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McKeon Testimonial
If you want to go on a wilderness adventure with an experienced guide then Ramsey is the man for you. Even before we left on the trip all the advice on what to pack and what to expect made the trip more enjoyable. If you bring what he suggests, you will have exactly what you need. We were a large somewhat inexperienced group but after instructions from Ramsey on the first day we were portaging and setting up camp like experts. We all caught many fish on the trip, for some of us it was our first fish ever caught. When one of us was hooked in the forearm after a battle with a 15 inch bass, Ramsey removed it with a simple painless trick. We all enjoyed the wonderful meals and unexpected treats like watermelon and s’mores. We also enjoyed his stories around the campfires and watching for falling stars. On our last night we were lucky enough to see several meteors and one in particular that was so close and bright we were all in awe. When Ramsey realized we enjoyed swimming, he found us a sandy beach. Only someone who has been canoeing the Boundary Waters for over 20 years would know where to find a sandy beach among all the rock. He was also kind enough to bring a shower, Warm water never felt so good. He gave us a real appreciation for history of the area and the amazing beauty. We spent one enjoyable evening watching a mother loon and her baby. He taught us to start a fire with flint and then again with dried grass, rope and a stick. Ramsey had whipped us in to such wilderness shape that on the last day we paddled 25 miles upstream with 8 portages so that we could stay at our favorite campsite one extra night. It had been 3 days since we had seen another human and none of us were anxious to return to civilization. We all agree we would like to go back to the Boundary Waters someday but only if Ramsey is our guide. What a memorable family adventure!

Thanks again, Jim, Carol, Kathy, Justin, Natalie and Scott




Maud Lyons

I love the wilderness, and always wanted to do a canoe trip, 
but I could never have traveled through the Boundary Waters 
without Ramsey.  He provided the canoe, tents, and all the 
gear and provisions - all I had to do was have clothes and 
gear in my daypack! As we paddled, he showed me Native 
American pictographs, Table Rock where French voyageurs 
spread out their wares to trade with the native people, and 
pointed out wildlife. Ramsey knew just how to make the 
campsite comfortable (and where the best campsites were), so 
evenings cooking around the fire were a joy even when it
rained, trading stories. I loved hearing the call of loons.  
We watched Western Painted Turtles make nests.  We fished 
and I learned a lot about the habits of northern pike, bass 
and walleye. He showed me how to make fire from friction, 
which I had only heard about before but not seen. In six days, 
we paddled through 19 lakes or bays, 5 streams, and made 17 
portages, some across trails that had been used for hundreds 
of years. The landscapes are beautiful, so peaceful. What a
great vacation!  

Maud Lyon, Grosse Pointe Park, MI

Thanks again!


Doug Krueger

This is an excerpt from Doug’s trip report

Within an hour, camp was all set up.After foraging for firewood, then cutting

Skills that will last you a lifetime

Skills that will last you a lifetime

and splitting it, Ramsey proceeded to show off his survival skills.  Starting with only a short length of string, he fashioned a fire bow/drill and eventually ignited a bunch of dry grass.  To this he added successively larger tinder until he had a campfire going.  He could give Les Stroud or Bear Grylls a run for their money with his love for the outdoors and his survivalist mentality.  Besides that he is as strong as an ox.  It was about this time I casually told him, intending praise in the manner of one male to another, “You know, you’re just not right.”  He grinned and shot back that his family has told him that for years



Though I don’t have a formal one, completing a canoe expedition in the Boundary Waters checks off a line on my bucket list.  Now when I come across someone who has made this trek north, I will no longer have that wistful feeling tugging at my bones.  The question remains though what did I come away with and take home with me?  Probably foremost are the many images of Ramsey GE DIGITAL CAMERADowgiallo the outdoorsman, the man.  As he as much admitted, you’ve got to be a little nuts to do what he does, the way he does it. I’m sure there were many times he was as beat as the rest of us but pushed on.  Paddling, portaging, setting up camp, breaking camp, cooking, and on and on.  His tireless spirit was contagious and all of us, I believe, caught his virus and pushed ourselves as well.  Which segues to my next point. The trip was an opportunity to deepen my friendship with Jeff and establish 3 new ones.  This was a unique bunch of guys and we were proud of ourselves.  To a man, no one complained.  Sure Jeff and I exchanged some glances the first day wondering what I had gotten us into.  But we all came to embrace the challenges of the week just like our fearless leader.

