Map Mondays – Week 8 – South Kawishiwi to Moose Lake

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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 5 – Baker to Magnetic

By Riley Smith | August 7, 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 highlights a route across some of the busier routes on the eastern BWCA but, in using some creative strategy, allows…

How to Plan a BWCA Route: The Treebear Way

By Riley Smith | July 12, 2022

Amidst guiding, outfitting, and plenty of personal trips in between, I have been blessed to “cross the line” into the BWCA 88 different times. I look back at all those incredible memories and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Boundary Waters still has plenty of surprises in store and so many more…

How to Name Over 1000 Different Lakes: Part 2

By Riley Smith | October 27, 2023

Last year, we published an article about Boundary Waters lake names, their inspirations, their backgrounds, and which themes and names are common or often repeated. Among 1100 different lakes in the BWCAW alone, there are quite a variety of names! In this sequel article, we are visiting the BWCAW, Quetico, and Voyageurs National Park to…

8 Great Places to Canoe/Kayak Camp this Fall in Minnesota

By Riley Smith | September 29, 2022

Fall is a magical time of the year to get out and enjoy nature. And for me, I think it’s my favorite season to head out in a canoe to relish in the fleeting days of open water. The Boundary Waters are so special this time of year, and next week’s article will cover how…

Map Mondays – Week 9 – Trout to Moose River South

By Riley Smith | August 30, 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 route highlights a route across the rugged western section of the BWCA. Check it out: Total Mileage: 35.2 milesNights: 5Paddle Distance:…

How to Start Wilderness Winter Camping on a Budget

By Riley Smith | December 7, 2022

The wind howls around the steep rocky palisade displacing snow which softly blanketed the lichen-speckled crag the night before. The cold wind bites the face as the eyes turn upwards towards brilliant hues of pink and orange igniting the morning sky. The evening dark and long makes the dawn all the more magical. And with…

The Route Planning Game

By Riley Smith | June 15, 2023

“Probably the best remedy for the canoe freak is map watching. Pouring over maps can often get you through the canoeless season when nothing else can. I recommend it highly. If you coat the maps with plastic, you can even use them as tablecloths, curtains, and all sorts of things. However, no matter what you…

How to See the BWCA in One Trip

By Riley Smith | August 9, 2022

  When it comes to planning trips, I can be a bit of a dreamer, and if you’re anything like me, you spend a great deal of time thinking about what could be possible. I may not have the days lined up or the permits pulled yet. I may not even know which friends will…

Map Mondays – Week 3 – Crab Lake/Cummings Lake to Big Lake

By Riley Smith | July 10, 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 an arduous 6 night trip through the far western reaches of the BWCA. This area of the BWCA can…

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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