Top 10 from Our Trip to Minnesota (a chronological review)
1. Mo’s parents’ warm Minneapolis welcome. Not only did they prepare a quesadilla buffet spread that would rival some Mission taquerias, but following our dinner they also sent us on our way with fresh-baked cookies for the road and homemade trail mix for the canoe.
2. Duluth! Who knew it was such a cozy, charming city? It was a little confusing, I admit, to see “the ocean” before you and have to remind yourself that it was actually a fresh water lake. But we forgot all about that problem once we settled into a cute littler bar where this adorable hipster twosome was covering country and folk songs and where the bartender served us apricot IPA.
3. Learning everything we could about the great state of Minnesota, down to the fact that the official state muffin is “Blueberry.” As a former resident, Mo felt slightly disgruntled by this discovery never having been presented with the opportunity to vote on such a matter. He would like it to be noted that his vote would have gone the way of Chocolate Chip.
4. Beavers! What a fun surprise to find ourselves in the company of these curious little creatures. Paddling around the lakes, we stopped every so often to examine a new dam, each one with a distinctive arrangement of mud and sticks. In a true National Geographic moment, we watched as a beaver and a loon paddled by our campsite together, an interspecies watersport team on the go. Not surprisingly, The Boundary Waters was voted a Place of a Lifetime by National Geographic.
5. Marisa’s campsite service was nothing short of decadent. An early riser, she would hop out of our tent each morning, get her French press going, and serve Mo and me coffees and breakfast while we remained snuggled in our respective sleeping bags. The routine was that I’d unzip the tent window so we could watch Marisa pour, stir, slice and mix, all with a early morning view of a lake in the backdrop. We called this part of the day “the Minneshowta.”
6. Steering the canoe with finesse. Some people are skilled drivers and others talented artists. Still others are outstanding orators. And me? Well, I’m really good at steering canoes.
7. The view of the Boundary Waters from a canoe was truly something to behold. Paddling around small islands, through beds of Lilly pads, under tree branches and across glistening lakes was simply stunning. In fact, it was so beautiful that I forgot to be upset that it was raining for a lot of the trip. Even the rain was pretty...
8. Mo’s favorite dirty joke. Often, Mo would hold onto the canoe, push off the shore and jump into the boat to give us some starting power. Meanwhile, Marisa and I would be paddling our little hearts out. Since we couldn’t turn around to confirm he had actually made it into the boat, one of us would inevitably yell, “Mo? Are you in?” And his response would always be: “Ladies, no man ever wants to be asked that question.” Hahahaha...
9. Newfound nationalism. It’s true! This trip basically turned the three of us into flag waving torch carriers for the good ole US of A. Anything that George W. did to throw dirt on my American pride fire was undone the minute I saw a bald eagle swoop down from his nest to successfully dive for a fresh water fish.
10.Planning our Minnesota party. Yep, we're throwing a Minnesota party! We even have a planning committee consisting of real locals and people who lived there for at least a few years. So far, all we know is that we're going to play a lot of Prince and Har Mar Superstar..and say "Oh yeah, you betcha" in response to most questions. Perhaps Marisa's Native American bikini will be completed by then?
Check out the Boundary Waters! And if you ever want to take a canoe trip up there, I recommend the outfitter we used, based in Tofte. Not only did they hook us up with a great canoe, but they also rented us a tent, tarp, cooking gear, packs and more.