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The Madison Healthy Vegan Meetup Group Message Board › roadtrip proposal- Raw Deal, Ecopolitan, wild blueberry picking/camping/cano

roadtrip proposal- Raw Deal, Ecopolitan, wild blueberry picking/camping/canoeing, Boundary Waters

A former member
Post #: 96
I've done a few trips to the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota (­) in late July, to camp, canoe, and pick blueberries, and highly, highly recommend it. It can be a peak experience, one that you will remember always, as a highlight in your life. As stated on the website, it is listed by National Geographic as one of the top 50 places to see in a lifetime, pristine controlled wilderness (no electricity, no cellphone access, no signs, no buildings, only canoe access in most areas- you can canoe for days up there sometimes without seeing other people, drink water straight from certain lakes and spring fed streams, eat aquatic plants, skinny dip, etc.). During good years, people can pick up to 3 gallons of blueberries in an hour (one of the years I've experienced this abundance). The trip up there (7 hours from Madison) can also be enjoyable for veg*ns, as we've visited/stayed overnight at the River Haven veg*n intentional community near Menomonie, tubed on their lazy river and enjoyed the residents' gracious hospitality. There is also the excellent Raw Deal restaurant in Menomonie (vegan but for honey, I think),­, then Ecopolitan vegan/raw restaurant, in Minneapolis,­ plus excellent little coops, farmstands, and parks along the way. It's an amazing journey, one I was missing enviously while I lived in northern California up until the end of 2008.

Closer to Madison, there is pretty good wild blueberry picking (which is encouraged by the rangers, who distribute maps of picking areas) in the Necedah Wildlife Refuge (an hour and a half drive).

Iron River, Wisconsin has a blueberry festival, and it might be fun to do a trip to Bayfield, for picking, maybe canoe/kayak in and around the Apostle Islands, go to the waterfalls up there.

Another area that was recommended to me, that I've yet to try, is Sylvania National Forest, a similar experience to the Boundary Waters, while not as hardcore.

Unfortunately, with Obama's plan to endorse nuclear power on a massive scale, mining is about to expand dramatically in the north, from the Upper Peninsula to Northern Minnesota (uranium, as well as other minerals, are in very short supply, but seem to exist under native reservations and parks, at this point),
effects of this kind of mining, http://www.greatlakes...­­ says,
'It is still one of the most pristine places you can travel to and camp in. It is still one of the few places on earth where you can find water pure enough for drinking in the wild.'

Maybe the Mall of America should put a branch in the Boundary Waters, if only to deter the mining. I've yet to hear of a mall being destroyed to make way for a mine.

The idea that we should be enjoying, photographing, and documenting these great pristine places while they still exist, makes a lot of sense. And I think the effects on one's character can be profound. It's important to have a connection to the land, and understand how the native peoples lived for thousands (maybe ten thousand years) before us. Much of these areas are, alas, likely to be destroyed in our lifetimes. It makes me sick right through my heart to admit this, but it has to be faced straight-on.

"what remains in time,
that didn't fade away,
sometimes I need to see,
the way it used to be"-psb
user 3929157
Madison, WI
Post #: 23
Sounds like a lot of fun; I'll go.
user 9821523
Madison, WI
Post #: 7
Great Idea. I would love a good ole raw food camping trip!
A former member
Post #: 1
Necedah Wildlife Refuge would be a nice day trip. I think it would be fun to go up before the picking session and check out the location.

user 3482538
Austin, TX
Post #: 1
Hello All,

This is a fabulous idea/plan! I would immensely enjoy a get together with like minded souls on a journey like this.

I just was at Ecopolitan the other day... all I can say is FABULOUS!! It's a MUST-SEE, MUST-DO. This is a restaurant that knows raw food preparation. It's not like the Green Owl which does a (very lame) token raw dish every now and then "because they have to." There's a world of difference when the kitchen is ALL raw, is trained in raw, lives the raw lifestyle, teaches raw, and knows raw inside-and-out. It takes special knowledge to do raw properly and Ecopolitan is very-much THERE! It is also the ONLY raw restaurant in all of Minnesota (if you ignore roadkill).

I've wanted to do the blueberry picking thing for a LONG time and this has to be the year!!

My home is 5-hours NORTH of Madison... so, I could meet up with the caravan at some point along the road somewhere and take a couple of riders in my Eurovan Camper. I also have a canoe that can be used... or I imagine that there are rentals at the BWCA. I would prefer to campout in the Eurovan (it's like a modern hippie van with a pop-top).

