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Woman of the Boundary Waters

Canoeing, Guiding, Mushing, and Surviving

1994
Author:

Justine Kerfoot
Foreword by Les Blacklock

Woman of the Boundary Waters

The Boundary Waters region of Minnesota and Ontario is a vast wilderness of quiet beauty, visited and loved by many, but home to only a rugged few. Justine Kerfoot arrived there in 1928 and has lived there ever since. As she relates her lessons from the Canadian Indians across the lake-how to paddle a canoe, hunt moose, drive a dog team, and stay warm at minus 40 degrees-Kerfoot gives us a rich sense of the world of the Indians and fur trappers. Her lyrical descriptions of wildlife and seasonal environments express the deep reverence for nature that has become her way of life.

The Boundary Waters region of Minnesota and Ontario is a vast wilderness of quiet beauty, visited and loved by many, but home to only a rugged few. Justine Kerfoot arrived there in 1928 and has lived there ever since. As she relates her lessons from the Canadian Indians across the lake-how to paddle a canoe, hunt moose, drive a dog team, and stay warm at minus 40 degrees-Kerfoot gives us a rich sense of the world of the Indians and fur trappers. Her lyrical descriptions of wildlife and seasonal environments express the deep reverence for nature that has become her way of life.

Justine is also the author of two books, Woman of the Boundary Waters and Gunflint: Reflections on the Trail. Her first book emphasizes the early years, including the struggle to get electricity, phone lines, and fire-fighting equipment in place along the trail. Both books offer stories of daily life and descriptions of nature and wildlife that are both detailed and artistic.

Minnesota Calls

The Boundary Waters region of Minnesota and Ontario is a vast wilderness of quiet beauty, visited and loved by many, but home to only a rugged few. In 1928, Justine Kerfoot arrived, a Northwestern University graduate student headed for medical school until her family lost both their Illinois homes in the stock market crash. Thrust into year-round life at her mother's fledgling summer resort, Justine was confronted with learning survival in the frigid north woods, a challenge she met with extraordinary verve and recounts with great candor and humor in this remarkable book.

As she relates her lessons from the Canadian Indians across the lake-how to paddle a canoe, hunt moose, drive a dog team, and stay warm at minus 40 degrees-Kerfoot gives us a rich sense of the world of the Indians and fur trappers. Telling the story of settlement in this rough resort area fifty miles from a town, she describes the effects of depression and forest fires and the struggles for modernization in the wild.

Kerfoot has paddled all the lakes and streams in this border country, and she knows them well. Her lyrical descriptions of wildlife and seasonal environments express the deep reverence for nature that has become her way of life. In a final chapter, she reflects on the impact of restricted wilderness status on the region-called the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness since 1978-and on her own convictions about people living in the wild.

Woman of the Boundary Waters

Justine Kerfoot was born in 1906 in Barrington, Illinois, and has been owner-operator of the Gunflint Lodge for 51 years. She has written a weekly column for the Cook County News-Herald since 1956.

Woman of the Boundary Waters

Justine is also the author of two books, Woman of the Boundary Waters and Gunflint: Reflections on the Trail. Her first book emphasizes the early years, including the struggle to get electricity, phone lines, and fire-fighting equipment in place along the trail. Both books offer stories of daily life and descriptions of nature and wildlife that are both detailed and artistic.

Minnesota Calls