Photo by Dave Freeman

In an instant, a year’s worth of planning shifted into doing. On September 23, Dave and I launched our canoe into the South Kawishiwi River and paddled into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). To any paddler who knows the BWCAW, that act in and of itself probably doesn’t sound too remarkable. It is a place where paddlers launch trips all the time—heading into the northwoods for a long weekend or even a couple weeks at a time. The thing that was notable about September 23 for us (besides it being the fall equinox) was the fact that we were entering the nation’s most popular Wilderness Area with no plans to exit for an entire year.