Our half cross-country road trip was leading us to an epic adventure. I’m only just now getting around to writing about it because on the adventure we had no access to internet… it was glorious, plus life has been a little hectic since then. Now for the first two days!
On Sunday, 12 July we headed to northern Minnesota. Our first stop was actually the airport so we could pick up another adventurer, flying in from California, but after that our first stop was in Orr, MN.
Orr is called the “Gateway to Voyageur’s National Park,” and has a population of 267 (as of the 2010 census). I’d hazard to guess that most people have never heard of Orr, MN, but the town stands as a bastion of epic proportions in my childhood memories, though I had never stepped foot in it until three years ago. My former church used to own a summer camp in the town, it was a right of passage for thousands of teenagers during its existence. Part of that long ago history is the Kielczewski family; two of the daughters were our primary hostesses for the first two days of our adventure. The Erickson family (one daughter of the Kielczewski family) allowed us to stay in their newly constructed farm house as a base camp for the first night of our adventure. I’m told this new home will be listed on Airbnb, and if it ever is, I will definitely add a link here, it’s a truly beautiful home. And our hosts were wonderful. It was here that all of the participants gathered for the first time. We had a lovely meal, a Bible study, team building activities, and training in the basics of canoeing.
On Monday, 13 July, we headed to Anderson’s Canoe Outfitters. They provided us a place to set up camp for the night and all of the canoes we rented (save one). In the afternoon we all gathered on the shore of Crane Lake and headed out on a brief excursion. This would give us all a chance to practice our paddling and get comfortable on the water before we headed out for the main adventure. On this excursion we headed to the Vermillion Gorge Trail. It’s a fairly easy canoe trip to the Gorge (only one canoe capsized and it was only slightly traumatic for the occupants), and the view of the gorge is lovely. I was the unofficial portraitist as we looked over the gorge.
We made it back to our campsite at Anderson’s just in time for a thunderstorm. We spent the rest of the evening sorting gear, shuffling foodstuffs, trading out tents, and avoiding mosquitoes.