About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

BWCA Memories

I was looking at some photos on Facebook of summers long ago in Minnesota. For seven summers I worked at a youth camp in Orr, MN. Almost all of those summers were spent working in the canoeing department.

When I was in camp I taught canoeing classes. My favorite part of camp was not being at camp at all. It was taking 3-4 day canoes trips into the Boundary Waters Canoe Areas of northern MN. A great week would consist of an evening of packing for a trip, 3-4 days of canoe camping, returning in the afternoon of the 4th day and showering, doing laundry and packing up to leave again the next morning. It didn't get much better than that.

Well, when you live canoe camping that much, its bound to have some affects on you. One of my funniest, and most embarrassing, moments was a rare night spent sleeping in the college men's dorm. I slept in the bottom bunk with David Black on the top bunk. Apparently I was dreaming of a canoe trip. Specifically of portaging - carrying our canoes and equipment down a trail from lake to lake. When I got to the end of the trail I panicked because I could not get the canoe off of my shoulders to lay it down by the shoreline. I shook and shook it and tried to lift it off my shoulders. The next thing I know I am being awakened by about 14 college friends who were both concerned and laughing. I was trying to lift the top bunk off my shoulders with Dave Black in it.

Now, Dave Black was by no means a little guy. He wasn't overweight, but just a big fit guy who must have weighed 200lbs +. The bunks were old military style metal bunks. The supports for the top bunks fit into the tops of the supports of the lower bunks. I was lifting on the bed so hard that I almost disconnected the top bunk.

Well, its obvious that word of this incident spread among the staff that summer and I was reminded of it until the day in late August when we headed home.


  1. Very funny, Patrick! Great blog by the way!

  2. I just love camp/canoe stories! Thanks for the laughs, and the trip down memory lane. :)

    Out of curiosity, do you know how many trips you've been on? (I assume you've gone on some trips since college days. Don't include those in your count.) I think I've been on 27. Your number must be quadruple or more!!


  3. I know a Tom Baudette(sp?) I meet in Orr a few years ago. He used to work at this same camp on the north side of Pelican Lake. We have a family cabin on Black Duck Lake, so I'm very familiar with the area.


  4. Including the trips I have done with my family, I have done 47 trips into the BWCA.

    I don't recall a Tom Baudette. Yes, the camp was on the north side of Pelican Lake. I believe it is all homes now? It was a beautiful site. I love the area. Its been a about 5 years since I've been there. Can't wait to get back for another canoe trip. Wow, a cabin on a lake must be nice!!