Listen as the loons wail and the water washes ashore.
Silhouettes of pines and islands stand against the water, lighted by the sunlight preceding the morning star.
This is Voyageurs National Park, far north in Minnesota where the towns are few and the trees innumerable. International Falls is nearby, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is just to the southeast.
From Kettle Falls, a historic site in the park, visitors can look south into Canada from one of the few places possible in the US. About 90 percent of Voyageurs is accessible by water but some hiking trails traverse the mainland. Bring a canoe.
A snapping turtle slides into the water off the rocky side of Cemetery Island. Common loons splash and bathe in the dazzling blue waters. A woody smell fills the air on land where deadfall and moss cover the ground.
If you’re lucky, you’ll see the northern lights after 11 on a late summer night. Pink and orange greet the dawn when the sun rises. The afternoon grows hot as the sun hangs high in the sky.
The rhythm of the oars and the passing of the wind are about the only sounds on the water. Lake Kabetogama, comprised within the park, is a soup bowl of blue waters and green islands.
A motorboat blows over the water, disturbing the silence. Canoeists carry on in the distance, unflappable against the wakes and waves.
When night comes, stars shine like stage lights from above. The darkness is deep and the campfire cozy. Wood crackles in the fire, casting an orange glow on the sylvan silence around it.
Loons call, and one flies overhead in the upending dark. Their haunting chorus creates a melody on the water late at night. Frogs sound in the shallows. Trees sway in the nighttime breeze.
This is Voyageurs.