Minnesota and the Boundary Waters, USA – August 2011

After many months on the road, August was a month to regroup, chase deadlines and catch up on a growing backlog of unwritten stories. Saint Paul, Minnesota, provided the ideal base from which to work and simultaneously enjoy the superb summer weather and legendary hospitality of the Midwest.

After three weeks burning the midnight oil and writing like a demon, I felt that I had my head above water once more, so I took the last week off  to celebrate and headed with family to the Boundary Waters: one of my favourite place in all of America.

Located in northeastern Minnesota and spanning the international border into Ontario, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) comprises a million acres of wilderness with over 1,000 pristine lakes and streams, as well as more than 1,500 miles of canoe routes to entertain adventurous visitors.

The BWCA (www.bwca.cc) offers nature lovers a genuine wilderness experience without motors, electricity, telephone connectivity or road access to the inner lakes. It is considered by many to be the most beautiful wilderness area in North America and this brazen claim was bolstered when National Geographic named it on its prestigious list of Fifty Destinations of a Lifetime. In other words, a multi-day canoe trip through the wilds of northern Minnesota is an adventure you don’t want to miss out on.

We paddled through a maze of picturesque interlinking lakes and camped next to the water in this incredible wilderness area, as we traced a long elliptical route from Snowbank Lake northeast to Knife Lake on the Canadian border before curving back south to reach our take-out point a week later. En route we appreciated fiery sunsets, sighted moose, marmots and bald eagles, not to mention plenty of evidence of bears.  It was an epic aquatic journey through a tranquil wilderness of true solitude and the perfect place to kick back, unwind and drink in the natural beauty all around us.

Change is rapidly approaching as August draws to a close.  Early next month Katherine heads to northern Kenya on a six week consultancy contract to work on drinking water systems for the refugee camps in the drought ravaged horn of Africa, while I fly directly to South Africa to find us a new home, car and jobs. After five months of near-continuous travel, it’s time to hang up our boots and settle into the next exciting chapter of our life together in Cape Town. No doubt exciting times lie just around the corner…