My Ely Canoeber Adventure

posted in: Ely Adventure, Photography | 2

Yesterday, was the BEST DAY!

Sam, the son of the couple I am house-sitting for, returned to Ely last week. Late yesterday afternoon he offered to take me for a paddle in the canoe up the Burntside River. I happily took him up on his offer since he starts back to work for the U.S. Forest Service tomorrow and I wanted to take advantage of his help paddling to make photographs from the canoe.

Sam putting canoe in the river

Ely Canoeber Adventure

Having my own Canoeber paddler who knew the river well was great since I was able to take in the beauty of my surroundings and constantly shoot photographs instead of needing to paddle the canoe.

All I can say is Wow! What a beautiful river! Canoeber is a winner!* It was a wonderful experience sitting in the front of the canoe with my camera, taking in the beauty of the river and its wild surroundings.

The sky and light were magical and the river was much more interesting than I had expected. In some areas the river widened and reeds and grasses grew in shallow swampy areas in the middle of the river. In other areas the river was shallow and filled with springs. Large bays opened and then the channel narrowed again.

The river curved this way and that, and in places high ridges of land with majestic tall pines lined both sides of the river.

And Sam did all the paddling!

We saw hooded mergansers, mallards, wood ducks, Canada geese, and bald eagles flying overhead.

There was a large beaver house in the river and the remains of the beavers’ winter food stash in the shallows at one edge of the river.

Beaver’s Winter Food Stash

We portaged past a rapids formed by a logjam from when the river was used to transport logs downstream.

There was a steady breeze that seemed to change direction when we turned around—heading upriver it felt like Sam was paddling into a headwind, and it felt the same way heading downriver. What an Escheresque world.

There was a weather front coming in yesterday and we could see it and feel it as the breeze strengthened and cooled and more clouds moved in.

The river water was very cold—I know because I got water in my boots when I was climbing out of the canoe for a portage, and it was freezing! Sam told me that just a week ago, a large bay area in the river had still been ice-covered.

What a wonderful world we live in!

May you walk in beauty.

* For those of you who are still wondering, Canoeber was Ely’s annual April Fool’s joke announcement, one of a series of memorable April Fool’s jokes from Ely, MN over the years. But Sam’s expertise and strong paddling was not a joke. I so appreciated his knowledge about the river and the area and his cheerful offer to paddle the canoe for me. It inspires me to meet young people like Sam who are doing what they love.



2 Responses

  1. Joanne Engelking

    OK, now I’m officially jealous–would love to have been in that canoe with you. Lovely photos of gorgeous scenery. The world is particularly wonderful when you see it from a canoe.

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