Entry 6: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Welcome back everybody! It’s week 6 in my little project and I’m happy to say I’m not sick of it yet and hopefully none of you are either. This weeks theme is The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. I’m not talking about people, the movie, or even Clint Eastwood. While all those topics could be scrutinized, I’ve chosen to apply this theme to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area! (Or BWCA for short) As some of you may know, I’ve been inquiring about a BWCA trip this summer so, thanks to some encouragement from Luis Lozano, I’ve decided to pick my previous trip apart. So here it goes!

The good parts about a BWCA trip are varied and many. By your first morning there, any question about whether or not you should go are whisked away by the waters you’ve gone through and the winds at your back (though they aren’t always at your back). You wake up after a hard day of canoeing feeling refreshed and ready to tackle any and all challenges the day may present you with. The scorching heat is quickly dispatched by a quick jump into the oh so chilly, but oh so good, waters. On the best day it feels as though you’re in a climate controlled room that gives you the perfect breeze at the perfect time. After a full day of canoeing, or even at lunch time, there’s nothing better than a cold drink of water, fresh from the lake, and a strip of beef jerky or a cinnamon raisin bagel smothered with peanut butter. Makes it seem like a 4 star restaurant. Oh and the views! Some trails bring you so high it seems as though you can see God’s wilderness as intended for miles. Other ones bring you along the bottom of massive cliffs bordering the lakes, and yes, you can jump off of these massive cliffs if you’ve got the guts (I didn’t last time, we’ll see about this time). But, as much praise as I could give this trip, it’s time to move on to the bad.

I can sum up the bad in three words: insects and sunburn. First of all I would say the mosquitoes were the worst but anyone who has seen me during the summer knows that I swell up like a balloon when even one mosquito feasts on my blood. You don’t see too many on the lakes but when you’re running from lake to lake it’s like you’re advertising for an all you can eat buffet. Due to the thin nature of the clothing you wear, or lack of clothing,  pretty much every centimeter of skin is up for grabs so bring plenty of anti itch creams and bug spray. Now onto the sunburn, the painful painful sunburn. I must have really sensitive skin because the sun hurt me worse than anyone else too. My thighs, shoulders, ears and nose looked like a tomato by the time I got back and you could practically write on the sheets of skin that peeled off me when it finally healed. The line between my compression shorts covered leg and the bare flesh looked like it had been painted on with a red marker.

Now! Finally, the ugly. First off there are obviously no showers but being in the water multiple times a day helps to fend off any smells that may creep up on you. In the BWCA, cleanliness isn’t exactly a priority. Neither is clothing. By the second day we were all down to sunglasses, shoes, and compression shorts. Not exactly the best of views for 6 guys but bearable, given the circumstances. Another undesirable consequence is having your leg rubbed by Luis Lozano because you can’t bring yourself to rub the aloe vera into your sunburn. All I could think was don’t make eye contact. Finally, having to carry out absolutely everything that you carried in can be kind of annoying, especially when the worm container busts open in the food barrel. Empty plastic, leftover food, and broken bait containers covering your good food can be kind of annoying but hey, it’s all just another part of the experience.

Well I’ve covered the BWCA as best I could over text and in such short form that I think that about wraps it up. If ya wanna know anything else about it feel free to ask, comment, or get a hold of me however you’d like. While there were times where I wondered what in the world I was doing out in the middle of nowhere with no modern conveniences, those times were overshadowed by the amount of fun that was had and the bonds that were strengthened between 6 guys out and about in God’s green earth. Once we were done with our trip I never regretted journeying up north and knew that I just HAD to make that trip again some day. Hopefully that day comes this summer.

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