This has been an amazing introduction to an incredible place. We successfully managed to rendezvous with our dear friend Amanda on her journey east from Washington State as we were making our way west. Actually we’d both departed from Ohio in mid-June, so her trip to meet up with us involved considerably more miles. The planning for this visit took place over just the past few weeks and curiously we arrived at Arnold’s Campground in International Falls, Minnesota within minutes of each other. Voyageurs National Park in the extreme northeast part of Minnesota is the only national park named after a group of people, the French Fur Traders who plied these waters as part of the supply chain providing beaver pelts for European fashion markets in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Since 1975 it’s been Minnesota’s only national park. Since forty percent of the surface area of the park is comprised of lakes, having access to a boat is a definite asset. We’d counted on being able to book a tour once we arrived but the official park tours were cancelled mid-season due to a mishap and the local guides were booked two weeks out. We briefly considered breaking out our inflatable kayaks then decided instead to concentrate on hiking and save the boat trip for next visit. That’s an excellent reason to return. Over the course of the two full days we had together we spent quite a bit of time talking to rangers, checking out the displays in the Rainy Lake and Ash River Visitor Centers, learning about the natural and cultural history of the area, drinking in the fabulous land and waterscapes, and getting hints about how to make our next visit even more exciting.