In June 2006 I had the opportunity to travel to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota. I went with my two brothers and three of my nephews. We met at the Minneapolis airport and headed north. It took about five hours to get to Ely. We met our outfitter there that evening and went back to town for one last meal. The six of us shared a bunkhouse that night with about seven million mosquitos. This was just to break us in. The next morning at 6:30 the outfitter drove us with our packs, canoes and other gear to the put in area on Lake One. ( I think there are so many lakes in Minnesota (Land of 10,000 Lakes) that they ran out of names.) We made arrangements to be picked up a week later on Snowbank Lake. Over the next 6 days we paddled and portaged (carry canoes and gear overland from one lake to the next) about 60 miles. I carried my camera gear in a Lowepro Dryzone 100. I had to re-lubricate the zipper several times, but otherwise it worked well. Our portages were almost always two trips to get the canoe and all our gear. The longest was 180 rods (just over a half mile) and the shortest was 10 rods. We lived on the food we brought with us as well as fish we caught every day but one. Mostly we caught Walleye and Northern Pike. One of my brothers caught a very nice Lake Trout as well. I remember that one well because I managed to get one of the prongs of a treble hook (one of three on the lure) embedded in my finger while trying to get the fish in the canoe. After several tense moments with the 4 pound fish flopping around while still attached to the lure and my finger my brother was able to climb forward in the canoe and cut the lure off while I held the fish. We continued to fish for another 30-40 minutes then went back to camp and I worked on the hook, finally getting it out after about 30 minutes. Other than outrunning a thunder and lightning storm and crossing some wind whipped water a couple of times the trip was without further disaster potential. I had a great time and was able to get some good photos. I never did get up in time to shoot sunrise (I would have needed to wake up at 4:30), but did several sunsets. This is a great place if water and solitude is what you are after. That is if you don't mind sharing with a few billion mosquitos.
Canon 1Ds, EF 24-70 mm f/2.8 L @ 24 mm, ISO 100
Peaceful afternoon at Insula Lake. This is what the weather was like most of the time we were out.
Canon 1Ds, EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L @ 25 mm, ISO 100
Sunset on Lake Insula. I helped get dinner going, then shot sunset and came back to camp to cold food. It still tasted good.
Canon 1Ds, EF 24-70 mm f/2.8 L @ 35 mm, ISO 200
Thomas Lake. This was one of the longer lakes we paddled across. Fortunately there was not much wind. Most of the lakes have very clear water.
Canon 1Ds, EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L with 1.4 EX @ 280 mm, ISO 800
Wood Duck. We came upon this while trolling from the canoe. I got the camera out of the dryzone and switched lenses and added the extender while the duck patiently waited for me. We got a bit closer than this, but then he took to the water and swam away. We also saw Loons and Bald Eagles, both in good numbers.
Canon 1Ds, EF 24-70 mm f/4.5-5.6 L @ 30 mm, ISO 100
Sunset at another camp on Lake Insula. We either started cooking sooner or later than usual this night, because I don't remember having cold supper again.
Canon 1Ds, EF EF 24-70 mm f/2.8 L @ 30 mm, ISO 400
Just to show off some of the fish we were catching. These are my two brothers with their 24 inch Walleye on the left and Lake Trout on the right.
Canon 1Ds, EF 24-70 mm f/2.8 L @ 32 mm, ISO 400
End of the day at our last camp, Ahsub Lake. We had to pump clean water using our water filters for all our drinking, cooking and final rinse on dishes. This is a couple of the guys doing that chore.