Trapping The Boundary Waters
A Tenderfoot in the Border Country, 1919-1920
Charles Ira Cook Jr.
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On May 4, 1919, Charlie Cook set off for a year of adventure in the Minnesota-Ontario Boundary Waters. Soon abandoned by his comfort-loving companion, the restless World War I veteran spent an enlightening year learning--often the hard way--how to paddle and sail on windy lakes, hunt and fish for food, bake "rough delicacies" in a reflector oven, and build winter-proof shelters. His how-to descriptions of trapping beaver, mink, and other game are unsurpassed in their detail.
Cook also found his way into the border community of Ojibwe and mixed-blood families and a motley assortment of mysterious travelers, game wardens, and loners, including trapper Bill Berglund who "adopted" Cook until the tenderfoot's eagerness to harvest pelts came between them.
Cook's adventure climaxed in a 700-mile expedition by dogsled north into Canada, where he reached the limits of his endurance--and just barely lived to tell the tale.
For anyone who loves the Boundary Waters or wonders what this rugged region was like not so long ago. Cook's story reveals a world still ruled by nature but on the brink of change.