Boundary Waters Nostalgia


Tuscarora Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of Minnesota.

Like Saganaga Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area was author Sigurd Olson’s quintessential wilderness lake, Tuscarora Lake is mine. The only problem is, I hadn’t been there in over thirty years.

I wanted to get back to it while I still could, so this fall Russ and I headed out on what the guidebooks say is one of the most rugged routes in the boundary waters.

For those not familiar, the boundary waters is a place in northern Minnesota without roads or any conveniences other than pit toilets and fire grates. A land of interconnected lakes — the only way around is by canoe and by foot.

DSC04971I might write a magazine story about the trip, so I can’t describe it much here. Suffice it to say, the canoe portages were much harder than when I did them in college with six other people.

Tuscarora was much as I remembered and I thoroughly enjoyed spending more time there. The weather cooperated with the first part of the trip, the second part, not so much.

The experience was a good test of our relationship. I am happy to say that we survived both physically and emotionally. We worked together well under difficult circumstances and nobody got hurt.

I hope these photos give you a good feel for the place. If you ever want to match our adventurousness, enter at either at Entry Point #51 or #52 off the Gunflint Trail.

Happy fall everyone!


Brandt Lake in the moonlight.

7 thoughts on “Boundary Waters Nostalgia

  1. I am so glad you share your adventures. I wish I had discovered the hiking and canoeing opportunities of Minnesota when I was MUCH younger.

    • Gail, there are more comfortable ways to see the boundary waters than the one described here. Some of the lakes are large enough that you could easily spend a week just canoeing around on them and camping — no portages required! Or you can take day trips into it, too, hiking or canoeing. With all that gardening work you do, I bet you’d have no problem.

  2. Thanks for sharing what you can of your adventure! Travel always tests a relationship and one like this would certainly make or break it. Husband and I took a short day trip down a calm river in a canoe years ago and loved it. But I can imagine having to hand portages. Happy fall to you! I think we skipped fall here and went right to winter as a blue norther came in and dropped the temps to the 50s – winter for us. Hopefully it will warm up soon.

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