Hitting the Water: Boundary Waters Outfitters

3-Day Journey into the Boundary Waters

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The idea of camping sounds appealing when you consider nature, stars and a campfire.

What that is of course all reality, so is the fact that it can get expensive to purchase a tent, sleeping bags and maybe even a canoe.

One of the best parts about experiencing the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness is the option to plan your trip with an outfitter.

From beginning to end, they’ll make your experience as smooth as possible.

Chris Loonan and Sylwia Krol made the trip from Berlin, to Ely.

They’re just one of many international duos setting out to explore the wild.

“I’m hoping for a little bit of sun and then we’re just hoping to have fun and experience new things. See some loons, see some animals,” said international traveler, Sylwia Krol.

Ely Outfitting Company is just one of several outfitters looking to take the guess–work and stress out of planning your trip.

Every year they serve about 1,000 guests who come from all over the world.

“The best part of my job as an outfitter is connecting people with these really awesome outdoor experiences that can change lives,” said owner of Ely Outfitting Company Jason Zabokrtsky.

Zabokrtsky is a wealth of information.

Drawn to the wilderness at a young age, his passion is now introducing you to his.

“I got my start in the mid–90’s guiding for a small youth base outfitter. I was sold hook, line and sinker,” said Zabokrtsky.

If you’re looking to venture out into the wild unknown, the place to start may be with an outfitter.

“Some people don’t even know that you can basically just show up with the things you wear and we can outfit you with everything else. Canoes, paddling equipment, all the camping equipment, and all the trail food,” said Zabokrtsky.

After finding an outfitter you’re comfortable with you’ll want to decide what route you’ll travel.

Zabokrtsky said the average length canoe trip in the BWCAW is 4–days and 3 nights.

If you’re feeling uneasy about making the trek alone, guides like LynnAnne Vesper are available for hire.

“I’ve probably been traveling the wilderness in upwards of 20–years,” said Vesper.

A resource of information on the trail she will read the map, start the fires, facilitate cooking, and help carry gear on portages.

“To be a part of the trip for them is something that keeps me coming back,” explained Vesper.

For $40 a day you can rent a lightweight Kevlar Canoe weighing roughly as much as a big bad of dog food.

Renting is quite the deal when you consider a new canoe can cost a few thousand dollars.

A tent, pots, pans, sleeping bags, and much more are packed into dry bags for your trip.

The dry bags are an easy way to give you a piece of mind in case your canoe happens to tip over.

Condiments, coffee, fresh produce, and much more Zabokrtsky said trail food has come a long ways.

“(We pack) fresh bacon for the first morning and then fresh steaks for the first night,” said Zabokrtsky.

One thing is for certain, you’re guaranteed to not go hungry on the trail.

Plus, you can always bring a fishing pole for a fresh catch of the day.

Once your gear is packed it’s time to hit the trail.

For first–time campers and BWCAW trekkers, Loonan and Krol are excited.

“To reconnect with nature, to do some survival skills, camping, learning a little bit more about the compass, map reading, cooking, and campfires,” said Loonan.

Once you hit the waters and start the adventure, forget about technology.

“To sort of focus on the people around you rather than the handheld device that has all your e–mail and facebook notices, is something really special,” said Zabokrtsky.

The physical beauty of Mother Nature is all that will surround the duo as they venture off, into the wild.

Join us Thursday as we take a look at the preservation of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

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