Mitchell Lake, Ely Minnesota

Ely: The Start of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean”. –  John Muir

About five hours north of Minneapolis and 14 miles short of the Canadian border lies Ely, Minnesota, population 3,460. Despite being near the notoriously named Embarrass, Minnesota which often wins the award as the coldest place in the US during winter, Ely is a magical place. Laying on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and the Superior National forest, Ely is one of a handful of launching off points into the some of America’s great outdoors.

Named by National Geographic as one of the 50 places to see in a lifetime, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is blessed with some of the most pure and raw nature you will ever see. Stretching over one million acres of pristine wilderness and graced with over 1,000 untouched lakes and streams, the BWCAW offers over 1,500 miles of canoe routes where you will likely not see a soul except the lone moose, wolf or black bear. The BWCAW has been a rite of passage for many adventurous souls who search for both challenge and peace as they set off portaging through the various pristine lakes and natural beauty of this amazing place.

Mitchell Lake, Ely Minnesota


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Leave no trace behind except your footprints and your memories

Jacksprinter’s Sunday post is valuable. Something we find and hold near and dear to our hearts.  It could be money. It could be land. It could be freedom. Or it could be memories. For me, there is nothing more valuable than my childhood memories of our annual fall trip to climb Eagle Mountain. A tradition that started a lifelong love of nature, togetherness, family, and hiking.  

Eagle Mountain, the highest point in Minnesota, will always hold a special place in my heart. Located in the northeastern part of Minnesota at the start of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Wilderness, it is one of the best kept secrets in the Midwest. Pristine forests, magical untouched lakes and impressive wildlife are all the wonderful things you will find along the trail.

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

As a child, I hiked this trail every single fall with my family, until I moved away to college. It was a family tradition that I will never forget and is held deep within my most precious, sacred memories of childhood. The fall colors once we reached the top were an artistic tapestry of brilliant hues of pumpkin orange, golden yellow and crimson red. If I close my eyes, I can almost see it now.  Almost.

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