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  • Camp Coffee || Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota

    (Samuel, my paddling partner)

    The Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) is over one million acres of pristine, undisturbed wilderness located in northern Minnesota. Its mirrored reflection across the Canadian border is Quetico Provincial Park, which also contains more than one million acres. The landscape is comprised of rocky shores, dense northern forests and thousands of clear lakes, rivers and streams. Wildlife abounds, from black bears to eagles to otters and deer, and the waterways are teaming with northern pike, walleye, lake trout and small mouth bass. It is a beautiful place, silent and strong.


    (Chopping firewood at the campsite)                     (One of Samuel's northern pike)

    I have three boys: Samuel (10), Tate (7) and August (4). This past month, I brought Samuel with me to the Boundary Waters. For many in Minnesota, a Boundary Waters expedition is a right of passage of sorts; I know I held it that way for him.

    (Shore fishing)

    Samuel learned a lot. He learned portages are measured with rods and double portages with leg cramps. He learned walleye can be as elusive as a boneless pike filet. He learned fire needs oxygen like dehydrated food needs water. He learned rocks don’t let go of lures and lures let go of fish. He learned beauty, strength, perseverance, confidence, perspective, planning and teamwork. Samuel thrived, and I was a very proud dad!

    (Father & son)

    We entered the BWCA at the South Kiwishiwi (pronounced “Kiss-is-not-better-than-Prince”) river just outside of Ely. We portaged and canoed and canoed and portaged, and set up camp at the point that breaks open to Gabbro lake. The weather was wet.  We were wet, and the water was wet too. It was this way until our final night, when the sky broke open and boasted its depth and measure of stars and other extra-terrestrial chunks.

    (Dusk at the campsite)

    Amidst the challenges and overall wetness, the adults in our group had our comfort of choice: coffee. You can dehydrate food, compress sack just about everything.  You can even go 4 days without changing your clothes and chew spruce gum instead of brushing your teeth, but you don’t need to go camping without great coffee.

    (Friend Todd, caught a 5# Smallie on the last day) 

    Here is what we used: Aeropress, Porlex mini mill, Sanborn Canoe paddle spoon, MSR WindBurner stove, an assortment of Sanborn and Dogwood enamel mugs and Dogwood’s Kenya Kii. These items are all super camp friendly! The Porlex mini mill fits in the Aeropress. You can use the Sanborn paddle spoon to stir the Aeropress and as your backup should your canoe paddle break ;) All are rugged and can take abuse.  The MSR WindBurner is worth it’s weight in gold - easy lighting, fast boil, cool handling, efficient fuel use and plenty of inner storage to pack into. (The MSR also double functioned as the go-to for the dehydrated meals.)  We followed Dogwood’s Aeropress recipe and concentrated the brew to stretch out the volume per brew for the 3 adults. 

    (Our coffee gear)

    All in all, an amazing cup of coffee is quite simple and extremely rewarding. It is a grounding pause that fuels reflection and a warming comfort that gives strength to start the day.   I mean you already have the morning with a campfire going amidst freakin’ gorgeous wilderness. Go ahead, add that great cup of coffee.

    (Early morning fog at the campsite)

    Stay tuned as later this fall we will be rolling out our Sanborn Canoe and Dogwood Coffee collaborative camp coffee kit...

  • Comments on this post (1 comment)

    • JB says...

      Wow! That looks like a wonderful trip. It’s something I dream of doing with my son. Thanks for the photos and story.

      September 23, 2015

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