Rachel Burton Paddling Hunter's Loop

Paddling on Sturgeon Lake, Quetico Provincial Park for the Hunter Island Loop

My husband and I paddled the over 160 mile long Hunter Island Loop this summer.  The loop is considered by many as the ultimate Boundarary Waters/Quetico paddling adventure. You circumnavigate Hunter Island, which is not a single island, but actually a collection of hundreds of islands with a challenging route.  You see, each summer, we typically paddle about 100 miles in 12 days.  We’d put off attempting a trip like the Hunter Island Loop because we figured we would add 60% more distance (and effort) with only 2 extra days. But last year after completing a particularly challenging and rewarding trip, we realized that we’d better just do it instead of dreaming about it, as we might not have the physical strength or good health to do it later.

Dawn on Kawnipi

Dawn on Kawnipi

And so began a year of learning, researching, reading, thinking, and planning and dreaming. It seemed to consume all of our free time, especially as our trip got closer.  In the end, it was absolutely worth it–we loved our trip!

But, as with all things, not everything turned out as we’d planned.  Some things were much harder; like when our packs got wet in the rain, the shoulder and waist straps absorbed water and then they were exceptionally heavy to carry.  Some things were much easier; like when we had several days without wind and we were able to easily paddle down the big lakes.  We explored new parts of Quetico, learned new skills, enjoyed sharing this adventure with each other, and delighted in the natural grandeur and beauty of the wilderness.

When I was reflecting on this trip, it struck me that our Hunter Island adventure was very similar to the process I see many of my clients go through to design and build their dream home.  Both start with a vision. Both take a leap of faith to decide now is the time to commit.  Both take a lot of research and planning; both are improved with expert advice to help you avoid mistakes; and both require good information at the right time so you can make your best decisions.  Both take a long time to plan and execute. Both have days with setbacks and days of happiness. And at the end of a successful completion, when the dream is realized, both leave you with feelings of relief, pride, satisfaction and joy.

And both leave you feeling it was absolutely worth it!