The Boundary Waters, an ecological paradise located in the remote wilderness of northern Minnesota near the Canadian border, where most forms of technology, including motorized vehicles are prohibited, and for good reason. To travel, you must canoe from site to site in which expeditions can take multiple hours, and sometimes a full day. This includes the occasional portage, which involves carrying your canoe over your head along with all of your belongings over treacherous terrains and distances that can be nearly a mile long, depending on your location.
This type of trip is not for the timid. However, the accolades of completing such an excursion are beyond the capacity of history’s greatest minds, including Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Benjamin Franklin, Kanye West, and William Shakespeare.
And perhaps the greatest of these accolades is gazing upon the appearance of true majestic elegance. A vision that makes the heart instantly skip a beat and the stomach swell with butterflies that have been given lethal doses of meth-amphetamine. I’m talking about the first time you lay eyes on the exalting figure of a pure specimen in her natural state. I’m talking about, the Boundary Babe…
So what is a boundary babe exactly? Well, if you look up the definitions, you’ll find the following:
Boundary: Something that indicates bounds or limits.
Babe: A girl or woman, especially an attractive one (slang definition)
But a Boundary Babe… Well, I wish it were that easy…
You see, it can take years, even decades to fully understand what and who a boundary babe is, but only mere moments to appreciate their presence. Babes come in all different forms. They can be of the sort of a girl in the workout room in a spandex outfit with big bo… eh, ahem, ayayaya (see The Girl in the Workout Room)… OR a cutie, who despite her poor attitude, you give her the time of day for sporting the colors of the world’s greatest football team (which is the Green Bay Packers, just to be clear, see Wisconsin, Part 3 for full context). However, one thing is for certain… You never forget the first time your see a boundary babe. And trust me, you will know instantly the moment one crosses your line of sight.
If you ever come across a Boundary Babe consider yourself fortunate. Two, now that’s rarity… and a blessing.
To be a boundary babe, you must be ready to accept adventure at the whim of an instant. It may take a wild one who is able to gracefully walk out the door with only two hours of sleep, gladly accepting the challenge before her.
They are tough, driven, and determined, and can endure any type of hardship or weather. However, they also have heart and understand that weaker members of their party may need a little extra energy and encouragement from time to time. So asking them to stop at a Hardees in Hinkley, Minnesota for a double XL fully loaded omelet biscuit may not be the most ideal, but will be an acceptable sacrifice in order to build morale and productivity for the group as a whole.
A boundary babe will never give up… under any circumstance. Though fatigued and malnourished, she will navigate through violent waters for hour’s non-stop until she finds the perfect spot to settle for her crew. And when it becomes apparent that the outfitter has failed to provide her with the basic necessities for survival, she does not panic. She does not fret. And most importantly, she does not complain. The boundary babe is forever thankful for the gifts that Mother Nature has provided her, and does not need the luxuries of cooking stoves or other modern amenities to produce fire and provide her party with dinner, for she will survive with the resources laid out in front of her with comfort and glee. She will even go as far as to share her last portions of puppy chow to satisfy the less experienced of the group, if absolutely necessary.
There is no portage too long, too steep, or too difficult for the Boundary Babe to conquer, for she will risk life and limb to carry a 70 pound canoe on her shoulders across a land mass of steep cliffs, piercing trees, and limited visibility without hesitation. If she happens to falter, you dare not ask her for help, for this task is hers, and hers alone to accomplish, and she will carry on with honor and pride, as if her name is Atlas, holding the world upon her shoulders. Only this Atlas will never shrug off the weight… under any circumstance.
One must understand however that a boundary babe will not always deliver you a warm reaction. They do not put up with incompetence, nor do they take unnecessary crap from anyone. They may demean you for actions such as forgetting how to tie the knot that holds your canoe to the Subaru, or waking up multiple times during the night for water because you may have decided to drink a little too much Jagermeister before bed, causing a ruckus in the tent where the team dwells. And don’t even think about asking them silly questions such as “are we having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch?” Especially if it was you who packed the lunch and you all ready know the answer to be a firm and astounding, “No.” You will only trigger a fiery response so fierce and demoralizing that it would bring tears to the eyes of the most stoic of grown men.
This attitude is not meant to belittle or disparage, but instead intended to make the rookies of the group grow stronger in their boundary experience. They know that only the durable and mighty can survive out in the boundary waters. Aka, no room for wussies (Ben Woodward’s), and they will do all that is necessary to toughen you up, testing you every step of the way until you have proven that you are able to endure the challenges that the Boundary Waters will bestow upon you.
And if you manage to overcome the challenges faced along your adventure, your hard work and determination will not go unnoticed. The boundary babe believes in redemption, and will reward you for your efforts to become worthy of such an experience, in much the same was you felt as a child, looking out with wonder upon a freshly placed mountain of presents under a tree on Christmas morning.
This feeling can come in the most common form of being within a natural habitat, watching a sunset cross over a pristine lake that has barely been touched by the fouls of civilization. It is so crystal clear, that you can see an impeccable reflection of the sky, untouched forest, and surrounding geography to the point where you can hardly tell which way is up and which way is down. All of this complimented perfectly by the company of two babes who have prepared the perfect thanksgiving meal, in which no words need to be uttered to express your thanks… The simple beauty that surrounds you is the only explanation needed.
And when the night falls, they will take you on a boundary cruise, canoeing through a pitch-black field of liquid purity to gaze upon a blanket of stars laid above them across the sky. They brush the possibility of death; navigating with a natural, pinpoint precision through blind waters just so you can discover the elegance of God’s creation. This magnificent display, both out of this world and sitting in a canoe next to you makes you realize that it’s moments like these that make life worth living for; moments you will cherish for the rest of your life, with the hope and possibility that one day, you may once again experience a similar glory that has been bestowed upon this Earth.
And once the journey is over, and you’ve stepped out of your canoe for the final time, haggard from the arduous trek back into modern society, you take a glance at the Boundary Babes following closely behind. You see their arms caped in red, bulging bumps from the non-stop attacks of blood-lusting mosquitoes, their legs covered in scrapes and scratches from their odyssey across thick tree brush to gather as much firewood as possible to offer temporary comfort after a long day of scouting for camp sites, the knotted state of their hair from days without a proper shower, and the dirt smeared all across their face from the hell they have endured in order to reach a destination that resembles heaven on Earth…
It is a sight like this that takes your breathe away, for you realize that the Boundary Babe leaves the Boundary Waters in a state more stunning and more dashing than the moment when she first entered the canoe to venture out into an unknown landscape that so few have ever had the luxury of ever witnessing. It is then when you realize the potential of true beauty. Not from plastic surgery and globs of make-up, nor from an advertisement of a paper-thin model plastered across a billboard, but from the inner beauty that blossoms from the euphoria of observing an area of the world so unadulterated and unknown to the human race, mixed with the beautiful smile of a soul who has been freed of the toxins polluting the modern world.
The truth is, I could write an entire thesis describing the grace and refining qualities of a Boundary Babe, and it still wouldn’t do the justice she deserves. The only way to truly know who and what a Boundary Babe is, is to experience the Boundary Waters yourself with one by your side (or two if you’re EXTREMELY lucky).
So I encourage anyone with enough will and enough courage to create your own adventure out to the Boundary Waters, to find your own Boundary Babe, and to make your own memories that will forever change your perception of beauty; memories that will change your life… memories that you will preserve for the rest of your days until the Great Father takes you home.
So how do you answer the question, “What is a Boundary Babe?”
Easy. The best kind there is.