The Boundary Waters: A Test of Character

The long uneventful drive to the Boundary Waters came to a halt as the two Jeeps packed full of teenagers and camping gear arrived in front of the park gate. I slowly regained consciousness from being situated in the tight constraints of the Jeep when the vehicles rolled to a stop. As I began to unearth myself beneath the camping gear a warm stream of sunlight fell upon my face showering me with gifts of warm life. The morning sunshine warmed my cheeks and revived my spirit as the awaited Fourth of July camping trip was about to begin. Seven of my friends and I had planned this trip for our last summer before we headed off to college making plans to: tame the wilderness, get way from our parents, enjoy the beauty of nature and most of all have fun. To my surprise this adventure became more than an ordinary camping trip to the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota, but an adventure of the soul that taught me about myself and the people I had surrounded myself with for the last four years. The raw nature of the woods taught me something about myself and others that I cannot clearly explain.

Our nerve-racking adventure started off with a bang as Dan, our navigator, realized that one of the jeeps had a flat tire when we were unloading the four canoes perched upon the roofs. Our bad luck momentarily dampened our spirits but with the sunshine so gay we could not be brought down for long. Fortunately, we had a spare tire and quickly changed the flat and began our trek into the woods. As we began the hike into the woods I felt a cold chill run through the back of my spin just before we departed our vehicles. As I turned to look back at the jeeps I could have sworn I saw a black shadow fall over the vehicles. I nervously shook it off and told myself that I was imagining things and should start enjoying the beauty of the nature surrounding me. I became enthralled with the woods magnificent beauty, the raw nature smelled like fresh earth that had been kissed by the morning dew. The first breath I inhaled permeated my mouth and nose with an overwhelming sense of tranquility. The forest encompassed me like a warm blanket as we portaged the two miles to the nearest lake, Lake Chattanooga. Walking with the canoe upon my back I could slowly feel my legs and back become tired and fatigued. Just as Colin asked me if I wanted to stop and rest, I saw the lake in the distance. The lake was crystal clear with a beautiful bluish tint. This picture perfect view of the lake was a sign from God that he was smiling upon us on. My excitement rose as we neared the lake and jumped in splashing in the cold brisk water. A cold shiver ran through my spine as the water slowly encircled my feet and legs as a rainstorm surrounds the earth. My face was beaming with excitement as I looked at the faces of my seven friends. Their body movements and facial expressions symbolized pure joy as we all splashed in the cold lake. At that moment in time, it seemed that we all were in perfect balance with the universe and nothing could have made that moment more perfect.

After canoeing for an hour across the lake we arrived at our camping site, which made my spine chill with excitement. The landscape of the island stretched for miles and miles as we arrived on the beach. Doug and I sprang out of our canoe yelling and screaming at the top of our lungs glorifying in the nature that encircled us. The smell of the raw earth gave me a sense of warmth as the sun began to fade slowly behind the trees. It seemed as if the picture perfect day was a gift from the heavens, allowing my friends and I to bask in the glow of its demure. Ironically, the adventure of the Boundary Waters was yet to begin and in the time between setting up camp and dinner, time whirled by in a blur. To ease our illuminating adventures of the day we decided to play an enlightening game of spoons. When Colin went outside to look for the spoons in our gear, I heard a rustling of leaves and wind outside the tent. In a matter of seconds, Colin stormed in the tent and threw the spoons on the floor with an anguished look upon his face. Suddenly, the tent began to rock back and forth caving in on the seven of us. I could feel my heart drop to the ground as I heard cracking and the howling of the wind outside. The nature that granted us harmony and beauty earlier suddenly took a turn for the worse. My friend’s faces, which earlier in the day had looks of pleasure and serenity, suddenly had transformed into looks or shear terror. My mind started to swirl with questions that paralleled the twisting wind and rain surrounding me. I became frozen with the uncertainty of my fate. Suddenly it became clear to all of us that abandoning the tent would be our only way to survive. The trees around us cracked and howled falling to the ground as we jumped out of the tent scrambling in different directions to avoid the path of falling trees.

Our different personalities and identities began to emerge in response to this situation of terror. Dan, our navigator, began to laugh and started galloping around in the tornado of rain with excitement. Caroline became frightened as a look of terror swept across her face. Her eyes bulged out and she began to whisper "this is not happening, this is not happening." Rebekah was a deer in headlights stunned with fear before Doug grabbed her and headed towards the lake to safety. I watched the turn of events happen around me as a wave of immobilization washed over my body. I saw my friends running to safety in different directions, as I stood in the middle of storm amazed by the power of nature. The swirling of the rain around my body encased me in a trance of tranquility tasting like sweet sunlight upon my lips. I slowly began to fall deeper into a trance, but fortunately Colin grabbed my arm and dragged me to safety. As I turned to look at our campsite I saw the wrath of nature at first hand, the godsend of harmony we had experienced earlier suddenly changed into a test of character. My mind swirled with thoughts as Colin screamed to the heavens above "END, you won, END!" When the wrath of the storm ended, I began to think about the test of character and harmony each individual can posses. The eight of us shivering by the lakeside, battered and bruised by nature learned something glorious that day. The camping trip to the Boundary Waters taught us a great deal about ourselves and our capabilities as humans. After enduring the exciting adventure of the Boundary Waters last summer, this summer the eight of us again are going to endure a hardcore camping trip to Montana. Who knows what nature has in store for us again, but as long as we stick together nothing is impossible.