I'm still in the mental fog that comes on every year in the attempt to transition back into Eastern urban society after spending ten days alone in a car or out in the middle of nowhere with one other person with nothing but lakes and trees around us. It is always so hard to give an answer to those at home who ask How was your vacation? I don't always know the answer myself. Five times now I have driven from Philadelphia to Northern Minnesota to spend five days canoeing in the wilderness. Three thousand miles round trip for each journey, it occurred to me on the way home this year that I'd driven a total of fifteen thousand miles in order to spend less than a month's time out in the woods. Why? I ask that of myself continually during the trips. We've been rained on for days at a time. Suffered cold wet nights. Literally hated parts of the time out there, such as looking up at yet another steep rocky incline over which your 60 pound canoe must be carried on your back to the next lake. Constant nagging worry about breaking down on a remote road hours from help and out of cell phone range. The internal doubt and questioning is a constant companion throughout the trip.

The simple answer is that the rewards must far out weigh the risks because I always return. The philosophical complexities, and the visual feast.The escape into a place that is indifferent to human foibles and concerns, politically uninvolved. Most of all the visual feast.

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