We began our trial hitch with a massive Minnesota Northwoods thunderstorm. Standing on our balcony watching the rain pour down, our excitement for the upcoming day grew. After finishing our very haphazard packing routine, we hiked the quarter mile to the Kawishiwi Ranger Station and loaded up our trucks with packs, paddles, life jackets, canoes and SCA members. Before taking off, we met up with Jack Greenlee (Jack Attack), the Superior National Forest Plant Ecologist, who accompanied us on our hitch. Arriving at the Slim Lake parking lot (part of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness) we portaged our gear to the landing and set out onto the water. Jason and I powered ahead and lead the pack to our campsite where we set up tents and attempted our first tarp shelter construction. After a slow start we created the most impressive of tarp fortresses which, unfortunately, we never got to use. For the remainder of the day we traveled to the lakes nearby to inventory and remove invasive plants. At our first stop we found extensive Hawkweed and went to work as the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. The rest of the campsites and portages we went to did not have any intruders, but it was nice to spend the afternoon paddling and exploring more of the area. Upon return to our campsite, the ladies began making dinner while the gents paddled out into the lake to gather water. After an hour of agonizingly trying to boil our water with no success we borrowed Jack's stove and finlly got to eat our dinner of Gado Gado (totes delish). A clear breezy evening was greatly welcomed and we all stood under the pines watching the horizon and talking. We played a variety of games fit for a middle school girl's slumber party and had a blast doing so!
Day two of the trial hitch began as we checked out a beautiful location where the Forest Service is hoping to create a new campsite and looked for rare plants (Barren Strawberry and Ram's Head Orchid). The next stop was a campsite that was occupied but Kelsey and Jack politely asked if they could go ashore and look for invasive plants. While they searched, the rest of us ate gorp and watched from the water. Our last stop was the most riddled with invasive plants and we took our time pulling Oxeye Daisy, Hawkweed and St. John's Wort. And so ended our trial hitch. We have plenty of ideas on how to improve our packing for next time (it turns out that a bag full of hard hats is not incredibly comfortable) and are excited to get back out into the B-dub and attack those weeds!
On another slightly related note, Tuesday, June 7 marks the fist day of Nick's moustache growing experiment. We shall keep all updated with weekly photos of his progress!