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The Camorlinga family


Kristin Camorlinga

To Whomever is Looking into a GREAT Wilderness Experience, 

We just got back from an amazing trip with Ramsey Dowgiallo 
with Wilderness Journey Outfitters. I grew up going to the 
Boundary Waters/Quetico Canoe Area with my father and 
brothers and though never a piece of cake, I always came 
back with a greater appreciation for nature, the 
opportunity to share quality time with my family, and 
have a good story or two to tell.  Fast forward 25 odd 
years and I am now a single mother of three teenage boys.  
I have always wanted to provide my boys with a similar 
wilderness experience in the Boundary Waters.  This year 
they had reached good ages to venture out and test their 
abilities in the wild, but I needed to have a refresher 
course and a knowledgeable guide to help me.

Ramsey was the perfect guide for this task. Always upbeat
and motivated, he made sure everyone was enjoying 
themselves and lent a helping hand whenever needed. The 
boys thought he was a legend!  They were in awe over his 
raw strength, comforted by his knowledge and skill and 
impressed by his cooking abilities :) My youngest thought 
he must have been a Navy Seal!

Ramsey was the best role model I could have dreamed of in 
terms of teaching the boys the right attitude about the 
rigors of camping and portaging while maintaining a sense 
of fun and adventure at the same time. His joy and 
enthusiasm toward camping and being in nature were 
contagious. He shared many wonderful stories about his
travels and experiences with wildlife which always kept 
the boys engaged. In addition to that, he shared his 
expert fishing knowledge and favorite hot spots making 
sure the boys were successful in catching a good meal, 
which he cooked to perfection!

Everyone had the time of their lives! We will definitely 
be back and hope Ramsey is ready for another Camorlinga 
Thank You So Much Ramsey,
It was truly an unforgettable experience and we miss you!
Hello Ramsey,                                          

Can you believe it the rain followed us home. Raining 
all day here.Thanks again for everything. That was a 
great vacation for Gage and I.He did mention that he 
wanted to do this every 3 years for the rest of his 
life. I hope he is able to do so.

Also thanks for sharing the story about your Dad. 
I am still getting over the death of my Dad It really 
did help me. 

I have included a photo of Gage catching his biggest 
bass, thought you might like to use it in the newsletter.

Gage said he was going to write on your website, I am
looking forward in reading what he has to say.

Thanks again and have a safe summer paddling.



Terry Tessari

Hi Ramsey, In reflecting on our trip, I think the best 
part of it was getting to know you.  I share your love 
for the BWCAW and I learned things just watching how 
you handle camp organization, gear, and various jobs.  
I enjoyed hearing about your growing up years and your
deep affection for your parents and your efforts to try
and bring people with challenges into the Boundary Waters. 
If there's any way I can be of help with that, let me 
know.  As far as the route goes,it was a challenge. All 
my trips have been to the southeast of Ely into smaller
lakes and shorter portages than we experienced on this 
trip.We were lucky we weren''t heading into strong winds 
on our paddle days or our energy really would have been 
sapped. But your good food and good humor made it endurable 
and even fun.   Terry Tessari


Gage PercivalHello Ramsey!
Thank you for another awesome trip! I really enjoyed being in the BWCA with the best outfitter around, and can’t wait for the next trip. The food was great, fishing was better and the experience was unforgettable! I found an island on Lac La Croix, so maybe we can start our entrepreneur business soon! Hope to see you soon.
Another satisfied client!Gage PercivalHello Ramsey!Thank you for another awesome trip! I really enjoyed being in the BWCA with the best outfitter around, and can’t wait for the next trip. The food was great, fishing was better and the experience was unforgettable! I found an island on Lac La Croix, so maybe we can start our entrepreneur business soon! Hope to see you soon.Gage



Dear Ramsey, Our adventure in the Boundary Waters was all that we had hoped, and so much more. There is not a more picturesque place on earth. We were already pretty sure of that from brochures and previous research. Thank you for sharing your vast knowledge and impressive array of equipment with us and for teaching us the little things like how to survive in the wilderness with few creature comforts. Our trip was more primitive than expected, which was both a blessing (no people, no noise) and a course (no running water, no tables, no wine). Next time (and we hope there is a next time) we will take more pictures, pack with greater precision and become more physically fit beforehand. It was an amazing but demanding adventure for two semi-overweight, under-fit 65+-year-olds.

