It seems like summer was ages ago–especially considering the cold snap!–but here we are just a little over 5 months away from the start of first session.  Many of those memories are still fresh in our minds, even the ones from many years ago.  Some memories are more vivid than others, and among those most vividly recalled are the memories from canoe trips.  One of the highlights of a summer at Camp Chippewa is a canoe trip in Canada, and for most boys the first Canadian trip is through the Quetico.  Boys come to camp year after year waiting for the day they too can paddle the waters of the Quetico and earn the right to wear their first tam.

No Quetico is ever the same, and the Quetico from Summer 2013 went a little bit like this:

An Ode to the Quetico

Olson Cabin’s Trip Report Poem
First Session 2013

The seven boys in Olson cabin left last week for the trail.

With Sutton and Zach at the helm their confidence would prevail

O’er all the challenges of the Quetico—the bugs, the mud, the wind.

And on the trip indeed they did succeed!  Here’s how the tale begins:

Day 1 – “Good morning” came the call, and we loaded up the van.

Farewell to Buck and Cass—to French Lake was the plan.

And there we set off paddling and on Pickerel met a gale.

We named the wind Veronica (ask Tommy for the tale).

The wind, it blew so long and strong, but we did reach a site

Where we would set our tents up for the first Quetico night.

Next came fire, then came food, and what glorious food it was!

Bacon-flavored chips and burgers served on tortillas.

But normal burgers these were not, for beef and sausage had been mixed

With jalapeno peppers and some spices for extra kick.

Throw on chipotle cheddar, and behold a taste to taste!

These spicy, juicy, savory burgers definitely did not go to waste.

A camp tradition came up next: making s’mores around a fire.

Then we trippers, with our stomachs sated, to our tents retired.

A final check inside the tent for any mosquitoes or ticks.

The distance thus far on the trip: five miles point six.

Then came day 2 in with a long paddle ahead.

We emerged from our tents and stowed our Thermorest beds.

We had a breakfast of GORP and a lunch of PB & J

Perched out on a rock in the sun—we could have spent all day!

As we paddled onward, Veronica continued to blow,

But through the wind and waves and gale-blown spray, to the campsite we did go.

We arrived ten miles later with our heads held high and dry,

And after mac’n’spam’n’cheese we all went beddy-bye.

We woke up on day 3 knowing a challenge lay ahead.

We had to keep positive in order to keep our heads.

We’d have many portages and lots of paddling, too,

And though the rain was falling, we finally met up with Manitou.

It took us 17 miles, and it took a lot of work,

But a dinner of chicken pasta pesto made us go berserk.

After lots of laughter, jolly ranchers, and chase games,

Off to bed we went, and sleep to us easily came.

Awaking to day 4 with lots of water on the ground,

We packed up all our gear and not too soon were water-bound.

Paddling on Sturgeon with the wind at our backs

From the lake to the Maligne River we swiftly made our tracks.

Portaging ‘round rapids and arriving at Tanner Lake,

We found a grassy island, and our campsite we did make.

The clouds were still persistent, but into the water we did go.

And it made everyone feel better—everybody said so!

After spam, peppers, onions, and breadsticks, we’d had enough

For we went to bed mostly well-fed.  The 45 miles thus far had been tough.

As we travelers woke up on Day 5, the bugs were swarming ‘round.

And despite the slaps and swatting, the muffins proved profound.

We portaged past the Ogichi girls, we trudged on down the trails.

We carried on, keeping calm, putting carry-overs at our tails.

The sun broke through and on we flew south to Rebecca Falls.


The two sets of roaring waterfalls made for much aquatic fun.

Just make sure you can swim back in before you take the plunge.

We awoke day 6 to the pounding water coming over the falls,

But to the USA was the order of the day for each one and for all.

We paddled along and sang the song—“The Star-Spangled Banner”

And it didn’t take long ‘til we arrived at the last site in great tripping manner.

We set up camp and made it nice, then we climbed up Warrior Hill.

From the top you can see for miles and miles—it was such an incredible thrill.

Back to the campsite in wind and rain we quickly made our way.

Pizza and no-bake provided the end to a fantastic last full day.

Day 7 came fast, with strawberry lemonade, it’s taste was not too lame.

We paddled and paddled, and paddled some more; around each bend we came.

At the last portage, we were drained—our energy we were squeezing.

Zach came running down the trail shouting, “This trip don’t end easy!”

And after the drive we’re standing here, glad to be back in camp.

We came back safe and we came back sound, glad to no longer be damp!

And so we present our Quetico—one of Chippewa’s best

For this group accomplished quite a feat.  They were definitely put to the test.

It’s a great distance that they covered, and one that you should know.

The total mileage for this trip: it’s the big number 8-0.

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Camp Chippewa