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Canoeing the Flambeau River: Part 1

The Journal of Ron Griswell
08 Aug 2022

Personal Note + Intro

I spent a beautiful 3 days canoeing the Flambeau in Northern Wisconsin with the Eddie Bauer team paddling roughly 40 miles through whitewater to slow, gentle curves and pools.

“Do Not Disturb” experiences like this are the main reason why I opt for remote locations. It’s a bittersweet feeling seeing your cell service decrease and the LTE indicator disappear as you approach your destination. On one hand you’re losing touch with the world, on the other, you’re getting more in touch with yourself. After a couple of days without emails, doom scrolling, or other often time consuming online activities, you’ll find the reset you’ve been looking for. And if you are reluctant to submerge yourself in this kind of experience, don’t worry, that reset will find you. 

This was only my second whitewater canoe trip. My first experience demanded that I tread lightly the next time I considered shooting a rapid in a canoe without the proper knowledge. Long story short, my partner and I pinned a canoe between two large rocks in the Boundary Waters Conservation Area (BWCA) and had to do a sketchy bail mid-rapid. That happened 8 years ago, so needless to say, I’ve been low-key shook ever since.
*Spoiler alert: No canoe was pinned this trip, however, one was flipped.

Trip Journal:

Day 0 – Flight from Norfolk to Minneapolis

I’m a fan of arriving to places a day before, especially with how travel has been lately delayed and canceled flights, lounges at capacity, and oversold flights. Getting in at least a day before the actual itinerary starts helps me decompress.


I took this additional time to reconnect with old friends, make new ones, explore my old stomping grounds, and get some rest for a long travel and prep day.

Day 1 – Travel from Minneapolis, MN to Eau Claire, WI

Matthew Gilbertson, EB in-house photographer + videographer, scooped me up from downtown Minneapolis before heading to the airport to grab EB guide and whitewater adventurer, Chris Korbulic. Our plan for the day was to meet up with Andrew Tiner, EB’s Expedition Marketing Manager, for a duffle shuffle (a look at all the gear), team welcome dinner, and grocery shop at the local Hy-Vee.


From 6:00am to 11:00pm, it was a full day of preparation and planning. The idea was to check into the hotel after our grocery run and continue packing, but sleep was prioritized to prepare for yet another long day of travel.

Read Part 2 of Ron’s Adventure

RON GRISWELL

Eddie Bauer One Outside Guide

Ron is an explorer, educator, and trailblazer in the outdoor industry. Frustrated by the lack of diversity in the outdoor industry, Ron founded HBCUs Outside as a bridge between the outdoor industry and students at historically Black colleges and universities. The goal is to promote wellness through outdoor activity, and also to create an interface between the industry and the talent pool that the HBCU students represent.

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