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  • Writer's pictureEmily Ford

In the BWCA 19 days in

I can't quite believe that we have skied over 120 miles.

So far here is what I've learned:

The wild is wild:

My first week was full of navigating open water on rivers, bushwhacking in search of portages and wind. So much wind. The cold is relentless, especially when you are wet from sweating. But in the midst of this, the wild beautiful.

Being alone is hard:

My second week is when I really realized that I am quite alone in the wilderness. We have seen a handful of ravens, one fisher and one chickidee. Lots of other animal prints, but no sight. I have wanted to bail multiple times just to be home with my family, but every time that thought popped up, I knew there was a reason for me to stay. Further on in this journey I now feel more like myself. More centered. I know it's good for me to be out here for this time.

There are gifts in the wild:

This third week has opened my eyes to realize all of the gifts I am given every day on the trail. They show up in many forms: no slush in a bay, a fully frozen river, no wind and heaps of sunlight, wind at night to help crust the snow, a broken portage, or even a random musher who shares their knowledge. Some days I even take finding a portage as a gift.

A couple weeks left and then I'm homebound. I know it'll be great to not sleep in a damp sleeping bag in sub zero temps, but I think I'm leaving a bit of my heart in the Boundary Waters every day that I'm out here and I will miss it deeply.


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