During the years from 1987-1991, combinations of my brothers Tom, Rob and Paul and some of our friends made trips up to the BWCA. We were all in our early 20's , young and adventurous. We were looking to have some fun, catch some fish and maybe get to know each other a little better. The trips turned out to be all of that and more.
Our friend Keith went and shared the canoe with Rob. The two of them could sign back and forth and despite their constant bickering, they got along pretty well. I was usually paired up with Paul or our friend Brad.
As I've mentioned before, Paul and I both knew enough sign language to be dangerous. I took a class or two in Milwaukee, but because I didn't use it daily, my skills diminished over time. There were a few key signs that came in handy during our long car rides. The thumb tucked under the index finger in a fist (for toilet) was one that we could flash to the other car to let them know that we needed to stop for the restroom. We messed around with other signs and/or ad-libbed and/or finger spelled enough for them to understand. It was the days before cell phones.
Anyways we had some great time on those trips and many of them are covered in my book Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir. It is the culmination of 4 years of work and highlights the highs and lows of our trips over the last 25 years.
I'll cover more about some of our experiences next time.