Secret Spots: How to Survive in the Woods Like a Boss
Somewhere in northern Minnesota
When the wind stopped talking to the stately pines, and the waves settled into calm glass, I could at once hear the lonesome wail of the loon and the distant cry of an eagle in flight. The sun waxed amber over the western shores, distantly beautiful and studded in balsam and papal and birch. The pine-scented air hung freshly in the encampment, as I came down to the canoe for to survey my kingdom and the wilderness sanctum that which spanned the miles nary soiled by the hand of man. I stood there at the water’s edge, gazing, letting the silence which echoed through the forested primeval melt into my mind, and drip down hither into my soul. This is where I longed to be. Where I simply had to be. Living deliberately. Somewhere in northern Minnesota.
My Secret Spot
No, I shall not in a thousand and one blogs be likely to illuminate you as to where this lovely photo was snapped. I cannot reveal my paradise, not even to you good folk and readership of the POTP. You must understand the glories of the quieter places, and the toils upheld there to preserve them. Nay, you’re just going to have to go find your own wilderness sanctum, let it’s magic sidle upon you and nestle into your heart, and when you return home, figure out yourself how to not mistakenly divulge your secret spot’s location. It’s hard not to tell people, but alas, it would not be a secret spot any more if you did. So I won’t. I will tell you however, that we did eat well out there. Not all camping is hardtack and swamp water you know. Not if you’re a patron of the pit.
Brought the Solo Titan along on this romp. You might remember this piece of kit from last autumn. We did a review on it. A wood gassifier stove! Yeah, it’s a wee bit too heady to explain right now, but if you want to read the review and learn all about it, here is a link for that. Solo Stove Titan Review
We cooked up a couple of bannocks and this lovely dish of corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. A filling way to start a day in the bush. Or were we ending the day? No matter, good is good.
Somewhere Else in Minnesota
Oh we’ve been getting around. Let me show you another secret spot about 7 hours away from the last spot. Stream-side we were, where the native brook trout make their home and lives in the swift flowing currents of this quaint river. I couldn’t catch trout this day, but that did not mar my dinner plans. I knew I wouldn’t woo any trout so I brought along a suitable protein in it’s stead. Steak!
For this cook we broke out the old Mojoe Griddle. Remember this beast? If ever there was a love affair with a 1/4 inch, hot-rolled, 35 pound steel disc, then this is it. As always, a privilege to cook on, especially in the prettier places. It’s a restaurant grade griddle, and could not be more fun. If you want to learn more about the Mojoe, check out our review in this link – Mojoe Griddle
Aside the babbling stream we fried up a massive hunk of steak, sided with several piles of black beans and corn and fajita stuff; all of this was served over a good bowl of red beans and rice, and thus topped with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. Go ahead and wipe the drool from your chin now…We’ll stand by and wait for you. Oh man that was good! I could eat this every day!
And….Somewhere Else Again…Still in Minnesota
This secret spot was along Lake Superior. That’s all I’ll disclose. Suffice it to say there is no better place to cool off on a summer’s day than on the rugged shore of the big lake they call “Gitchigumi” . That’s Ojibway for “Huge Water“, in case you’re interested. Anyways, we ate good here too! Man was it pretty!
More steak and beans, this time on the Instagrill. Yet another cooking gem we reviewed not long ago. Truly a portable charcoal powered cooking unit fit for the gypsy and wandering nomad in all of us. Love this little pit!
We cooked all our meals on it at this campsite. Here is a lovely breakfast burrito in the making. We’re toasting the tortilla whilst the ham and egg and cheese innards stay warm up in the corner. We really enjoyed cooking over this thing. The perfect camping grill. If you missed the review of this one, you can check it out here, InstaGrill Review
Or better yet, just check out their website Myinstagrill. By the way, they met their kickstarter goal, and are supposed to go into production of this little cooker this summer sometime. Good on you Jonathan!
A fine little grill to be sure. But if you can swing it, and have the inclination, not to mention perhaps a fair degree of lunacy, then nothing beats a 22 inch Weber Kettle grill in camp!
Somewhere Else’s Else….Yes, still in Minnesota
Boy we’ve been living the camper’s dream this spring. Gone every other weekend, living sweet lives. My cronie, bless his heart, he done dragged this Weber kettle about an 1/8 of a mile down the winding trail, through the woods and across creeks, to one of our favorite campsites, where upon we enjoyed quaint billowing clouds of wood smoke and the aromas of slow cooking pork ribs. Nothing is quite so fine as that in a rustic, backwoods encampment. It would have been better tho, I suppose, had he remembered to bring the cooking grate.
Indeed. But with a few pop cans and some green branches procured from the camp-side thickets, we were able to make do and eat well anyways, patron to the pit. Let no obstacle stand between a man and his meat! It’s all about working with what you’ve got, and adapting to your place in the sun. And that is how you stay alive in the woods, not to mention some secret spots of paradise that we can’t really tell you about. You understand.
Life is good when you go bush. Life is even better if you have good food there. And we did. And you can too! Amen.
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Like a boss is right!
June 16, 2017 at 10:49 am
Well we do what we can! Aloha!
June 16, 2017 at 10:54 am
I really need to get lost in Minnesota. Lovely post.
June 17, 2017 at 5:30 am
Thanks Conor. Yeah , if you’re going to get lost, then this ain’t a bad spot to do it in. Unless it’s winter. You wouldn’t like our winters I don’t think. But the other 6 months… paradise !
June 17, 2017 at 1:23 pm
Wonderful first photo, could just about immigrate for that.
Lacquered beans, how’d that work out? Used to do that kind of thing when cans were tinned but these days not so sure…
And your mate leaving the grill: – a green mistake remedied by being a stickler with a can do attitude?
June 18, 2017 at 7:05 am
G’day mate! I know, isn’t that purrty. That is a very routine scene too, up in northern Minnesota. In canoe country. Truly the gem of the state. Every time you go there, you see stuff like that. And you pine to return again whence you leave. Good stuff.
So was the beans, It worked out OK as far as I know. It was more for poetic reasons than anything, and it never did get too hot, which is probably a good thing for what chemicals may leech with prolonged heat exposure. Beans taste good any temperature tho, at least to me. But yeah, as a practice, cooking in your cans should probably be infrequent these days, sadly.
As to the missing gear, well, this isn’t the first time with that bloke. But man, when you’re out in the woods and you have a rack of ribs, and well, most of a Weber, you just gotta figure out a way! And we did.
June 18, 2017 at 9:44 am
I sure relate to the necessity of a secret spot (or several of them) where the timbers moan each evening and very large animals pad through camp looking for the food pack hung high.
June 21, 2017 at 8:09 pm
Indeed, reading your accounts of the BWCA, I’m quite sure you have several secret spots tucked away. Maybe we even share the same secret spot! You never know.
Good of you to drop by, Gary! Bless ya mate
June 21, 2017 at 11:08 pm
I need to find a little secret spot and get lost.
June 22, 2017 at 3:02 am
Something we should all do from time to time.
June 22, 2017 at 9:04 am
What a grand adventure. I appreciate your devotion to the arts by hauling your gear to campsites, and I admire your resourcefulness in creating a makeshift grill grate for ribs. Well done. Cheers!
July 22, 2017 at 12:11 pm
Oh yes, thank you Todd. Have cooking gear, will travel. I love that kind of stuff! Good times.
July 22, 2017 at 2:50 pm