Tortoise Raging

It went too well!  The problem with having a nearly perfect trip is there is less of a story to tell.   The  TL,DR (“Too Long, Don’t Read”) version of this goes: The weather was awesome, we were awesome.  It was almost too easy.

Dare I say it was too easy to qualify for Type 2 Fun?  Which is kind of amazing for a winter camping trip in the BWCA.  Especially considering last years thwarted camping.

When things are going comically poorly we have fewer photos but better stories.  I know it was mostly Type 1 Fun because there were plenty of photos.

Things were so comfortable Will took plenty of video and put together this beautiful little film of our trip.


I have just one story to tell.  This is the story of Tortoise Raging.

It began with underestimating of the portage into Angleworm Lake, again.  Just four months ago we paddled this exact same route… and the portage took us twice as long as we expected. There was lots of cursing.  A combination of amnesia and denial made us think this time it would be a breeze.
Will figured “There’s no mud, and that’s what slowed us down last time!”
But of course this time there was deep snow and we were pulling pulks.

Pulling the pulks (sleds with gear) through the woods on a twisting, undulating trail with downed trees was… well… challenging.  Gear kept slipping out of their tie downs and the pulks would wrap themselves around trees.

It was infuriatingly slow.  We did not make it to Angleworm Lake that day.

The next day, after some readjusting I discovered better methods of coaxing my pulk slowly through the woods.  It included naming her Bertha and encouraging her sweetly.
I’d say “Come on Bertha, this way.  Be a good girl and follow me.”

Will’s pulk kept flipping over.  Which would require him to unhitch, walk back, flip it upright, possibly reattach something, and then hitch back up.  Will decided to take a different tactic with his pulk; naming it Jingle Jangle Butt Bastard or JB for short.  JB responded best to cursing and threats.

It was all worth it.  We had one of the best camp homes we’ve ever made.

Two days later a blizzard was coming in and it was time to head back.  With all our gear packed up we skied back towards the portage.  We braced ourselves with renewed expectations of epic slowness.

On our way, Will told me of an actual race between a real live tortoise and hare.  He reenacted the whole thing  – which was way better than the real deal.  Will, acting as the hare, darted ahead to only stop halfway having lost interest.  The tortoise plodded forward at a steady pace.  Will exaggerated slow-motion, his neck straining and an eye bugging out towards the imaginary finish line.  The crowd (Will) went crazy.  The hare made a feble attempt to get back into the race but the tortoise was already at the finish line.

The only way to conquer this portage was to do it tortoise style.  This led us to our rallying cry.  We would be raging tortoises!  We would be unfazed by plodding steps and stuck pulks.  We would rage at a slow and steady pace.

It worked.  We made it through the portage in half the time.  Although I did completely sweat through my layers.

It earned us two lovely days of day skiing from the cabin.

For our last day up north we spent 13 hours enjoying the local booze.

After Castle Danger Brewing, Bent Paddle Brewing, Blacklist Brewing, and Canal Park Brewing… I found ice fascinating.

Actually, I always find ice fascinating.  Maybe it’s that Will is more amused with me.

We did swanky cocktails at Vikre Distillery before ending our night with a fun band Carmody Irish Pub.

This vacation was just too fun.

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8 Responses to Tortoise Raging

  1. Nancy Zhao says:

    what a delight to share in your adventures.

  2. Mary Walters says:

    Kim, I religiously follow your blog via email. You’re commitment and elan are inspiring. This particular blog made me smile; Will’s video was the capstone to a beautifully crafted memoir. Keep moving …and writing!

  3. Sara Steinberger says:

    Love the time lapse of camp setup! And I will now have the raging tortoise to keep in mind the next time I plod onward. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Tortoise raging is my life – slow progress. | Midwest With Zest

  5. Candlin Dobbs says:

    Dear Kym, I have been thinking of you lately as I do my morning exercises… how nice to find this video and get to see you and your fella together. Thanks for keeping this blog and letting me live vicariously your adventures and the many kinds of fun. A good reminder always not to fear stretching ones boundaries. Who ever thought snow camping could be type 1 fun!

    • Kym Zest says:

      Candlin, how wonderful to hear from you! It’s nice to hear you’re enjoying my blog. I hope you have been having all sorts of fun in Vermont.

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