I've always loved the outdoors and camping, canoeing, just being outside away from all the man-made distractions. It has a healing affect on me when I get away from the city, the traffic and electronic gadgets and just surround myself with all that nature has to provide. When I was married I never went camping, my ex hated camping so, after we were divorced and I had made my first trip to the "Boundry Waters Canoe Area Wilderness" (BWCAW) and showed her the pictures, her comment was big deal, "Rocks, water, and trees." To which I enthusiastically responded, "Exactly!"
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree. - Trees by Joyce Kilmer
I've made a couple of different types of trips over the years, the trips I've made the most and which are probably my favorite, are the trips I've made to the "Boundry Waters Canoe Area Wilderness" (BWCAW) in northern Minnesota. It's an area that hasn't changed much in hundreds of years, you can sit and look across the lake and almost see the voyagers as they came through the very same area. It sort of binds you to the living history of the whole area.
I made a trip several years ago with a friend of mine to the desert southwest, to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, in southern Arizona. It was an incredible experience, so different from any trip I'd made, especially the many BWCAW trips. When you go into the BWCAW water isn't an issue, in fact its more than just for drinking, eating and bathing, it's your highway in and out of the area, you are surrounded by it. In the desert water has a different role in your trip, since there is no water available except in the visitors center. Water determines how far you go and how long you can stay. What we did was to drive to the trail head, park, hike in and establish a campsite. Then we unloaded our gear and took our packs back to the car. Then we put our water (in this case two 5 gallon water bags) into our packs and went back to the campsite. If you wish to continue going into the wilderness you must make arrangements with someone to cache water for you in different locations. Otherwise, like we did, you stay in a campsite till the water was used up and then you move to a new site and replenish your supplies if you're going to continue camping.
The other thing I found so interesting, besides the different beauty the desert offers, was how in spite of how harsh the environmeent seemed to be, it was probably the most fragile environment I ever seen. There was cactus everywhere and rocks and shrubs that seemed destined to cut you or skin you at every turn. And yet, you could see evidence everywhere that this was an area that was clinging to life with all it had. You would see these giant saguaro cactus and the large organ pipe cactus for which the area is named and not really get a feel for how old they were and how hard they had to fight to survive. One day while re-filling our water supply at the visitors center I notice a potted cactus on the counter it was tiny, just about the size of the tip of my little finger. It was three years old, suddenly I realized how old some of these cactus were. If you consider that there were many years where they got almost no rainfall at all, along with a few good years, these giants had to be hundreds of years old and had survived on practically nothing, amazing.
Below are some links to get information on the BWCAW and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. I hope you will enjoy them and that you have as many fond memories of your trips as I do of mine.
Canoe Country, another good resource to the BWCAW
A good site for Organ Pipe