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Posted: 8/31/2010 4:14:51 PM EDT
Tomorrow I will fullfill the dream of a my buddy and take him on a ten day trip through the BWCA/Quetico. It's something we've talked about in the past and it's always been on his "list".

Mike and I met 25 years ago in a hornline playing in a Drum and Bugle Corps. He was very different than most of the NY/NJ crowd that was streaming into the Pocono Mountains in PA to escape the cities. His family bought a little Mom and Pop resort and he was just done with school and was an aircraft mechanic. I was (and always will be) cultured hillbilly swine that could wail on a soprano horn. We instantly became friends, which was odd because of my clear dislike of what the mountains were turning into with the increased city population. I distanced myself from everyone who wasn't "local". I found myself growing alone very quickly as the locals all moved or died off.

By the time you you it, he was by my side everywhere I could sneak off to backpacking, hunting, canoeing, kayaking, flyfishing....he was quick and eager to learn. He became a world class outdoorsman. He also taught me not to judge others by who they are or where they're from. Mike is one of those guys who has such integrity that you find yourself wishing you were more like him. I have a lot of respect for him.

By the time I knew it, he was doing full out trips with me bagging peaks, backpacking trails and paddling through some of the most beautiful country we had ever seen. We did trips every year for up to two weeks at a time.

I moved out to the upper midwest seven years ago. Since that time, we have seen each other a few times a year. There's always the phone calls of course, but this year to celebrate 25 years of friendship,we wanted to get back into our trip routine. I let him pick a trip. He knows I'm close to the BWCA and Quetico, so naturally, this would be it.
Reminds me of a time.................

There was a trip where we paddled down through Adirondack park once. We shared an island with two old men in their late 70's at the time. After talking about where we had been and how long we were out, they invited us over to their camp where they used a motorboat to haul their stuff in for the week. It was magnificent! An Adirondack shelter with an attached tarp making a complete kitchen with 20lb propane tanks,risers with propane lighting, a full kitchen, a stack of firewood for the week and in the shelter was two cots with flannel lined heavy sleeping bags on the beds laid out perfectly and orderly with big fluffy pillows made up just perfect. They had crates stacked up between the cots with oil lamps on them and they were about to make a big meal of fresh fried chicken which they invited us to join in on.
In conversation during this wonderful meal, they had laughed, joked, told us about their families and told us that they had been doing this trip for 30 years together. Mike and I were amazed at the friendship and dedication to making this happen every year for so long. These guys were the best of friends. It was heartwarming. After the best meal we had had in quite a while and sensing they were a little tired from all the belly laughing ,we thanked them for their hospitality and conversation and made our way through the bush back to our site on the other side of the island feeling really good about what we had just experienced. It was beautiful.

Little did we know we were probably staring right into a mirror.
Link Posted: 8/31/2010 5:26:07 PM EDT
I am a little envious, as I am missing my fall fishing trip this year. However, if you post pics when you get back, I can live vicariously through you

Have a safe trip
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 3:30:47 AM EDT
I'm planing a BWCA trip for next year for our scout troop.

My Grandfather worked for the forest service and wrote the original proposal to create the BWCA. I have a copy of it signed by the secretary of the interior. If you go to Moose Lake there is a memorial marker for him by the public boat ramp. It's off in the woods a little so you have to search for it.

My dad paid for college by working as a fishing guide out of Sawbill Lodge during the summers.

Love that area of the country.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 10:25:16 AM EDT
Originally Posted By VaFish:
I'm planing a BWCA trip for next year for our scout troop.

My Grandfather worked for the forest service and wrote the original proposal to create the BWCA. I have a copy of it signed by the secretary of the interior. If you go to Moose Lake there is a memorial marker for him by the public boat ramp. It's off in the woods a little so you have to search for it.

My dad paid for college by working as a fishing guide out of Sawbill Lodge during the summers.

Love that area of the country.


That is beyond cool!
Thanks to your families efforts.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 11:12:55 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 6:00:13 PM EDT
That's an excellent story and its great that you're able to continue your trips and your friendship. Its not many folks who get the chance to share a bond like that, let alone for that length of time. Enjoy the trip; I'm envious on many levels.

Link Posted: 9/2/2010 10:44:50 AM EDT
Sounds like a good time. Which side of you going into, Ely or Gunflint? I was supposed to go (solo) in June but it rained the whole week so I skipped out. I snowshoe'd into the BW last winter to see the Hegman lake pictographs.
Link Posted: 9/2/2010 12:01:07 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/11/2010 8:46:53 PM EDT
Son and I did BW in 2000 with our Scout Troop. One of the best experiences in my life. Started from Quetico and did a 10-day loop. I've been dying to do it again. Now that he's off at college, I'm trying to get my best friend to repeat the trip with me. But we're both getting to be old codgers and he's a little hesitant, having never done any canoeing before.

I gotta work on this some more.

ahhhh memories. fishing was unbelievable.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 9:16:58 AM EDT
Originally Posted By booger-hooker:
Thanks for the story Lorax. What Drum and Bugle Corps did you play with? My brother and I were in the drumline of the Dubuque Colts in '84 & '85.

Imperial Regiment
Garfield Cadets
Lehigh Valley Chieftains
Reading Buccaneers
Blue Eagles
I also did ensemble corps with a bunch of senior corps also.

17 years total
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 10:01:21 AM EDT
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