Summer: Wilderness Canoeing

Status: Operational

Picture a pristine lake surrounded by pines. There’s not a single dock, cabin or vehicle to disturb the silence. Bald eagles soar overhead and loons cry during a rose-colored sunset. Enormous pike, walleye, and bass swim in waters that only canoes can ply, as motors are prohibited. No developed campgrounds exist; just a few primitive sites with a fire ring and latrine. You experience a profound sense of peace as you paddle your canoe across a lake as smooth as glass, in awe of God’s creation and the majesty of the One who created it all. Now multiply that lake by more than a 1,000 times and that’s canoeing in Boundary Waters.

Location: Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area (Ely, Minnesota)


Boundary Waters is a 1.2 million-acre wilderness area on the Canada/Minnesota border, with over 1,000 pristine lakes. With no roads, structures, or motors allowed, its clear waters, solitude, and wildlife make it a canoeing paradise. The fishing is outstanding! Participants will spend the first two nights at a rented house in Ely, learning the wilderness skills they’ll use in Boundary Waters. They’ll spend five nights canoeing, fishing, camping and exploring, with the final night at the rented house in Ely. Throughout the experience, everyone will participate in Campfire Talks; these are biblically-based discussions on Christian manhood (more info below).


  • Youth: Young men ages 12-18 at the time of the trip (exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis). No canoeing/outdoor experience is necessary. Youth without a father figure in their life will have priority; if we have room, however, we’ll take young men who do have a father figure in their life.
  • Adults Mentors: These are adult men who are Believers with a heart for Christ. They must have canoeing/camping/fishing experience, as they will assist the young men as needed. Mentors may be the father/relative of a young man on the trip, but it’s not required.


Of Mountains & Men provides nearly everything for this life-shaping experience. All equipment is provided: canoes, tents, sleeping bags, fishing gear, etc. All main meals are provided, and we cover the cost of youth fishing licenses. Transportation costs to/from Ely are a participant’s responsibility. Participants need only bring their clothing/personal gear/snacks. A detailed packing list will be sent to all participants.

Skills Phase (Base Camp) – 2 Days

Base Camp will be in the Ely, Minnesota area adjacent to Boundary Waters area. Participants will be housed in dorm-style rooms with showers and hot meals. You’ll receive instruction on and practice the following skills:

  • Camp life and camaraderie
  • Fire-starting
  • Canoeing (water safety, paddle strokes, emergencies, etc.)
  • Fishing
  • Fish cleaning
  • Knife Sharpening
  • First aid knowledge

Lakes Phase (Boundary Waters) – 6 Days

Each teen/mentor team will paddle their own canoe with gear as you’re led on a multi-lake adventure in the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area. Skills acquired through the Skills Phase will be put into practice with an emphasis on fun, exploration, and appreciation for God’s Creation. Daily activities include fishing, swimming, exploration and campfires.

Campfire Talks

Throughout the trip, everyone participates in our Campfire Talks. These are biblically-based discussions centered on the book ‘Wild At Heart’ by John Eldredge. Discussions about Christian masculinity will occur throughout the trip. For more information click here.

Have Questions? Email us at

The only cost to teens and mentors is their transportation to/from Base Camp.

Want to help with those costs? Make a donationsponsor a teen or purchase equipment and you can make a difference!