Minnesota's Boundary Waters with Douglas Wood: The Spirit of the Canoe Country
Learn the stories of Sigurd Olson and Ernest Oberholzter, icons of US conservation efforts. Explore their legacies as you canoe, hike and boat in Minnesota's famed boundary waters.
Program No. 21938RJ
8 days
Starts at
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8 days
7 nights
20 meals
7 B 6 L 7 D
Getting There
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Arrival, Introductions, Orientation
Sandstone, MN
Audubon Center of the North Woods

Activity note: light walking

Dinner: Dinner will be in our Dining Hall

Evening: Evening will be free for you to enjoy the beautiful 535 acres of the Audubon Center of the North Woods

Gooseberry Falls, Split Rock Lighthouse, Palisade Head
Grand Marais, MN
Harbor Inn

Activity note: walking 2-3 miles

Breakfast: at Audubon Center Dining Hall

Morning: We will depart for Lake Superior's North Shore and explore beautiful Gooseberry Falls State Park and its trails

Lunch: We will enjoy a picnic lunch along the shore

Afternoon: We will continue along the North Shore and visit the famous Split Rock Lighthouse State Park,Lake Superior's most famous lighthouse. We will also stop and take in the highest view along Minnesota's shore at Palisade Head as we learn about the volcanic origins of Lake Superior's shoreline.

Dinner: After continuing up the North Shore, we will stop at historic Naniboujou Lodge for dinner in their one of a kind dining hall. After dinner, Douglas Wood will share an essay from his new memoir "Deep Woods, Wild Waters."

Evening: Arrive in Grand Marais, one of Minnesota's most charming towns, and get settled in for the night at our hotel.

Brule River, Pigeon Falls, Grand Portage Nat. Monument
Grand Marais, MN
Harbor Inn

Activity note: Hiking of up to 5 miles

Breakfast: We will have breakfast at the Harbor Inn

Morning: We will hike along the Brule River—half of which disappears into the Earth as we continue to learn about the geology and natural history of the area.

Lunch: Picnic Lunch

Afternoon: We will visit Grand Portage State Park, home to the 120 ft high Pigeon Falls - Minnesota's tallest waterfall. Afterward we will visit Grand Portage National Monument and learn about the colorful, rich and incredible history and life of the voyageur fur traders.

Dinner: Dinner at the delicious Gunflint Tavern, where Douglas Wood will share a passage from his book "Paddle Whispers".

Evening: Walk along the breakwater of Grand Marais and enjoy the sunset. Return to the hotel for the night.

Sigurd Olson's home & Listening Point, Paddle to Pine Island
Ely, MN
Super 8 Ely Minnesota

Activity note: Hike 2 miles, paddle 2 miles

Breakfast: Breakfast at the Harbor Inn. Pack up gear.

Morning: We will leave the North Shore and head into the heart of the canoe country, arriving at Ely, MN the canoe capital of the world. From there we will visit conservation icon Sigurd Olson's home and writing shack, learning firsthand about his life's legacy of wilderness conservation and education.

Lunch: Picnic Lunch at the city park

Afternoon: After lunch, we will take the short drive out to Listening Point- Sigurd Olson's cabin and personal retreat on beautiful Burntside Lake, gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. After listening to an essays from Olson's books, we will push off the shore in our canoes and paddle out to Pine Island, a state scientific and natural area home to 400 year old pines. After exploring on the island, we will paddle back to the vans.

Dinner: We will have dinner at the brewpub the Boathouse

Evening: Check in to our rooms and enjoy the rest of the evening however you choose.

Int'l Wolf Center, N. American Bear Center, Canoeing in VNP
International Falls, MN
Days Inn International Falls

Activity note: light walking, canoe paddling on Lake Kabetogama

Breakfast: Breakfast in town at a restaurant.

Morning: Explore the International Wolf Center and learn of Sigurd Olson's pioneering wolf research. Then visit the North American Bear Center and learn about one of the most timid and misunderstood animals in North America.

Lunch: Picnic lunch at Bear Head Lake State park.

Afternoon: We will leave Ely and journey west along the border country to Voyageurs National Park. Upon arriving at Woodenfrog Point on Lake Kabetogama, we will slip the canoes in and paddle amidst the towering pines and granite outcrops of this beautiful lake. Douglas Wood will share his book "Granddad's Prayers of the Earth", written about his childhood experiences with his grandfather on Lake Kabetogama.

Dinner: We will enjoy dinner at the locally famous Bait-N-Bite. A restaurant next to a fishing bait store who made the Tonight Show with their sign "Eat here and get worms!"

Evening: After dinner, we will head to International Falls, check into our rooms and relax.

Voyageurs National Park, Boat Cruise to Kettle Falls Hotel
International Falls, MN
Days Inn International Falls

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles

Breakfast: Breakfast at the Days Inn

Morning: Visit the Rainy Lake Visitor Center, gateway to Voyageurs National Park and learn about the rich history of the voyageur fur traders. After that, we will board the park boat Voyageur, and head off on a 60 mile round trip down the wild and stunningly beautiful east arm of Rainy Lake, taking in dozens of islands, expansive lake views, bald eagles and more. We will eventually arrive at the historic Kettle Falls Hotel, accessible only by boat or plane and a fixture on the landscape for over 100 years. All the while, a National Park ranger will provide interpretation on what you are seeing.

Lunch: Lunch will be enjoyed at the historic Kettle Falls Hotel.

Afternoon: After exploring Kettle Falls Hotel and enjoy lunch, we will board the Voyageur and begin our return voyage back to the Rainy Lake Visitor, getting a different look at the lake and once again learning more about this incredible part of the planet.When we return, Douglas Wood will share two of his books “Breathe the Wind, Drink the Rain” and “Prescriptions from the Dock”.

Dinner: Dinner at the Chocolate Moose.

Evening: We will return to the hotel where you will have the evening free.

Ernest Oberholtzer's Mallard Island, Doug Wood's Fawn Island
Hinckley, MN
Days Inn Hinckley

Activity note: Walking of up to 2 miles

Breakfast: Breakfast at the Days Inn

Morning: We will arrive at Rainy Lake and take a short boat ride out to conservationist Ernest Oberholtzer's iconic Mallard Island Home, where he lived for nearly 60 years. On this doorstep to the wilderness, explore the many houses he had built as he hosted friends and dignitaries from around the country as he fought for the protection of this area known as the Quetico-Superior area.

Lunch: We will enjoy a picnic lunch on the island

Afternoon: After lunch, we will take the 2 minute boat ride over to Douglas Wood's own Fawn Island as he shares his favorite spot on the Earth with everyone, and shares passages from his book "Fawn Island". After soaking it all in, we ride back to the mainland and depart in the vans for Hinckley. Before reaching Hinckely, we will stop at the Audubon Center of the North Woods so you can pick up your vehicle and follow over to the Days Inn.

Dinner: Dinner at Tobie's Restaurant.

Evening: This will be our last evening together and we will offer closing remarks and wrap up the week's experiences with everyone.

Hinckley, MN

Activity note: light walking

Breakfast: Breakfast at the Days Inn

Morning: Depart after breakfast

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