Thank you again for our amazing adventure. It has been great fun telling the stories about the wind, the wolves, the eagles, the portaging/paddling, amazing scenery, double rainbows, the list goes on…and we have pictures to prove it! See you at Quiet Water if not before. And the offer is still open. Anytime you have a show in the area, please, you are always welcome to stay with us. Our best to you, Randy and Jane.

Thank you, We could never have done it without you.



It truly was a trip Josh and I will cherish forever! I will not hesitate to recommend a Wilderness Journey with you to my family and friends.

Thanks again for a great memory.

Stefko Group


Nothing like a father and son bonding together in the wilderness



A HUGE THANK YOU for guiding the Assenmacher Group into the Boundary Waters this summer! We were all awe struck by the beauty of the area.

Wolves, eagles, owls and plenty of fish

We really enjoyed the fishing and seeing the wildlife, and though the canoeing was sometimes challenging, we all found the experience extremely rewarding. You are a great guide, an exceptional cook, and we look forward to some day going back to the BWCA.

Thanks so much!

Rosie, Andy, Nick, & Jordan Assenmacher & Mike Nadeau



We had a great time – what an adventure. It took us a couple of days to recover.We have wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you for sharing yourlove of BWCA with us – and your love of good food! The Raycraft Family

Craig, Pam, Bryan & Nicklas

what an adventurous family!

Note from Pam: top 5 things I appreciated :)

home cooked food

chairs with backs in the canoe

mattress to lay on at night

bag of trail mix

folding chairs to sit on







All they wanted was to hear wolves howl but just hours into the trip we had wolves running around the campsite


What a gorgeous slide-show. It just can’t compare, though, with really being there. It would

have been enough to just hear the wolves, but seeing them was divine intervention. And your great guidance. Danny incessantly talks about the wolves with his friends; he grew up a little on this trip.

Thanks again for such an incredible journey, gourmet cooking, and wonderful company. We’re hooked and we’ll be back. Looking forward to seeing you in your own store in Ely.

Rhonna and Mark Shatz



Charlie catching a Hog smallie in one of my honey holes

September 3 2008


We will be talking about our wonderful adventure until we go again. It is easy to see why you are so exuberant when discussing the area, and as hard as you try, the only way to appreciate the totality of the experience is to be there. I have been fortunate to visit most of the world, including Alaska, Russia, Australia, and Yellowstone (over 20 times) and this ranks right up there with the best. But, you have to be ready to do your part in canoeing, portaging and traversing the Beaver dams and I hope we did. That 20 1/2 inch smallmouth and over 40 inch northern added excitement to our everyday better-than-expected catches. Visits to view the Pictographs and Curtain Falls were true plusses that no one should miss, but I do have one gripe; You fed us too well. At 74 years of age, I take pride in being in shape and controlling my weight, but I gained 5 pounds on this trip even with the arduous physical demands. Your steaks, pork loins, walleye, bacon-and-eggs, burritos and summer sausage took its toll. I have to add one other comment, and this is the result of? Thinking during the past ten days about where we were, what we were doing, and our surroundings. I am a retired commercial pilot with many thousands of hours at 40,000 feet and the feeling a person gets at that altitude is one of serenity with the beautiful skies and majestic clouds filling the windshield. However, we always knew that the environment could be instantly hostile if an unforeseen occurrence took place.

Our means of peace knew that we were superbly trained and the person sitting in that left-front seat could deal with such an occurrence. The remote vastness of the BWCA creates a much similar atmosphere and anyone venturing into that world would be well advised to have a competent, well experienced Captain at the helm. Ramsey, you fit that profile. In the aviation fraternity we have one measure for judging a Pilot, and that is “if we would put our family in the cabin behind the person at the controls”. Without hesitation, I would be comfortable with my family following you into the BWCA.