David is kinda the ruler-in-chief of the group here, so let's run any plans through "management" before getting too far into it. In fact, I had thought of bugging David for a "field trip" to Ecotopia, but he's been grounded in Brussels for the past week.

I'll be in Austin Texas until about May 20th... but will LOVE to participate with an outing like this at any time after that. Please keep me very much in the loop.

I can be reached "off list" here: garrett.elists "at" gmail "dot" com (obviously replace the "at" and "dot" with the appropriate symbols)

Best wishes all,

A former member
Post #: 2
I love this idea too, keep me posted!
A former member
Post #: 3
Um, just noticed I'm the only female!! Are there any spouses/ families interested? My husband would go too, I just don't want to end up on a hardcore guys weekend!!
A former member
Post #: 97
a bit more background, as there is lots of interest (just as in past years)-
Necedah would be a day trip (one we would want to schedule closer to July because weather will effect the date when the blueberries are really rockin').

A Sylvania trip we would want to preplan further in advance than Necedah (we could set dates now, make sure permits are purchased by June) as that would be at least 3 days for the trip (maybe we could leave late morning Fri./early aft./return late Sunday night if people can't get off work to make it a true 3 day weekend).

Boundary Waters is more of an expedition in the sense of needing 4 days/3 nights for the trip (5 days is my preference) and not just preplanning (by June), but more detailed oriented planning (finding out how far people really want to canoe (10 miles to 40-50? choosing beginner or intermediate route), canoe assignments, item lists, waterproof packing). In the Boundary Waters, you leave the way you came in, even if you get hurt (difficult to get a helicopter to come), so that's an important consideration. Usually we go either the last weekend of July or 2nd last weekend (depending on how the season is shaping up, and Farmers Almanac's, Climate Prediction Center's forecasts, etc.).

The first year I went with two women (who were partners) and we did just a beginner's route for 4 days/3 nights, and it was a blast, picked loads of berries. I didn't know them well but they were very easygoing, few problems, we left good friends.

The second year I went with raw foodists from Chicago (4 men, 4 women), and it was bit more stressful with a big group (9 people), only got to do 2 nights/3 days, still fun, got a good amount of berries, beginner route.

The third year was the most difficult (intermediate route (because everyone was in good shape and I had two yrs. experience, we erroneously bit off more than we could chew), 3 raw foodists from Chicago and myself), forest fires had burned a good deal of the area we were in, we didn't get good info from the outfitters etc. Trying to do the intermediate route with three beginners was tough, and the attitude was not quite there to make the most of it, alas, but still fun and rewarding (I ate loads of aquatic plants that year), not as many berries on our route.

So my preference is to take people on a beginner's route with lots of time (to let people learn how to paddle, etc). But I would be willing to do an intermediate route again if we got enough people to do it, provided it could overlap with a beginner's route. One of the restrictions of the Boundary Waters is that only 9 people can be in one group (and a max of 4 canoes I believe) per permit/campsite. We could also take two groups if we got enough people (and maybe have one group do an intermediate route that split off from the other beginner route, if warranted) but that is unlikely. I haven't found the male/female ratio to matter to the group's success (the first and third years were all female except myself). The most hardcore Boundary Waters campers I know are an all female group who took an ex gf of mine some years ago, which inspired me to go with her friends firstly (separately tho, there is no way we could have kept up! Some in their group are geology, geography, forestry faculty at Stevens Point, we were hardly a match for them...I think they prefer to have an all female group, and only some in their group are veg*n anyways). Part of the fun is stopping at River Haven, Raw Deal, and Ecopolitan, to echo the comment above about Ecopolitan, a must-see.

Right now I have just one other female (single) interested, no spouses/families yet. I'll keep everyone posted. I thank everyone for their interest and enthusiasm. Yes, to getting our moderator, David's, approval. I'm not a big leader type [and definitely not a trail-nazi], but a patient teacher, nonetheless.
A former member
Post #: 7
Oooh, I'd be interested too. My daughter might be a bit young for a lot of canoeing, but please keep us posted.
user 9013043
Madison, WI
Post #: 2
I'm up for the Necedah trip for sure... sounds like a blast! And maybe the shorter camping trip, though as a business owner it might be a bad idea for me to be off the internet for 3 days... sigh...

I dropped by a nursery in Reed's Creek (near Viroqua) today and I'm considering whether to buy a couple of blueberry bushes. Apparently they grow pretty well around here as long as you add sulfur to the soil. I could have blueberry expeditions to my back yard!
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