Crazy and Courageous

Picture of three people in a canoe. The person in the middle is fishing

When it comes to canoeing, a little of both

By Ann Papenfuss

I come from a long line of crazy or courageous people (the appropriate adjective of course, depends on your opinion). Aunt Genny and Uncle Jim definitely fall into both of these categories. Among their very craziest adventures, year ago, was a trip to the Boundary Waters with me and three of my cousins. That was two adults and four pre-teens and teenagers. If you do the math, you can quickly realize they were outnumbered. And believe it or not, it was their idea. No electricity. No phones. Four kids. One great big wilderness and only canoes for traveling. What could go wrong?

picture of portage sign from Caribou Lake in the BWCAThank goodness they didn’t focus on what could go wrong because that gave them the space to create an amazing family trip. From the tranquility of the remote wilderness, to the duffer’s duty of reading a book aloud to the paddlers or catching fish for dinner, to the chipmunk and ducks who befriended us, everything was magical. It felt like we were transported right into a Mark Twain adventure!

With the many water sports available to us here in Minnesota, canoeing holds a special place in my heart because it is perfectly designed for families. Unlike hiking, you can transport big packs with relative ease in a canoe. And the duffer option is great for anyone who needs a break from paddling.

As I get older, I know Aunt Genny and Uncle Jim won’t be around forever but the joy of that trip will always be in my heart. And that is the true gift of a canoe trip.


If you want to introduce your family to the outdoors, canoeing is a great way to start and Stone Harbor can help with BWCA Canoe Day Trips and canoe rentals.

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