Posts Tagged ‘Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness’

Inspiration Overload – Boundary Waters Adventure #23

June28VPaddleUp400Photo by Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman

Trip #23!  My sister, Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman, and I could never imagine 14 years ago that our first trip would inspire such an ongoing passion for wilderness canoeing.

OutPhotobyCarl400Photo by Carl of Rockwood Lodge and Outfitters
We always bunkhouse here before setting out – highly recommended!


Even after almost 200 days total in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, it is never any less of a thrill to be out on the water for hours on end, adventuring and seeing what there is to see.


You always pay a price to experience the Boundary Waters – muddy portages, bugs (WAY better though than last year’s horde), storms, cold (we wore shirts, windwall fleece, rain jackets, and fleece hats more than we would have wished), wind, rain. You have to be certain you have plenty of arm, plenty of leg.  But every effort pays off in huge dividends of peace, inspiration, relaxation, and just FUN.

VBananabreadmocha400Photo by Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman

Life is reduced to simple pleasures.  Such as Coffee Break! What could be better than my beloved mocha and a mini-loaf of homemade banana bread while sitting on the rock overlooking the lake after a morning of exploring in the canoe?


Photo by Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman

Of course we saw moose – 11 total, including three Moms with twins and one with a solo calf. Our record of seeing moose every trip in the BW holds!  We also saw otters with babies, eagles, beavers, loons, many, many gorgeous warblers, and so much more.


We were up at dawn and out of tent in our jammies to shoot the sunrise and mist from shore and one morning ventured out in the boat at dawn before I had coffee (a true sacrifice, but so worth it).  We also shot all day in the boat and had a daily photo challenge on shore (5 photos on themes such as texture, up close, threes, etc.).  I have over 500 photos of my own plus 300 from Nancy to sort through.  My mind is already overwhelmed with ideas for new textile work and paintings.

These are things I really looked at this trip (deja vu if you have read more than one of these trip reports or seen my artwork :)):

InspirBark400The texture of bark.

InspirGrasseshallows400Grasses in shallow water and the patterns of rock, sun, water.

InspirLilyPads400 Water lilies, lily pads, and the marks on the lily pads.

Rocks!  Nancy spent a lot of time piloting the boat backward and forward until I had just the right shot (And I did for her the same for her with the wily loon.)  This photo is from the top of the big rock that is slowly splitting in half. I told Nancy that it feels like my personal Stonehenge as I keep re-visiting it in person and in my artwork.


It’s always hard to give up sleeping in a tent next to water, power paddling, and having such a wonderful (laughter-filled) time with my sister.  As we say, “Until next year.”



07 2016

Boundary Waters #22 – Challenge, Inspiration, Fun!


A six-mile lake all to ourselves!

Just back from trip #22 wilderness canoeing in the Boundary Waters along the Canadian/Minnesota border with my sister, Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman.

As always, it was ten days of challenges, sublime beauty, and a whole lot of laughter (calling in the rare java bird is a story in itself as is the truly giant spider).  We paddled 50 miles through 13 lakes and portaged seven miles.  Our journals say rain every day, but we just remember the many sunny hours and the GREAT cloud formations

To start us out with a reminder of what the Boundary Waters is all about, here are two of the best portages going in:

Day3NJUnderCanoewebThis was such a bottomless sink hole that Nancy had to back up and start again several times to find enough rocks to make it through.  Not an easy task with a 17.5′ canoe over your head.


When not traveling and portaging, we went on day trips (always taking our water jugs to be filled along – the water was nice and cold) from our four different camps to check out beautiful sights:


We saw beavers, otters, eagles, ospreys, a loon swimming underwater, and so much more including five moose. Our record holds of seeing moose every year in the Boundary Waters. These sturdy twins waited patiently for over an hour as their Mom ate water lilies:


Nancy and I were both hugely inspired this trip to draw, create and document ephemeral sculptures,


and of course, take many photos. My Coolpix was highly erratic, so almost all these gorgeous photos are by Nancy. Thanks, Seester!

I was especially inspired this trip by the giant (and, obviously, very old) white pine trees:


Their bark patterns were repeated again and again in rock formations, in wave patterns, in rocks under water along the shoreline, and in cracks in the granite that covers all the BWCAW.

A storm or two never bothers us as we use it for Q.T.T. (Quality Tent Time).  The many “BW B&Ws” I created will definitely be influencing my larger artwork:


We both felt it was our best trip ever!  As I said one evening at twilight, “One day like this might last me for a year.”


