Sucker Lake, Boundary Waters Wilderness, MN – July 5, 2012
The sun just set when I pushed the Looksha into the water. I thought about spending another night at Canoe Country Outfitters, but I knew I needed to face the wild and go. Scars will settle if you let them.
I’d spent all day in Ely running errands, getting food, working on logistics, and putting off returning to the wild behind a thousand excuses.
I knew the truth.
I felt unsure of everything, unsure if I could carry the boat, unsure if the mosquitoes would drive me insane, unsure how I would ever survive eight miles on the Grand Portage. I was afraid to find out the answers, afraid I wouldn’t like them.
But you have to go, you have to find out. If the Boundary Waters are going to stop me, they will have to do it out there, out in the wild, out in the middle of a rapid or the Grand Portage. Not in the Ely library, not in the aisles of a grocery store, not at a restaurant’s table. No, I won’t make it easy. If they can stop me, it will be out there in the thick of it.
As darkness took over the night, I paddled. Voices of people on docks disappeared behind me. Fireworks left over from the 4th exploded and faded in the sky. Trees replaced cabins along the lakeshore.
The moon rose over the tree line and high into the sky. The world turned black and silver and I paddled back to the border, back to the voyageurs’ road, back to the wild.