Ant Eaters

The Mohan Family took advantage of our Boundary Waters Family package—and they sure spiced up last week here at Tuscarora. On Tuesday, Maggie took them paddling, Jen took them blueberry picking, Cass took them to Chik Wauk, Lindsay taught them campfire building and cuisine over lunch at Blankenberg beach, , Kelley took them hiking on the Centennial Trail where they stumbled upon a moose—or actually she nearly stumbled over them.

On Wednesday Daniel and I paddled out with them for their first night in the woods. It was great fun. We started out in a downpour, buckets of rain— yet they were very good sports about it. We had a tarp, we hunkered under at the end of the portage with some jerky, some fruit snacks, some good conversation. It’s such a conquering feeling to navigate such rain. I was hiking back for another load thinking—I LOVE this. I love it here. You can see that Matt never lost his smile.

Daniel shared some fishing tips, and I had a chance to share some of the finer points of wilderness snacking with TJ and Malachy. They were so game for anything. Funny boys, reminded me of Bob Snodgrass who introduced me to formic acid (in ants) 25 years ago. Do they use formic acid in lime sweet tarts? I don’t really know, but they taste surprisingly similar. If you can’t see this video full screen—you might miss TJ’s hands describing the taste explosion (and he is right on!) —or karate-kid-Malachy, who couldn’t seem to hold back his shimmies.

The next morning after breakfast, with memories of a good evening of hide-and-go-seek sardines, swimming, fishing, s’mores,,, Daniel and I reluctantly headed back to Tuscarora and left the Mohans to find their own ants to eat. On the trail, they crossed paths with another Boundary Waters Family-sponsored group. On these work trips, family teams take the opportunity to join some US Forest Service Rangers to camp and volunteer with work projects. The outfitters on the Gunflint Trail partner with the US Forest Service and we’re really excited about all of the things happening in the program this summer. And upon return, that group had a weekend full of stories to tell.

The big idea, the cool truth is—time in the woods strengthens families. And we’re lucky we get to facilitate some of that. We get to meet some great people that way too. And the kids are like the formic acid in the ants—they always surprise us with the taste explosions. Oh Yeah!