We feel very lucky to once again journey in such a unique place that reminds us of the power and beauty of nature, the calmness that can be ours, and the joy of being sisters.


As always, we can’t wait to do it again.

PLEASE NOTE:  I’ll be sharing more inspiration from the Boundary Waters in my July/August Art Friends newsletter.  Drop me a note if you would like to subscribe – it’s free!



07 2015

24 Moose and a Trip of a Lifetime!

Trip 21 to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with my sister, Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman, was truly the trip of a lifetime.  We survived the worst (and I’m not kidding) bugs EVER as well as what can best be described as variable weather while experiencing the best of what Nature offers in wilderness areas and a whole lot of FUN!


This was one of the nicer portages in and this was before many days of rain.  On the way out long stretches of the portages were basically lakes with running water.


We were overjoyed to find our FAV campsite open – a miracle! This was a base-camp trip as Nancy had knee surgery 10 days before we left.


First order of biz after the tent is up is Nancy’s tarp and bug hut engineering. Note cleverness in putting tarp above bug hut.


Nancy made our custom bug hut and it saved the trip as our cooking/dining hall. This is hash browns with onions and cheese and scrambled eggs for breakfast during a lovely storm. We heard many other paddlers gave it up after a day or two this year because of the bug swarms and rain. I think that’s why it’s so much fun to go adventuring with Nancy; it’s always a great day to be in the BWCA in our world.


We spent many happy hours out canoeing and, despite a few days in camp due to high winds, paddled about 40 miles. The water was so high that no worries about grinders.


Oh, did I mention seeing 24 moose?  Moose and twins, moose with calf, moose charging other moose in the lily pad area, four moose at a time, etc., etc.  This was not just see a moose disappear into the bush; the cows were hungry and in hot competition for the best lily pads.  We would sit and eat dinner with a show of moose coming and going for an hour or more. And it wasn’t just the moose.  We saw otters playing, beaver, eagles, loons, and so much more. (Update:  How could I have forgotten?  I saw a bear.  It and I rapidly retreated in opposite directions from the latrine path!)


We had a five-photo challenge every day with different themes.  This is one of my photos for the theme, “Diagonal Lines.”  Birch is always beautiful.


I am still thinking about the inspiration provided by rocks with moss and engraved ice lines and,


as always, water, water, water. Trip #21 was an amazing ten days of great paddling, sisterly fun, and Nature in all her glory. We felt honored to be able to experience it all once again.



06 2014

Boundary Waters #20 – Always Inspiring!


My sister, Nancy, and I (on the left above) just completed our 20th trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness since 2002.  I think we look pretty good after being out nine days. It was, as always, fun, an adventure, AND inspiring.  Here are a few highlights:


Joining us for a couple of days were Nancy’s son Paul and the lovely Laura. Another boat to photograph!  Paul and Laura were married the Friday before we went out.  The invites were to celebrate their engagement at a picnic at a park; instead we celebrated their wedding in a beautiful ceremony! A fun couple we would love to have come along again.


You know I always love the big rocks hidden in the woods.  This one had two interesting features:  It is “calving” off pieces like slices of bread and it had bear scat nearby.


Love those beautiful foggy mornings.


Of course, the most inspiring part is being out adventuring in the canoe with my sister!

P.S.  Our record holds:  Saw four moose, two pairs of Moms and babies swimming.


07 2013

Pamela Allen Creates a Special Commissioned Artwork


Two Women in the Wilderness
Pamela Allen

I have long admired the artwork of the amazing Pamela Allen.  I asked her if she would be willing to make a very special artwork to commemorate the seventeen Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness canoeing/camping trips which my sister and I have taken. Yes!

I chose Pamela because of her affinity for artwork about women, the fact we have talked about the joys of having a sister, and the fact that she had been wilderness canoeing in the past.  My only request was that the artwork clearly show both of us and that we were out camping.

Pamela included items near and dear to our hearts:  Our Kevlar canoe glowing in the sun, the trees, the water, our little golden backpacking tent, our beloved paddles, Nancy’s hat with the ear flaps, and an homage to my love of creating found art at our campsites.

I have the artwork hanging in my formal dining room turned personal gallery. I stop by every time I walk by and appreciate another detail of the hand and machine stitching, the choice of fabric, and the wonderful imagery.

I would recommend Pamela most highly for a commission and thank her for this wonderful, beautiful, and meaningful artwork.




04 2012