Last year, I led a six-person paddle trip into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota. I worked with Voyageur North Outfitters in Ely to come up with a route with fairly easy portages but access to beautiful scenery and wildlife.  

Our group included  Ron Cattelan, Peter Packer, Nancy Bucek, Sandy Thorpe, Sue Franz and me. All the men, myself included, were in their 70s. We rented 40-pound Kevlar canoes, paddles, life jackets and bear-resistant food barrels.  

We chose to go in August when the black flies and mosquitoes are gone and the weather is usually better. We checked on the availability of permits for the date we planned to enter at Lake One. This needs to be done well in advance as campsites fill up early. 

We drove up to the lodge on Monday and they reviewed with us our paddle trip on waterproof BWCAW maps showing the locations of the portages, nice campsites and great areas to see wildlife. After a good sleep in their cabins, they loaded the canoes and gear on their trailer and shuttled us to the Lake One entry point.

The entirety of Don Howell's account of his group's BWCAW trip appears in the April 2014 print edition of Silent Sports. To order a copy, call 888/706-4045. To not miss a future issue, subscribe online here.