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Four Seasons of Recreation

Kari Natti

Some Heart of the Continent outdoor lovers say winter is their favorite season. They love skiing through the silent snowy forest or drilling a hole into a frozen lake to catch a tasty meal. Others prefer the dog days of summer, the finest time to paddle and camp in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Still others are steeped in the November tradition of deer hunting, when family and friends gather at remote camps for fellowship and, possibly, to take home a winter supply of venison. In spring adventurous kayakers paddle rivers wild with run-off and anglers kick off the open water fishing season.

Until you’ve crossed a portage with a canoe or heavy pack on your back, you can’t know the thrill of catching a glimpse of blue water through the trees. You have to spend a winter on snowshoes to understand the evolution of snow from December fluffiness to the crusted blanket that covers the landscape in late March. You can taste the Heart of the Continent in a handful of just-picked blueberries, but more importantly, the place then becomes a part of you.

-Shawn Perich, publisher, Northern Wilds magazine

“What once started as recreation is now my way of life. When the winter snows come and the flowing water turns to hard ice, my wife and I ski the many frozen lakes and rivers. On overnight trips we spend the quiet wintery nights next to the wood stove in our canvas tent. There is no phone, television, or computer; just conversation, stars as far as you can see, and if we’re lucky, the northern lights will be dancing in the sky. Winter is long and dark, but we have a great appreciation for its majestic, silent beauty.”

-Tim Pearson, artist, RiverBlendStudio

"I fell in love with the Boundary Waters on my first canoe trip more than 20 years ago when I heard the lonely call of loons echoing across Alton Lake’s mirror-smooth surface. Something about this sprawling maze of pristine lakes and the rhythm of paddling, portaging, and camping in the wilderness feeds my soul and draws me back time and again."

-Dave Freeman, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year