Another really cool place I’d like to highlight is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, also known as Quetico from the Canadian side.
You know how Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes? Well, I’d bet that at least a thousand of them lie within this MASSIVE 1.1-million acre wilderness preserve, straddling the US-Canada border in the northeastern tip of Minnesota. It is literally one of the most beautiful places in the world, according to many professional magazines that apparently know what they’re talking about. I tend to agree. Except for the rare occasion when you’re paddling into a strong headwind ALL the way down Moose Lake or when you’re stuck in the middle of Lake Thomas in a metal canoe during a lightning storm… this place is pretty damn gorgeous.
The utter serenity plays a big part in it. Although hundreds, even thousands of people can be out there during peak season, you can still paddle for a whole day without meeting a soul. It’s just you and whoever you bring with you, the only noises coming from the lazy dip of your paddle into the still, crystalline waters, or the sad crooning of a loon, or the gentle rustling of pines in the wind. The view of the sunset from whatever windswept little point serves as your campsite makes you want to just sit down and cry, because you didn’t know such beauty could exist. None of those pictures up there come close to doing this place justice. Spending a week out there is an other-worldly experience.
And did I mention the fishing? DAYUM. This place is, like, world famous for the ease of claiming something as your own from out of the seemingly endless supply of “big ones.” The first time I was out here, I was eleven. I didn’t really fish; I’d just brought my cheap pole for kicks and giggles. Anyways, that line is in the water for not ten minutes when I suddenly find myself hauling in a 30-inch Northern Pike. That’s literally half the size I was. Being a foolish child, I threw it back. But if I can catch something like that, imagine what a harvest an experienced angler can reap.
My point is, whatever your reason, every single person on this continent needs to go to Boundary Waters sometime before they die. Whether for the nature, the paddling, the peace, or the fishing, I don’t care. It’s a life-changing experience, no matter what you go for.