Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Camping At Its Purest Form

Laura Breck
Have you ever camped in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness? It's over a million acres of untouched wilderness on the Minnesota-Canada border, abutting Canada's Quetico Provincial Park.

Motorized boats are not allowed into the BWCA's inner lakes, and there are over one-thousand of them! Which means, you carry everything you need in a big pack and 'portage' between lakes with a pack on your back and a canoe over your head.

When we were (much) younger, we'd travel into the BWCA every year in early August. The days are hot while paddling and portaging, and the nights get so cold, your deodorant freezes! But it's worth it. Once you arrive at a campsite, chances are you're the only person on that lake. The quiet and fresh air are restorative.

No cell phones ringing (as of today - but there's a movement to plunk a tower in the middle of the area.) You can rent a satellite phone (satphone) if you feel the need to have a phone, in case of an emergency. We've sustained our share of injuries - and I have scars to prove it - but never anything life threatening.

The last time we went in, we took a long portage - 360 rods, which is over a mile. And the topographical map showed plenty of lines crossing the path. Way, way up we went, then way, way down again to the next lake. The difficulty of the portage evidently kept other campers away because we had the lake to ourselves.

Or, it could have been the bears. I ran into a bear at the top of that portage. Hubby had already gone ahead with the canoe and I was trudging a ways back. The bear crossed my path, I banged the aluminum canoe paddles together, and made really good time down the second half of that portage.

All these experiences helped me write my upcoming release, Wild Temptation, which is book one of a series of stories about the BWCA.

Here's a little excerpt to give you the flavor of what it's like to camp in the BWCA. Hanna's trying to temp Cord into a hot night in the cool north woods:

Hanna busied herself settling their packs next to the logs surrounding the iron fire ring, kindly provided by the Forestry Department of the State of Minnesota. She walked down the gentle slope of the rock and stood at water’s edge. The sun would be gone soon, but the air was hot, still, and steamy and she felt grungy. Maybe a shower?

"Hanna, help me find firewood." They trekked into the forest in different directions.

She came out a half hour later with an armful, he’d already gotten a fire started. The grate over the top held a big pan of boiling water. She dumped her wood in the pile that was double what she'd found. "Soup?" Her stomach rumbled.

"No. I thought you’d want to take a shower before we ate."

His kindness almost brought tears to her eyes. "Thank you, yes."

He’d already set up their pup tents. "Your clothes bag is in the tent on the left." He gestured to the half-full shower bag hanging from a tree behind them. "You remember how to do this?"


He picked up the pot of water and carried it to the shower bag, dumping it in. He moved the bag deeper in the woods, and hung it higher in a tree.

She shivered at the lovely thought of warm water as she slipped inside her tent and found her swimsuit. The tent was a long, thin triangle, and she had to lie on her sleeping bag to undress and redress. Fastening the teeny black bikini top at the back of her neck, she crawled out of the tent.

Cord had his back to her, sitting on his heels by the fire, facing the lake.

She posed. "Okay, here I go."

"Uh huh." A distracted grunt, and he didn't even look back at her.

She'd hoped to shock him a little, and impress him a lot, but he stayed focused on whatever he was doing. Hanna set her soap, shampoo, and towel by the shower bag, and made her way past Cord, down the rock face of their campsite, and stood with just her toes in the water. The sun was down, and dusk skated over the lake.

She turned her head to look at him. Now she had his attention.

Cord's stare was intent on her butt. Or maybe it was her thighs.

She made a quarter turn, showing off her breasts and flat stomach. "Care to join me?"

A loud breath left his lungs. "I'm busy right now, thanks." He wasn't too busy to gape at her.

Facing the lake, she screwed up her courage, ran five quick steps in, and dove under the water. She popped to the surface a second later, barely able to breathe from the shock of the cold water. "I hate this part!"

His laughter rolled across the water, warming her from the inside.

She made her way out of the lake and dripped as she walked to where her shower awaited.

He stood and turned his back to her. "We need more wood. I'll give you some privacy." He walked into the woods on the opposite side of the campsite.

In her private glen, Hanna stripped off her bikini and hung it on a tree limb. She quickly soaped her body, shampooed her hair, and opened the valve on the shower bag.

Cord had mixed the hot and cold just right, and the warm lake water sluiced over her. She worked quickly and saved half the water for him. She dried her body and flipped her hair forward meticulously toweling it and finger combing through the long strands. It would get cold tonight, and she didn't want to go to bed with wet hair.

After about ten minutes, his voice called from the woods behind her. "Are you done?"

"Yes." She wrapped her little towel around herself, tucking it in at her breasts, and walked back to the campsite.

He came out of the woods, his arms loaded with a mountain of wood, and stopped abruptly when he saw her. "Jesus, woman."

She smiled. "What's your problem?"

"I thought you were done." He walked past her and dumped the wood. "Are you planning on putting clothes on any time tonight?"

"Or we could turn this into a nudist camp."

~ ~ ~ ~

Hope you're enjoying your summer!
~Smart Women ~Sexy Men ~Seductive Romance
Dancing in a Hurricane is available in digital format at Amazon and in paperback at Createspace


Alison Henderson said...

Laura, this post brought back so many memories! I've never been to the BWCA, but I spent two summers in junior high at a camp on Leech Lake outside Bemidji, and your excerpt really captured the feel of being outdoors in that environment (although such shenanigans were frowned upon at camp LOL).

Jannine Gallant said...

It sounds like a beautiful, beautiful place. If I ever get to Minnesota... Thanks for sharing.

Laura Breck said...

Alison, you'll have to do a post some day about your shenanegans. I can imagine the trouble you caused. Glad you liked the excerpt!

Jannine, it is so pristine and breathtaking. I hope you make it here someday.