The middle of nowhere is surprisingly hard to find

By Matt Crossman

Seven vultures squawked from atop trees lining the shore. Their black bodies stood stark against the deep blue sky. As my guide, Ryan Fagan, and I paddled our canoe toward them, they loped from treetop to treetop, vying for the best seats, an avian version of musical chairs.

I dug my paddle into Boze Lake and pulled. The sheathed machete latched to my belt rustled against my hip. We were deep in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The slightest misstep — a flipped canoe, a twisted ankle, a kidney stone — would turn this exciting adventure into a dangerous disaster, a thought I couldn’t unthink beneath those vultures. …


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