How to Name Over 1000 Different Lakes: Part 2

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The 12 Longest Portages in Canoe Country

By Riley Smith | September 22, 2023

The act of portaging between two waterways is usually, understandably, an intentionally short affair. Paddle to the closest point between two water bodies and then portage. This doesn’t make it easy or “type 1 fun” every time, but it’s the burden we bear for wilderness travel. Some portages stick with us whether they are steep…

How to Make the Most of High Water in the BWCA: A Trip Report

By Riley Smith | June 1, 2022

Open water season is well upon us and this year has been extraordinary so far. A decent snowpack and a late melt combined for a high water spring. As a result, there have been numerous stories of capsized watercraft and perilous experiences. High water can be a challenge and a hazard that should not be…

Upward, upward: Which portage is the tip top?

By Riley Smith | September 20, 2022

What is the most difficult portage in the BWCA? This is an impossible question to answer. Is it the steepest? How about the longest? How about the one that has the most mud, the most bugs, the slipperiest rocks, or the worst landing? In truth, the most difficult portage is an entirely subjective question bent…

Map Mondays – Week 1 – Hog Creek to Skipper/Portage

By Riley Smith | June 26, 2023

As part of our continuing series on the “route planning game,” we are creating routes using randomly selected entry points, exit points, and number of days to create unique and fun BWCA routes. This week is a big trip of nine nights from Hog Creek to Skipper/Portage. It’s certainly a big and challenging route, but…

The Best Month To Plan A Canoe Trip? Might Be September…

By mlarson | June 2, 2019

For most of us, the best time to go on a canoe trip is any and every opportunity presented. But if you have a little flexibility in planning your trip, September is a wonderful month to visit canoe country. Here are a few reasons why September might be the best month to plan a wilderness canoe…

Trail Stories: Why I Love to Share the Wilderness

By Riley Smith | June 28, 2022

  In my time in the Boundary Waters, I have come to love sharing the experience with people who are completely new to it all, yet there is so much potential for things to be frustrating when introducing people for the first time. Perhaps you won’t be able to travel as quickly as you normally…

Map Mondays – Week 4 – Bower Trout to Little Indian Sioux North

By Riley Smith | July 24, 2023

As part of our continuing series on the “route planning game,” we are creating routes using randomly selected entry points, exit points, and number of days to create unique and fun BWCA routes. This week’s randomly selected entry points set us up for a cross-BWCA trip. It’s a long, 10-night trip that covers most of…

The Tail of the Thunderbox

By Riley Smith | November 7, 2023

A few weeks back, we delved into the story of the BWCAW fire grates. No story of the BWCAW campsites would be complete, however, without the other ever-present campsite feature. The feature goes by many names: the latrine, the throne, the BIFF, the privvy, the facilities, and so many others depending on your group. Just…

From the Boundary Waters to Superior – How the Water Falls

By Riley Smith | October 27, 2022

The Boundary Waters are one of the premier destinations in Minnesota and across the Midwest, but, as far as water is concerned, the Boundary Waters are not the end of the journey, but the beginning. Most people enthusiastic about the Boundary Waters know that it is divided into two watersheds along an invisible line known…

How to Hike the BWCA this Fall

By Riley Smith | October 19, 2022

For those of us whose Boundary Waters trips don’t end with canoe season, Fall can be a challenging time to decide what activities to pursue. As the ice begins to line the outer edges of the lakes and canoeing becomes tougher, it’s just the perfect time of the year to hit the trails and backpack…

Author Bio:

Riley Smith

Riley is the Director of Community Engagement and Public Relations for Portage North and Sundog Sport. He comes from a background in wilderness programing and environmental education with four years of BWCA outfitting and guiding before taking this role. In his free time, he can be found out canoeing, hiking, snowshoeing, capturing photography, and writing.

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