Every season has its appeal, but something about the cold and the snow appeals to me, and seems to calm the chaos of everyday life. I wait for winter the same way that most kids wait for their summer vacation.
Winter makes no apologies – you’re either prepared to take it on, or you’re going to suffer until spring. Six years ago, when I was 8, I first learned to really LOVE it when my parents took me dogsledding with Wintergreen in the BWCA. Since then (except for last winter when chemo kept me on lockdown), I’ve travelled and camped in the dead of winter in the BWCA, Svalbard (Norway) and Greenland.
If you want to spend your winter outside, in the wilderness, you better be prepared to work for it. There’s no easy way to do it: No easy way to camp, cook, travel, get or stay warm. You have to plan, think, be prepared and earn the right to be there.
What is the best thing about Winter camping in the Wilderness? Not many people can go do it, and the ones who can are the ones that you want to go spend time with. A few days ago, I took a dogsled into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to resupply my friends, Dave and Amy, during their Year In The Wilderness. I got to spend time with my dad and brother and our good friend Jason. I also got the chance to share my favorite place with awesome guys and hosts of the TV show Rock The Park, Jack and Colton!
This trip was amazing. The first night was truly cold. We got to hear the sap freezing and cracking the trees, saw huge icicles hanging from cliffs where small drizzles of water run in the summer, rolled around and played with the sled dogs and sat around the fire telling stories.
I’ve learned a lot about the world that grown-ups inhabit during the past year. I know that at my age, I’m supposed to be itching to be an adult. Based on what I’ve seen, it is a pretty constrained place. So many needs compete with simply doing what’s right: political agendas, financial needs, protection of status. It gets complicated and messy, but it make makes me appreciate the simplicity of being a 14-year-old kid whose parents and friends and community support my simple Wish: to protect and preserve the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for everyone, forever.
So sign the petition, write your representatives, donate to the campaign and lend your voice to the thousands of us fighting to save the BWCA. This is how we stand up together and say, “Not here. Not now. Not ever.” to the mining that will destroy it.
[photos by Jason Zabokrtsky]
Joseph Goldstein (age 14) took his first trip to the Boundary Waters when he was around 8 years old. Joseph was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in October 2014. Since then, he committed to helping protect the Boundary Waters. Joseph traveled to Washington, D.C., last March to meet with federal decision makers and deliver 60,000 petition signatures in support of permanently protecting the Boundary Waters from proposed sulfide-ore copper mining. Joseph plans to to help Explorers Dave and Amy Freeman during each season of A Year In The Wilderness by resupplying the Freemans with supplies and food. Learn more about Joseph’s story in his own words.