Canoeing in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota

Canoeing and camping in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota

Every other May,  a group of students  and faculty travel to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) of Minnesota for a week long self-contained canoe trip.  The students gather gear and meet for orientation activities in preparation for the trip.   The first several days there are spent in voluntary service at the base camp in Ely, Minnesota, at Wilderness Wind.  Students help the non-profit organization prepare for the summer season of canoeing groups.   Prior to going out on the water, students  study about the area (history, people animals, plants etc.) and practice canoeing, canoe rescues, reading a compass, using a pack, tying ropes and other useful skills.  Final preparation includes reviewing the route as well as choosing and packing food for the week.

This year (2013) was the ninth year for the adventure and it was like no other…. the ice was not off the lakes on the scheduled departure date.  We delayed the trip by one day and then put in the river where the water was flowing.  After canoeing for about half of a day we saw ice blocking our path, so we set up camp for a day.  Although we had to alter our route, we had an amazing outdoor experience as we observed the ice melting off the lakes….a sight few have witnessed.    We were able to canoe several days and still visit some of the indian pictographs and Warrior Hill.  This trip, led by Goshen College associate professor, Val Hershberger and Gretchen Nyce, Goshen alumus was a wonderful experience the students and leaders will never forget.  Students took photographs, wrote poetry, short stories and created art while on the trip.

To read a student blog from this trip go to: and look in the blog archive for May, 2013.  This blog is titled “Camping and Recreation”.