Friday, October 3, 2008

Campsite of the year

Since the chance of me spending any more time in a tent this year is limited I am prepared to award the first annual Campsite of the Year award. This years award goes to Candle Rock (not its real name!) in the Crane Lake region of Voyageurs National Park.

Several criteria are considered when the various campsites are considered. A key one is convenience. Ease of landing and unloading a kayak, a tent pad, the presence of a picnic table, bear box, and toilet facilities are important. Like real estate, location, location, location is important also. It needs to be in a spot that can be sheltered from the prevailing winds yet is windy enough to make it miserable for flying insects, has shade trees that can be used to rig the 'bat cave', and features a nice sunset view. Sunrises are lost on the majority of the nocturnal creatures I paddle with. Lastly it needs to have remarkable scenic beauty.

Candle Rock edged out the top secret Rocky Island wilderness site in the Apostles. Although the sunset view of Devils Island was unbelievable, the creature comforts were lacking and I was forced to deduct points. The whole bear bag thing is a pain in the butt and heading into the woods with a roll of toilet paper and a small shovel is not the most gratifying trip a person can take in the morning. I'm a guy who travels with a folding chair and a dutch oven in his boat; while I'll certainly do a wilderness site its not the first choice. Candle Rock on the other hand had two picnic tables, an open air outhouse, double bear boxes, and nice white pines for shade. It was also on a peninsula which meant that if the sun/wind situation on one side wasn't good, folks could just stroll the 40 yards to the other side for a different environment. It had a nice landing spot, albeit rocky, where the boats could easily be lifted onto a grassy area and unloaded. The camp was perched on top of a gigantic rock outcropping and looked out over a small bay and then up into the lake. The leaves were changing color, mixed with the dark greens of the boreal forest and the sunset was lovely. The majority female component of our trip brought candles and the wind cooperated for a lovely candle lit night on the rock. The weather was 'changeable' to use the euphemistic term for fall in the border country but it was plenty good as was our gear to deal with the changeability. But enough writing; a picture(s) as they say is worth a thousand words. Enjoy this tiny glimpse of Voyageurs.

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