Posts Tagged ‘Boundary Waters inspiration’

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

Wilderness Canoe Camping – Fun, Inspiration, Art

All photos of me by Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman.
This will be the cover photo of the book I will create for us about our journey.

Trip #18 to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was a blast!  My sister and I said, “Best trip ever!”  Of course, we say that every time. We had ten days of fun and adventure with lots of sisterly laughter while canoeing, portaging, and camping.  It’s back to the basics in its most beautiful form.


A new fav site.  This is the west side, but the “front” is equally rocky and open.

We went in with rain, but then hit hot and windy.  Windy made paddling interesting, but kept the bugs to an amazing low number (except on the portages which were wet, slippery, and, of course, buggy).  We camped for six of the nine nights on a six-mile lake and had it to ourselves except for one night.  We reveled in the peace and privacy. We canoed every day, no matter how big the water was, and racked up 45 miles of paddling.

Thinking about StickHenge 1

I made three found art pieces, but only have photos of two.  Through a weird set of circumstances we ended up with only one camera, my little pocket  NIkon Coolpix.  The battery died on Day 7. End of photos.

Stickhenge 2

I visited Stonehenge this year, so I have been thinking about gates and shadows.  I liked how everything changed in the artwork as the sun passed each day.


Mayflies on a water bottle – fleeting beauty.

One of the most amazing aspects of this trip was the graphic and beautiful demonstration of the circle of life.  Mayflies hatched and climbed at dusk in whirling circles, rising and falling like confetti in a whirlwind.  Why would such a fragile and lovely life last but a day?  Because the next day the ducks, loons, and fish dined on an enormous amount of protein just when needed during their reproductive cycles.

And then?  Out of the sky drops an osprey – boom!  It hits the water and takes the fish feeding on the mayflies on the surface of the water slowly into the air.  The ospreys had a nest nearby and what an honor it was to watch them work and work to bring fish to their young.  And they weren’t alone.  An eagle was hunting also.  When the eagle strayed too close to the osprey territory, we witnessed a deadly aerobatic fight until the eagle slid away on the wind.  No mayflies for a day, no fish, no osprey young.


Java on the rocks – A ritual of silence and seeing.

P.S.  Our record of seeing at least one moose on every trip stands!  Stand by later this month for news of a special Fall trip to the Quetico.



07 2012

Inspiration for Tuesday, June 23 – 2009

Hard and Soft

One last Boundary Waters photo before I move on.  Can you imagine the happiness of sitting on this rock, split by time and water, with a hot mug of coffee and a slice of grilled banana bread?  The fog slowly burns away as the sun rises; a small island appears.  The day begins with solitude and peace.


06 2009

I’m back!


Ah, the Boundary Waters.  Never a dull moment and gloriously beautiful as always.  We had so many inspiring moments including seeing three martins, two moose, otters, beavers, loons, eagles and more.  The most exciting moment, unfortunately, was bidding farewell to my glasses as they sank, quickly, to the bottom of a lake. Total operator error. Since I can’t see my feet without my glasses and had one eye swelled shut due to bug bites, I was happy to make it out in one-eyed safety wearing my sunglasses on a dark and rainy day.  I’m looking forward to a bug-free Fall adventure in the Boundary Waters.

This is the scene that really captured my attention on this trip:


A lovely stand of birches.  Each morning the sun would blaze through the black lines of the straight trunks while the reflections remained dark and mysterious in the water.


06 2009

Time for a Boundary Waters fix


Yes, it’s that time of year when I take a break from the computer and dash about to various family events. And, OF COURSE, make time to go to the Boundary Waters with my sister in our 17.5 foot Kevlar canoe.  

This is our thirteenth trip since 2003 and I am still excited to go and see what there is to see.  I love everything about the Boundary Waters — the solitude, the partnership with my sister, sleeping in a tent, carrying everything we need for ten days on our backs, and paddling our lovely golden canoe.  You never know if the days are going to be sunny and bright, dark and stormy, calm or windy, buggy or delightfully not.  Or all of these in one day. I’m sure I will have some photos to share when I return.

In case you need your own Boundary Water fix, some places to visit include:

How I unexpectedly came to love the Boundary Waters (even with a Kleenex for a sleeping bag and a child’s PFD) here.

Artwork:  The Boundary Waters Series 
The Portage Series 
Portage artist book

My sister and I after ten days out in September 2008 with photos of rock, wood, water.

The ultimate journal – our tent!

A wilderness “Andy Goldsworthy” photo challenge


06 2009