In 1915, Charlie & Petra Boostrom founded Clearwater Historic Lodge & Canoe Outfitters. This year we celebrate our centennial — 100 years of helping guests explore the beauty and tranquility of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
We like to think that not too much has changed here. Life is still pretty simple at Clearwater Historic Lodge. We’re still remote and surrounded by pristine natural beauty. We’re still a a place where you are more likely to meet a moose than a neighbor and where the truly dark and dazzling night skies are apt to bring out the mystic in anyone.
In honor of our founders and their legacy, we’ll be sharing stories about the Boostrom’s and the early days of Clearwater Historic Lodge and the Gunflint Trail. Many of the stories — including the passage below — come from the delightful book, Gunflint Trailblazers – The Story of Charlie & Petra Boostrom by Beatrice Flaaten Ogren published in 1977.
Meet Charlie Boostrom
“Let me tell you about Charlie. Charlie Boostrom, father of ten, builder of Clearwater Lodge, trapper, hunter, fisherman, woodsman, lumberman, game warden, guide, fireplace-construction expert, is big, strong, soft-voiced, relaxed and completely charming. (He’ll hate that last description.) His shock of white hair is usually covered by his shapeless black felt hat which he removes and uses to emphasize a point or to roll the brim around while he ponders some question. It’s casually donned again and stays where it first lands…..
“Charlie had lured me away from my ‘squaw toting’ activities for a rest while Helmer organized our supplies – tent, sleeping bags, air mattresses (our latest concession to soft living), groceries, cooking utensils, cameras, tripod, binoculars, pillows, motor, gasoline, minnow bucket, fishing rods, and clothing — all the amenities of the ‘soft’ life.
“With a tolerant smile, Charlie said, ‘You won’t need all that stuff next summer. Everything will go in packsacks. On the portages, we’ll have two canoes, paddles and packsacks so we won’t have to double back.’
“‘All the food for two weeks and clothing and all Helmer’s general paraphernalia?’
“‘Yup. For food we’ll take dried staples, dehydrated foods and the like. There’ll be fish along the way. With a reflector oven we’ll be able to have baked bread and pies with the berries that are in season. My wife and I lived in a a canoe all one summer. We’d mix the dough for bread at one end of the lake, let it rise in the bottom of the canoe while we paddled, and when we reached the other end we’d set up camp and bake it.’
“The way he described things, they sounded so simple, obvious and easy; but there you have one of the major charms of the Gunflint country. Living slows down, essentials are closer, and youdiscover suddenly there IS time — precious time — to enjoy the many treats that nature has to offer — the Basics — smells of the out-of-doors, the feel of the sun and wind, sparkle of water in the moonlight — all God’s gifts to be savored leisurely. What a treat to one from the city.”