"Anyone can have one kid. But going from one kid to two is like going from owning a dog to running a zoo." - P. J. O'Rourke

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why I Love the Boundary Waters

In just two short weeks, my girls and I and four other women/girls will be embarking on our trip into the Boundary Waters.  For you non-Minnesotan types who don't know what that means, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is exactly what the name says.  It's an area of Minnesota on the Canadian border that is set aside as a wilderness area.  To get into the BWCA you must boat, specifically canoe or kayak as only a few of the large lakes at the edge of the BWCA allow motor boats.  So, you canoe in, portage between lakes and camp (as in, tent camp with no running water, electricity, or bathroom) and relax and enjoy God's beautiful amazing creation.  I love it!  There is nothing pulling at your time and attention, just life.  Eating, sleeping, working, praying, etc.  It's wonderful.

I was reading my Crunchy Cons book yesterday and I came across this quote that pretty much sums it up.  Rod Dreher interviewed a man named Eric Brende for the book.  Eric had voluntarily moved his family into a sort of Amish community to get away from the "modern" life.  What he had to say about that time really  resonated with how I feel about my trip into the BWCA.

"This is living, breathing three dimensional reality all the time.  You don't get to turn on TV and watch any kind of pseudoreality.  You don't talk on the telephone.  Everything is face-to-face.   The things that you get you get only because you've used your body, and performed some physical exertion.  It was like shifting from two dimensions to three."
"Out there, it was completely different from what I call voluntary quadriplegia of sitting all day in front of a computer terminal," he said.  "You're using your body the whole time, interacting with your neighbors, enjoying the beauty of nature in all its seasonal variations.  You're using your mind in various capacities.  There are various skills involved.  In fact, the hardest thing about it was the mental challenge, picking up new forms of knowledge and skills that we completely lack coming from the city."
Even Mr. Dreher, who lived in the country for a few months came away with this to say.

There was no buzzing in my head anymore.  I found I could write long letters, and sit for lengthy stretches reading novels.  Prayer became easier.  I started living by the rhythm of the day, awakening at daylight, and going to sleep not long after the sun went down.. I began to feel, well, normal.   I discovered how to be alone with my thoughts, and in turn how to think in a sustained way.
Those two quote pretty much sum up why I love going into the BWCA.  In everyday life here at home, I barely have time to put two thoughts together, let alone ponder deeper truths.  What's for dinner and who needs to go where pretty much occupy all my gray matter.  Honest truth!

I also so enjoy the pushing my body to the limit.  God gave us these absolutely amazing bodies that we hardly even use.  I had no idea what I was capable of until I got on a lake with waves breaking over the side of the canoe.  If you stopped paddling, even for a couple seconds, you would start going backward.  The pain that my muscles felt made me want to cry, but the necessity to keep going if we were to make camp kept me paddling anyway.  I LOVED IT!  Why?  Because we did make it to our camp.  My girls were sitting in the bottom of the canoes praying the whole time.  How cool is that?  When you're up against the forces of nature (which are WAY stronger than I am), prayer becomes a necessity, not a luxury.

Anyway, I know this type of adventure isn't for everyone, but I think too many people are afraid to even try it.  They see only the work and hardship involved (and there is a lot of work and some hardship) and give no thought to the benefits and blessings from such a trip.  Oh, and just wait until you see the pictures from our trip.  You'll all want to sign up for next years excursion :-)


  1. I want to go, it sounds like so much fun. I am so excited for when my kids are old enough to take that sort of trip. We are just doing day trips this summer while the boys are little.

  2. Crystal, come on down when your girls are a little older. We'd love to have you with :-)


Thanks for visiting. We would love to hear from you!