My parents were on their way to Duluth for my 24th birthday and I gave them a call:
“How about we paddle the Brule?” I asked my mom.
There was a brief silence on the other end of the line, hesitation that said she wasn’t thrilled about the idea but wasn’t prepared to say no on my birthday. So 20 minutes later I had my canoe strapped to the roof of my vehicle and was on my way to meet my parents in Superior, Wisconsin. From there we consolidated vehicles and navigated through the city’s orange-cone maze before moving onward to Brule.
We met my friend Joe at Brule River Canoe Rental where we loaded our kayaks in his van to be shuttled to the put-in site. My parents took that time to find the right lifejacket before we were ready for the trip.
“Beautiful,” my mom said as we settled in our boats and started paddling. Her admiration of the river reassured me that she approved of the trip … that she wasn’t just agreeing to paddle because it was my birthday. It came at no surprise because my mom is always up for an adventure. Little did she know, the adventure was about to get much more interesting.