It’s a late October night at Baker Lake campground, deep in the Superior National Forest miles inland from Lake Superior, where dad and I have been hurriedly setting up as darkness takes over. The air is grabbing at bare skin with a frigid scratch in part because we haven’t felt temperatures below freezing since last spring. It also feels different up here, further north, than back home, as though the edge of the Boundary Waters automatically transitions you into the Northwoods.
I’ve just settled into my seat; the cushion of my fleece-insulated pants nestled in the slouched nylon of a lightweight folding camp chair is welcome relief from chopping wood and a dripping nose. Dad, a log’s length away, is leaning back on his cot pulling on sweat pants and giggling. We’re in tight quarters but the comfort of wood heat, low white light hanging from above and each other is like no other.