Guiding trips always has its challenges. Sometimes it’s organizing the group or finding the right route or making sure everything during the trip works out. I can honestly say leading trips through UCMC (University of Cincinnati Mountaineering Club), the biggest issue I usually run into is people signing up for trips they aren’t prepared for. Luckily, on this trip, that wasn’t the case.
We left Cincinnati late on a Tuesday evening with the intent to drive overnight 15 hours to Northern Minnesota and enter the Boundary Waters Wilderness at the furthest point along the Gunflint Trail via our outfitter, Voyagers Canoeing, we would spend 4 days on the water in the wilderness.
Right off the bat getting there I was worried about my plan. My last big UCMC trip had ended in a change of plans (but a wonderful trip), not getting to complete our route at Crater Lake due to poor weather. This trip I had the same worry, the weather in Cincinnati leaving was in the 80s and up in Minnesota it was in the low 40s with snow forecast overnight the first evening. That swing in temperatures was enough to make me shiver a bit those first few hours... I tried to stress how cold it would be, and feel having not acclimated to that weather yet and I think everyone got the point but not one of us would say that we wouldn’t have brought something extra if we could have after the journey.
Once we arrived and rearranged our bags, we got our boats and paddles then set to loading up and launching down the Gull River. Within minutes, someone had already fallen in the water trying to get in their canoe, my worst fear. The water and air temperature were a perfect recipe for hypothermia, luckily, we were still right by the outfitter and warm dry clothes.