Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fifteen hats

As I watched the changing headgear on our trip to Voyageurs National Park, I had to ask how many hats everyone had brought. The total was fifteen. Plus the Irish Pirate purchased another one at the Kettle Falls Hotel bar (the famous 'Tiltin' Hilton'). When you're up on the Canadian border at the end of September you have to be prepared for everything from 80F heat to snow. Rain hats, wide brimmed sun hats, stocking caps, baseball caps......I think people went a bit overboard myself. As I mentioned in a previous post, my Filson duck hunters hat is perfect for all those conditions. Granted, no one would touch it due to its rugged, weatherbeaten, 'broken in' patina but its great nonetheless.

The park itself is a gem. You can go from big water to sheltered bays in less than a mile. We did have some wind but were able to hop from lee shore to lee shore and not have to simply put our heads down and paddle for a couple hours as often is the case with a windy day on Gitchee Gumee. Our route often looked like the course of the steel ball in the pinball machine but that was part of the fun. As I mentioned this is a multiple use park but most of the outlying visitors centers closed for the season Sunday. We only saw one houseboat underway and probably a handful of fishermen. You usually got a wave and most boats would slow down when they saw us. As we all know, this is not necessarily good because when the boat comes down off plane you get the giant bow wave but its nice to share the water with courteous fellow boaters.

If you want to avoid the power boats there are plenty of nooks and crannies to slide into and there are rocks the size of Volkswagons that most prudent power boaters want no part of. There are a number of designated campsites, many of which have bear boxes and picnic tables as well as open air pit toilets. This is true boreal forest with lots of conifers interspersed with some maple and aspen. The fall colors were peaking and the weather was unseasonably warm, although we did get some rain including a thunderstorm that seemed to last all night. I'd like to hit this park in the spring before fishing opener or maybe even mid October. It was pretty much deserted this weekend and I would imagine you would have the park to yourself if you did the early spring or late fall trip. Its been five years since I've been there but it won't be another five until I get back.


Kristen said...

Magic! And I'm a Tilly Hat person myself ;)

Ron said...

Welcome back!! Sounds like all had a good time. Looking forward to the debriefing at Grumpys.

DaveO said...

The remarkable thing was that this was the first trip this year with no Tilley's! When its hot it seems half the crew has em. If you have the two strings placed right its impossible to blow it off.

Kristen said...

I just had to send my dad another - got tipped off as he was up for'ad and the genoa smacked him. I keep telling him he's gotta use those two straps!

Adam Bolonsky Dot Com said...

Hi DaveO,
I've had good luck using Google Earth to mark put-ins, hazard areas, bailouts, etc. here on the East Coast.

Would you have anything similar for Voyageurs?


DaveO said...

Interesting concept. I'm not that conversant with Google Earth, other than viewing, but it would be fairly simple. We used MacKenzie maps http://www.bwcamaps.com/ which were accurate and useful with excellent descriptions of campsite facilities, put ins, and UTM coordinates. Still, I will dig into the Google Earth thing. Get in touch if you're considering a trip.

Adam Bolonsky Dot Com said...

thanks for the heads up on MacKenzie maps.

If you want to give Google Earth a shot, here a sample of a kayaking map I wrote for Block Island, Rhode Island:


The maps are a little time-consuming to write if your aim is to be informative, and they require small bits of HTML code here and there. Bonce you get the hang of writing them, the process is easy.

BTW, if you frown on posting links within comments on your blog, let me know!