Boundary Water’s Canoe Area (BWCA)
Drawn to Northern Minnesota,
Where waters and skies blend to blue.
“Land of Lakes”, named the Dakota,
A land that French Voyagers knew.
In birch boats, as they paddled through
Hunting beaver, riding the waves
Exploring trails with native braves,
Those pioneers that led the way,
In a lifestyle that everyone craves,
Outdoors in the BWCA.
Now, hundreds are drawn to those lakes,
To Ely, the end of the road.
Pack your gear, whatever it takes.
Duluth packs can carry the load,
As food for a week can be stowed,
In canoes using ropes and ties,
Carried under beautiful skies,
Float and fish, you travel all day,
Camp, make fire, as fish dinner fries,
Outdoors in the BWCA
After dark on a starlit night,
With a campfire blazing away
Northern Lights give cosmic delight,
When the breathtaking Milky Way
Creates loss for the words to say.
There’s the haunting cry of the Loon.
Then Timberwolf adds in his tune,
While Crickets and Secedes play.
It seems that it ends way too soon,
Outdoors in the BWCA.
Don’t forget lakes so crystal clear,
The fishing, and spotting of Deer,
When wilderness takes you away,
Can’t wait to come back here next year
Outdoors to the BWCA.
|Author Notes This Poem derives from my love of the BWCA.
The Boundary Water’s Canoe Area (BWCA) is named that because it is located on the boundary between Canada and the United States. It is a vast area of many lakes that are connected by pathways known as Portages, where you carry your canoe and backpacks over them to the next destination. The French Voyagers used these trails to carry them all over the North Central United States and Canada in the 16 and 1700’sAs a young man I went up there often on one week or two week vacations. Some times portaged 20 to 30 lakes in a trip. You needed a good waterproof map, a compass, food and gear, and a strong back. Usually, at the start a pack would weigh about 100 pounds. Usually there was just two of us. One would carry a backpack, the canoe with paddles and fishing gear stuffed inside. The other would carry one pack in front, the other on the back, and anything else loose. Portages were marked in rods, and would be anything from 10 to 200 rods long.
Ely is a town in the central part of northern Minnesota that is one of two main entry points into the BWCA. The other is along the eastern North Shore Area of Lake Superior out of Grand Marais, along the Gunflint Trail. I prefer the Ely area, but have done both.
Duluth pack is a heavy duty back pack made by the famous Duluth Company of Duluth, Minnesota. It is made of heavy canvas with strong leather straps. Usually bought by size, The are Number 2, 3, 4, and 5 sizes that get larger as the number increases. For portaging #3, and #4 are the best. They last forever, and are fairly waterproof.
DOUBLE REFRAIN BALLADE SUPREME: A Ballade Supreme with an extra refrain. All lines must be the same metrical length (isosyllabic/same syllable count). This one uses an 8-syllable count per line. It is American in origin. There are 35 lines in this form, 10 lines to a verse, plus the extra refrain of 5 lines .Rhyme Scheme: ababbCcdcD, ababbCcdcD, ababbCcdcD, cCdcD.
This poem was inspired because of it’s format, which I discovered when I reviewed Gungalo’s poem My Being remains Afire. Her poem was a Romance. I chose Nature for mine.
The photograph of the campfire is one of my own.