Sunset in Minnesota – the extreme beauty of paddling the Boundary Waters

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Bryce Haack Minnesota's Boundary Waters
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“The lakes and forests of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters transport you to a time when nature was not a thing at the edge of civilization, but a world unto itself.” – NY Times Review of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Region.

There are no roads, no towns, no airports, no gas stations, no electricity.  There is water.  Over a million acres of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters’ lakes, streams and woods were derived from retreating glacial mass that carved itself a veritable water and wildlife playground.  If you’re looking for a get away that ‘gets away’ from it all, this is it.  Situated in Northern Minnesota, the Boundary Waters extend all the way up to the Canadian border.  Not much has changed since the beginning of civilization.  Wolves, bears and other wildlife are plentiful.  The waters are clear and potable.  Your life is simple IF you now how to pack for it 😉  Here is adventure photographer Bryce Haack’s quick stand up paddle trip into this magical place to give YOU a moment to get away and dream.

Minnesota Sup Boundary Waters Bryce Haak
Launching from the shores of  Lake Kawishiwi, Minnesota, visitors have hundreds of miles of coast and endless acres of waters to themselves.  Photo by:  Bryce Haack

Escape to Adventure:  The Boundary Waters of Minnosota

The Boundary Waters is over a million acres of protected land, lakes, and streams in northern Minnesota bordering Canada. It’s called the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for a reason. In many regards, canoes make the most sense for getting around this area due to the fact that these waters are so remote and you have to pack everything in with you.

Last spring, I was talking with a friend of mine about the stresses of our day-to-day lives.  We decided we needed to get out and find some adventure in order to recharge our batteries.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) in northern Minnesota was an option because we had experience there and it offers a remote location we were hoping to find for this venture.

Matt and I have a love for paddle boarding.  There is just something about standing on the water that trumps the boat!  And, we were in search of a legitimate adventure so paddle boards were the vehicle of choice! After months of planning and numerous trips to REI, we were ready to paddle out.  During the planning phase, we came to the conclusion that our traditional boards weren’t the best option for the trip so we ended up buying a couple of inflatable boards from Imagine Surf.

“Each evening we ended up either paddling back out to explore the area or fish.  This time of night, when the winds died down, was our reward after a hard day of paddling.”

We chose the 11′ Icon LTE because it is a great all-around board and would be useful both for our trip as well as more casual paddling sessions we could do with our kids, dogs, spouses after. This ended up being the right choice. The lightweight boards offers a versatility we couldn’t have managed from our other boards. In the past, I had not given much thought to inflatable boards because they sounded like toys to me, but after using them for this journey I quickly realized how legit they are!

Taking a moment to dial it down:  Minnesota’s Lake Kawishiwi

This photo was taken as the sun was setting on Lake Kawishiwi.  The photo is a personal favorite due to the fact it encapsulates so much of the trip. This was our last night of our adventure and we only had a short paddle the next day to get back to the Jeep. As we packed up our gear and loaded our boards, we realized the trip had accomplished what we had hoped. We left feeling both recharged and excited about potential future trips that now seemed possible after our adventure through the Boundary Waters.

Stay tuned for more Midwest Updates from our Adventure & Outdoor Photographer from the heartland!

— by Bryce Haack, Standup Journal contributor

Bryce Haak Minnesota profile pic
Bryce Haack – Minnesota’s adventure & outdoor photographer

Bryce Haack is an outdoor adventure photographer
based out of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
You can check out more of his work at:

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Evelyn O’Doherty
Evelyn O'Doherty, owner & publisher of the new Standup Journal 2.0, worked her way up the ranks in the world of stand up paddling. A former surfer gone rogue, Evelyn stepped onto a SUP for the first time in 2009 when a plaguing neck injury kept her out of the water from surfing. Discovering the core benefits and expanded perspective on the water that stand up paddling brings, Ev immediately was hooked. She became a strong SUP racer in the North East and a year-round SUP surfer, gathering multiple top brand sponsorships including becoming a team rider for Starboard SUP and a national ambassador for Kialoa, as well as celebrating all aspects of the sport with additional brand ambassadorships including lululemon athletica, Clif Bar, Cobian, Kaenon & Indo Board. Her love of watersports and commitment to advocacy in preserving our marine environments led to a short film made with The Nature Conservancy as part of their Clean Water initiatives on Long Island, NY, called "A New Perspective". Evelyn just keeps paddling. Today, she's stepped up to take over the helm at Standup Journal after having worked for the magazine for 2 years as senior online editor. Her dedication and belief in the power of print to immerse readers in the watersports they love even if they don't have access to the water in a daily existence plus a powerful desire to spotlight the amazing people doing rad sh*t on the water is what drives her vision for Standup Journal 2.0. Evelyn welcomes the conversation about how to make the magazine benefit as many people as possible and encourages feedback, letters to the editor and communication at . Now, as owner/publisher for Standup Journal., Evelyn continues to live in East Hampton NY where she has daily access to the water. When the swell is working, you can find her in Montauk rattling around in her Ford Ranger surfboards hanging out the back headed for points East.