant pines and the dusk grew into darkness, I noticed that I was tired, so got ready for bed without having a campfire. I put everything away and tucked my portage packs under the rainfly. I used bungee cords to secure my cooler to a pine tree that was farthest away from my tent. It wasn’t hanging or fancy, but it would help to detour forest critters from food theft. Besides, I figure if a bear wants my food, I’m going to just let them go ahead and have it!
As I lay in the tent alone, the sound of the nocturnal critters coming alive kept me up for a bit. Beavers came to the campsite and chatted so loudly that I thought it was a gang of raccoons! I clapped my hands a few times and said. “Hey, you! That’s mine!” to detour them from my cooler tied to a tree. It seemed to work just fine, and after a bit, they skedaddled. I fell asleep and woke up around midnight to see the moon shining brightly through the screen window of my tent. It was so pretty I tried to take a picture, but of course, you cannot capture the beauty of the moon on a camera.
This first day was so enjoyable and fantastic! Again, I just have to say. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” I felt that I had indeed made the right choice to go out on my solo adventure. That was until the next morning when the tides will change. But I will save that story for tomorrow! Hope you enjoyed the story and pictures of my first alone in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area as much as I enjoy sharing my love with you!
Wishing you a beautiful blessed day,
Love, Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister
Visit me at EmyMinzel.com
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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister