Sunday, August 24, 2014

Blessings and BWCA

We're ba-ack!

Our trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) last week started with some major stutters. I blogged about the first one, thanks to my handy-dandy iPhone, which also let me keep up with emails and some of your blog posts so I wasn't quite so behind when I got home. Blessing #1.

Having the second leg of our flight cancelled and rescheduled for the next day meant we couldn't get to the Minneapolis hotel room we reserved on HotWire, but wonder of wonders, HotWire gave us a refund and we got a discount voucher from the airline. As a result, we spent the night at this posh Embassy Suites
for less than we would have paid for the HotWire hotel, with a free supper (from the complimentary happy hour) and free breakfast to boot! Big combo blessing #2. (If that wasn't blessing enough, I slept really well. Ahhhh.)

Refreshed, Monday morning we flew to Minneapolis where Rick's sister and nephew were waiting for us, crammed all our luggage and family into a Toyota RAV4, and headed north to Ely. There we met up with our friends at some cute cabins. Jim had picked up packs from the outfitters so we loaded up our food and gear, then settled in for a short night's sleep. Jim had planned a leisurely route for our canoe trip, so he was confident we could still do it even with losing a day, if we started early.

At Canoe Country Outfitters Tuesday morning, our packs and canoes were loaded up and off we headed to Moose Lake. As soon as we got in the van Rick looked uncomfortable; I asked what was wrong. He was feeling inexplicably nauseous, which alarmed us both. He rarely gets sick to his stomach, but did when he had his heart attack four years ago. Then he started sweating, and although it wasn't as profuse, that was another symptom of his MI. We were both concerned, and uncertain about what to do. He visited the restroom at Moose Lake and came out looking ashen; that did it. We all agreed that it was foolish for Rick to head out into the wilderness without making sure he was okay. So back we drove to Ely's little hospital, where Rick was admitted through Emergency. What happened to our blessings?!?

Nothing was evident from the initial tests, but the doctor wanted to monitor Rick for the rest of the day and overnight. We conferred, and it was decided the rest of our group should launch on a shorter route, and Rick and I would start at the end of the route and paddle in to meet them the next day if we could. The packs were hurriedly shuffled to remove Rick's and my clothes, sleeping bags and pads, and I rode with them out to the lake again to take photos and say good-bye.
So off they paddled, and back I went to the hospital. Rick was frustrated, and bored. He felt fine by this time, and hated missing any more of the canoe trip. So that evening, since all vitals and blood chemistry were staying normal (blessing #3!), he decided to check himself out against doctor's orders. We spent the night in the outfitter's simple lodge, and headed out the next morning.

Unlike our group's launch site, we put in at the swampy headwaters of Wood Lake. That was a little disappointing, but it revealed its own charms.
After paddling through lilypads and grasses, things finally opened up to the vistas we were expecting.
My man was finally happy.
We spent the day paddling, photographing loons and eagles, and finding the last available campsite (blessing #4) in the area where we were to meet up with the rest of our party.
When our group arrived (after FOUR portages, which I was not sorry to miss; that was blessing #5), we set up a base camp for the next two nights, giving us Thursday to explore, fish, photograph, and fellowship.

The beauty of place was undeniable, in spite of the bugs (mosquitoes, a few deer flies, and leeches for those who went in the water; thankfully, there were no gnats or ticks in sight – blessing #6) and nasty wilderness latrines. We got to observe interactions between adult and juvenile bald eagles, loons, and voles, and Brian was thrilled with his fishing success. We returned home (uneventfully – blessing #7) with memory cards of full of photos, a boatload of memories, and a few souvenirs. While I have no desire to do another multi-night canoe trip, I think it would be wonderful to stay in Ely at night and explore by canoe during the day. In the meantime, I have some photos to frame and some wild rice to cook!

Happy to be home at . . .


Tombstone Livestock said...

Welcome home, beautiful pictures, glad it was nothing serious with Rick. My idea of camping at my age now is Motel 6.

12Paws said...

Thanks for sharing your experience--wonderful photos. Brought back memories of a similar backpacking/canoe trip my husband & I took years ago in the Ontario bush north of Lake Superior. We saw not a single person & little wildlife for 7 days. Almost a mystical adventure!

Mama Pea said...

My gosh. This camping/canoe trip sure couldn't have been called smooth sailing right from the (even before) start! Wonder what in the world affected Rick? Almost sounded like the start of a bout with the flu, but certainly (thankfully) passed quickly.

We've done plenty (PLENTY!) of camping in the past that I don't have any desire to do more of it either. Day trips when I can come home and sleep in my own little beddie are my idea of the way to do. :o)

Susan said...

Wow! You sure packed a lot - both blessings and otherwise - into your weeklong trip! I am so glad that Rick is okay and that you got to see and experience such beautiful surroundings. I'm with Mama Pea - my forays into camping now mean making a tent with my sheet on my bed.... :)

Florida Farm Girl said...

I'm so glad things turned out well. Sure hope Rick is doing okay. I know all about those cardiac issues.

Looks like you had a great trip despite all the bumps.

Mary Ann said...

Thank God, I grew up in a heart-attack household, and I would have recognized the symptoms, too... I am so glad Rick was okay. Your pictures were beautiful... I don't know if I could camp and I am scared of water, but the birds and the flora... wonderful!!!!

Michelle said...

Audrey, I'm prone to agree with you on the camping.

12Paws, we saw quite a few people in canoes and at campsites, but it was still very peaceful. Well, except for that squawking juvenile bald eagle; he was LOUD!

I think it was stress, Mama Pea. Either that, or the Lord was protecting my knee by keeping us from all those portages!

Being home is more my speed, Susan. ;-)

It was memorable, FFG, and I AM glad we went.

Mary Ann, I certainly wouldn't have wanted to be out on the lake during stormy weather, but we had beautiful weather (the clouds kept it pleasantly cool) and calm waters.

Maureen said...

So glad to hear Rick is okay. It was good that you got him checked out in hospital. Yikes! What an adventure.

Fiona said...

These are the "adventures" we truly remember! Things that go wrong tempered with the fabulous things that go right! Wonderful Post!

A :-) said...

Oh Wow - those are definitely scary symptoms - I hope that Rick goes to see his cardiologist ASAP just to be sure all is OK.