To say that the weather has been awful since our arrival would be an understatement - it's basically been Paris all over again, with lots of rain and temps in the 60's. They were finally forecasting sunshine for Wednesday though, so C & I decided to take advantage of the respite in the weather and go camping. C is a big fan of bivouac
camping, and I'd promised to take him up to the Boundary Water Canoe Area
in Northern MN. Some poor planning on my part meant that we ended up having to go to Voyageurs National Park
instead, but it ended up being a good choice. The park had several free tent sites located on small islands, all with tent pads, fire rings, food lockers & outdoor toilets (boy was I relieved).
The cloudy weather cleared up just as we arrived and we spent the afternoon setting up the tent, exploring the island and basking in the glorious sun. Even though I'm more of a city girl, I have to admit that it *was* really nice just to be out in the middle of nowhere, listening to the birds signing and the waves crashing on the shore.
And then C built a campfire and we had a gourmet dinner of Mac & Cheese, fire-grilled corn and roasted marshmallows.
We watched the sunset and then went back to the tent. And here's the part where I decide I like camping right up until the sun sets.
Cuz I'm telling you, I've never heard such creepy noises in my life. We were in the middle of bear country, and the ranger took great pleasure in reminding us to lock up our food at night, because the bears swim from island to island in search of their dinner. So every rustle of leaves or branches cracking made me jump 10 feet. And just as we were about to sleep, something HUGE came crashing out of the forest right next to our tent. We heard it breathing a bit (meanwhile I'm freaking out "It's a bear!! It's a bear!! We're going to get eaten alive!!"), and then it went on down to the water for a drink. We sat frozen in place for several minutes. Luckily C remained calm and did his best to convince me it was just a dear coming for a midnight drink. It was about that then that I accepted his offer to put in a pair of earplugs - I figured if something was going to eat me, I'd rather not know it was coming.
But we survived the night and woke up to another fairly sunny day. The only problem (because there always has to be a problem) was that it was windy....and we had a little rowboat with no motor. And the wind was blowing strong in the exact opposite direction of where we wanted to go. Doh. C, bless him, gave it his best effort and rowed his little heart out, but it just wasn't enough and the waves kept pushing us farther and farther away from shore. I started having a small panic attack - the waves were pretty big, and I was worried about capsizing. (And okay, I admit, I was also worried about my blackberry and iphone getting wet). Twittering was helping me keep the crazy in control, but just barely.
And then our saviors came along, in the form of two very nice fishermen. They'd seen us struggling and had reeled in their lines to see if we needed help. I shouted a big YES, and they tossed us a rope and towed us back to shore. It took over 20 minutes, and I was ever-so-grateful to them, and to be back on dry land. So once again, it was Minnesota Nice to the rescue!