The intrepid trio, composed of previous Adventurers of the Year, kite-skied across the Greenland ice sheet and paddled the first descent of a wild Arctic river to win our first ever Hall of Fame award. …
A fusion of hiking and canoeing. The BWCA Wilderness is unique to all other US national parks.
There is nothing that comes close to the uniqueness of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, located in Northern Minnesota.
In the USA mountains are plentiful, oceans and hiking trails are all over the place, then what makes this place so special? In the BWCA there is just as much lake coverage as there is solid ground, this makes trekking it a biathlon of hiking, canoeing, and repeating it again and again.
There are no motorized vehicles allowed in the 1,000,000+ acre wilderness. This means you must park at the edge and paddle onto the first lake with your hiking and trail gear in hand. Once the first body of water is crossed you are expected to jump in the water at the landing (yes, you must get your feet wet) pull the canoe on shore, throw a pack on your shoulders and carry a canoe over your head while hiking long distances to the next lake.
So why is the BWCA so unique? It’s a balance act of paddling, followed by hiking through the forest with 50+ lbs of weight on your shoulders. Watch out for boulders because there’s no easier time to sprain an ankle. The vast differences in area to cover between lakes also make each portage exciting, they can be anywhere from 100 yards across to 10 miles, lakes apply to the same rules. You can canoe across a pond then plan on hiking miles and miles through the woods until you get to the next one.
Here’s a tip that I learned from experience. When it’s windy make sure you stay near the shore, not out in the middle of the lake. You’d think this would be common sense, but it isn’t. Several years ago we tipped our canoes over in the middle of a 7 mile lake and lost some of our gear. We learned from that mistake and certainly won’t repeat it.
So why does anyone engage in such a hiking-canoeing expedition?
The BWCA is home to some of the most deserted lakes in North America. With freshwater fish species booming and ready to be caught and grilled over the fire, there really is nothing like it. Hunting permits are granted during season however no firearms are allowed, only archery. All food must be backpacked in on each trip and of course all trash items have to be taken back out.
The bonus of the BWCA is that you can endlessly paddle and hike into the wilderness. If you want peace and quiet plan on moving in at least eight lakes and eight portages because it will separate you from the Boy Scouts that only scratch the surface. There are survivalists that go into the wilderness during the spring, and don’t come out until fall time. The BWCA is an endless maze of wilderness.
My favorite part of trekking the BWCA is this: after a long day of juggling rocky portages and windy lakes, anything over the campfire tastes good.
After kayaking marvelous Isla Espiritu Santo off La Paz, Baja in 2006 … I created a website promoting the kayak/hiking adventure.
This kid had an even better time than I did. 🙂
Check out Diego as he snorkels with amazing sea life at Espiritu Santo, an island in the Sea of Cortez. While diving or snorkeling there you can see whale sharks, mobula rays, groupers, snappers, turtles, sea lions and numerous species of fishes and crustaceans.
Many people are now calling for increased protections at Espiritu Santo from harmful fishing practices such as gill nets. In this short film, Diego shares his love for the sea life at Espiritu Santo and his desire to help protect it for future generations.
Click through to islaespiritusanto.org if you’d be willing to support a campaign to ban gill nets around those rich reefs:
CONANP Letter in English
Dear. Mr Bermudez.
On behalf of present and future generations of Pacenos and visitors to Baja Sur, I am requesting the government ban use of gill nets on inshore reefs around Isla Espiritu Santo in the new management plan.
The plan documents a decline of fisheries, due in large part to the ongoing use of gill nets, yet allows those same gill nets to remain on inshore reefs around the island. In fact, this plan offers no substantive decrease in fishing effort, gear types used, nor areas fished and is not consistent with the plan’s vision to protect and restore the marine ecosystem.
As a result, this plan guarantees further fisheries degradation and will do further damage to the recreation and tourism economy of La Paz.
Thank you for protecting the ecological integrity of the marine environment around Isla Espiritu Santo with the sustainable use of the fisheries resource.
If winter’s chill finds you longing for summer’s sunny days, consider a trip south of the border to Baja. Greatly reduced temperatures make winter a far more pleasant time to hike at most Baja locations than summer. Autumn and spring are good times to hike there, too. It’s also a great place for enjoying a combination of outdoor activities.
I’ve discovered that my own favorite Baja combination adventure is kayaking and camping along the Sea of Cortez, stopping to hike and to snorkel at various locations along the way. …
… For Idaho, we got more serious about our “flotation devices,” and we brought pack-rafts from Alpacka. The company makes a line of small, packable rafts that weigh as little as 3.5 pounds. But for Idaho, Alpacka built our team prototype rafts that were even smaller and lighter. The one-off “Ghost” model pack-rafts weighed an incredible 2.1 pounds each, and they rolled up small. …
Though I’m personally not a fan of Twitter, it was our best mode of communication during this race. Multiple people logged in to our account to update from the mountains by mobile phone.
The SPOT devices were almost more trouble than they were worth, working semi-reasonably perhaps 30% of the time. Multiple points of failure: human error, SPOT failure, battery failure, weather interference. The satellite network is unreliable too, it seems.
The one time we really needed SPOT to work, it didn’t. The team needed to climb to elevation to use a mobile phone to call 911 for air evacuation after a bike fall.
My $9.50 Trakfone was far more reliable in the wild than SPOT.
Here’s my favourite photo from the week, nighttime navigation – Team Bones.
Mike Kloser, a Vail, Colo., athlete and a former world-champion mountain biker, is something of a god in the sport of adventure racing. As the captain of Team Nike, Kloser dominated AR for years, including multiple world-champ titles and victories at banner events like the Eco Challenge and Primal Quest under his belt.
Last year, Kloser launched a gear company, Out There USA, and he designed a backpack. After years of racing — as well as living a consummate outdoors existence working and training in Colorado — Kloser put his knowledge toward making his company’s AS-1 Pack something of an ultimate multi-sport tool. …