Into the Hairy Lake PMA, southbound for Sora Lake
The purpose of the Boundary Waters Compendium, the Swanson Party BWCA
web pages, is twofold. First, to enhance the quality of the Boundary
Waters wilderness experience for visitors by providing a comprehensive
and integrated body of information, suggestions, background, commentary,
links, and trivia. Second, to allow its creators the sheer joy of
pulling all of this together.
There are a number of fine BWCA sites on the Internet, with a good
deal of useful information. Do check them out. This is our
contribution to that effort.
Principle Sections of the Boundary Waters Compendium
- General Information and Background
- Planning and Enjoying Your Trip
- Natural History - Understanding
This is a non-commercial, family Web site. We accept no advertising
and have no plans to do so. Any reference to commercial ventures,
such as outfitters and map publishers, is at our sole discretion and
done for the benefit of visitors to the site. No consideration is
asked, offered, or given for these commercial references. While we
endorse no commercial ventures, we have no qualms about making comments
drawn from our opinions and experience. YMMV. We all work full time
plus outside of Northern Minnesota and no financial interests in the
Who We Are
We are three brothers-in-law, joined over the past ten years by nephews
and niece, sons and daughter, and various other family and friends,
for our annual canoe trips in the BWCAW. As individuals, we have been
visiting the Boundary Waters for over twenty years, including some
time in Quetico and hiking the Kek. While not professing to be experts,
we have put a lot of miles on our boots and under our boats over the
years. We've seen a lot, learned a lot, and come to love the land.
We'd like to share that with you.
Where We Come From
Everyone has their own preferences and opinions when it comes to the
BWCA and ours come through fairly clearly on these pages. If you'd
like some advance warning, consider this:
- We like to emphasize the second W
in BWCAW when we travel, so
- we try to avoid popular lakes, routes, and entry points
- we expect to portage, a lot (upwards of 1000 rods on busy
- we tend to avoid large, open lakes, especially those with
- we are fond of small, wilderness rivers and out-of-the-way
- we travel light, and will not carry aluminum boats
- we find bushwhacking, Primitive Management Areas, abandoned
portages, and blank spots on the map very appealing
- we have no sympathy for motorized recreation in the BWCA.
- However, we do not subscribe to the "Canada or bust" philosophy
which drives so many visitors to seek the shortest, quickest route
to a Crown Customs station. (And which makes the Moose Lake the
most popular entry point year after year). If you think you have
to go to Canada for a wilderness experience, you don't know what
you're missing in your mad rush north.
- We try to practice leave-no-trace travel and try to respect
the wilderness, its visitors, and its residents
- we keep a clean and quiet camp
- we don't dive off shoreline rocks or shoot rapids
- we do hang our food every night
- we cook with gas and do not carry, or have need of, an axe
- we treat or filter our water
- we expect bad weather
Do we know what we're talking about
You can be the judge of that. In some 20 years of BWCA travel:
- we've never rolled or swamped a boat; never wrecked a canoe
- we've never been sickened by bad food or water; never sustained
injuries from accidents arising from foolish or ill-advised behavior.
- we took a nine-year-old first-timer on a trip where it rained
hard every day, and she enjoyed it.
- only one of our group has ever experienced bear problems, and
that was in a US Forest Service campground, the night before departure.
- we've seen a great variety of wildlife; eagles diving for fish,
otter families at play; we've enjoyed a number of wolf howl choruses
in the night, and had the rare opportunity to watch a pack of
wolves chasing a bull moose.
- we've come to know the plants that surround our campsites, portage
trails, and travel routes
- and, finally, we've always had a good time. We think you will,
Last updated on
11 April, 2004