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Camping for the average person includes a cooler, beach bag, air mattress, tent and if you're really lucky maybe even an R.V. Luxury camping doesn't quite cut it for Benjamin Pries from Blumenort. This outdoors-man is more interested in crafting his own shelter, picking wild mushrooms and finding the most secluded places to watch the northern lights and listen to loons. Pries is looking for an adventure that teaches him something new.
"What is the goal? I don't know. It's really good to feel small and it's very easy to do that in the large amount of outdoors. You learn a lot every time you go out even when you haven't come away with any new testable knowledge. The whole experience is just super educational".
His particular style of camping is called "bush craft". He says it has a lot to do with survival skills but merely surviving isn't interesting enough for Pries, on his trips he plans to thrive. Canoeing is a big part of the journey for Pries and this of course includes a series of portages where he carries his canoe and pack on his shoulders. To limit the weight he has a creative way of packing.
"Before I go I think about things as far as what is the function not what are the actual things I need. For example, something to sleep on, something to sleep in, something to sleep under, someway of staying dry, some way of seeing when it's dark... you know that sort of thing. The hitch is it all needs to fit into a pack that you can carry across a portage trail. So I have a big dry bag that I fill full of stuff and when I get to camp I usually try to set up a tarp first".
He says he has had a portage experience where the mud was so deep he had to roll up his shorts. However he speaks positively about even that experience. For him the canoe trips are a kind of escape and it's the kind of escape that you don't get at a regular campground.
"It's hard to feel enveloped by wilderness when you're enveloped with 1000 other people. Yeah, you have to really embrace the sucky-ness of portages when it's muddy and buggy but every portage behind you, you leave behind the people".
He says the further you go the more peaceful it gets.
Pries has been canoeing ever since he was a young boy and he says he finds comfort in being in the outdoors.
"When I was a kid, I would have bad dreams and my dad would say 'think about canoeing, imagine you were canoeing' so it has always been a peaceful, homey place for me".
Although Pries isn't too keen on sharing his secluded slice of heaven with the rest of the world he does encourage people to try it. He says all you need is a canoe and a willingness to sleep outside.
Pries shared some photo's from his canoe trips for our gallery.
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