Thanks for a wonderful experience; it was everything and more that you said it would be. Everyone with an inkling that they would want to try this, should go!! Two things though: 1.) they should be in decent physical condition and we were, and 2.) they should take exactly what you tell them and nothing more. Your experience, know-how and enthusiasm made the trip. Thanks again.


Charlie Gray


September 2008


Tom has mastered the art of the pop’r

A belated thank you for an outstanding trek into the BWCA… The scenery with bald eagles, rock strewn islands, radiant sunsets and full moon lake reflections were gorgeous. The real (not freeze dried) food was delicious, the coffee a true eye opener in the morning, the pictographs impressive and mystical, the Curtain Falls a must-see, the call of the loon at night haunting, the canoeing and portaging a pleasure, a challenge as well as a push to one’s limit and the Smallmouth Bass fishing just a rod bending, high jumping out damn outstanding experience!! You did a great job. I would welcome the opportunity to have you as a guide again anytime on another BWCA adventure. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Tom Hector



Dear Ramsey,

I loved to listen to my friends tell their story about their wilderness journey through the Boundary Waters. They said the Boundary Waters Canoe Area could not compare to any outdoor journey they have ever experienced and they had you to thank for it. Portaging, canoeing, paddling, fishing, camping… the whole kit and kabooddle! I was intrigued to step into this unfamiliar territory. I am not a fisherman or fisherwoman, to remain politically correct but their stories stirred up my curiosity. So along with a few of my girlfriends- we finally booked a trip. Low and behold that curiosity allowed me to experience the most amazing journey I have ever been on. I was told that it was no walk in the park but it was an experience everyone should experience firsthand. We were lucky to have you as our guide. Your organization, expertise, guidance and knowledge allowed me and my girls to enjoy all of what the BWCA has to offer.

Our group had limited experience in the wilderness, but thanks to your guidance we came out alive! You taught me how to pack a canoe correctly so there is even distribution and how to paddle a canoe when the wind kicks up. You showed me how to rutter. You taught me where, when, why and how to choose the perfect campsite. I even got a history lesson about how the BWCA came to be and how it stays so pristine.

The wildlife was so cool! I saw a deer 10 feet from my canoe, bald eagle every day, a beaver, and the largest snapping turtles which weighed about 30 lbs each.

They tied theier own lures, fished by themselves and provided dinner

OH and the FISHING!!!! What a rush it was to have my first stringer of mighty bass, weird eyed walleye and super slippery pike. Slimmy! You better bet we were giggling our butt off. It is fun to use terms like jig head and white twister tail. My favorite thing to say during the trip was “Pam…. GET THE NET!!!!” What an incredible feeling of accomplishment.

My mind was on constant high speed of what to do next. I believe that every experience we have in life happens for a reason. Yes, you have heard my story of what I learned and experienced on this trip but I found what I was truly looking for on the last day. Right when the sun was setting and the water looked like glass, I sat at our campsite listening to the sounds of the loons. It was then that I allowed myself to witness the most beautiful image no camera could ever capture … it looked like heaven on earth.

Thank you for sharing your passion. I am forever grateful and I look forward to another incredible trip with you as my guide.

Jillian Powers




A 6 plus pounder

A 6 plus pound bronzeback

As an experienced camper and fisherman it was difficult to picture what could possibly be different about a weeks foray into the boundary waters in comparison to other trips. As it turns out, there is no comparison. The Boundary is a special place that only through personal experience can be fully appreciated.

My personal experience was phenomenal due in no small part to Ramsey Dowgiallo. Ramsey possesses the three qualities most desirable in a guide: Passionate, knowledgeable and competent. As passion goes, dave2-bwcaRamsey is a lifer when it comes to the Boundary. He has made the Boundary a major part of his life. His knowledge base includes history, wildlife, and geography among others. Perhaps most important, Ramsey is a competent, seasoned woodsman. He fully appreciates the care that must be used while enjoying time spent.

It is a disadvantage to be a first timer to the Boundary without a knowledgeable person along. Ramsey allowed for fast and efficient travel to the best camp sites and best fishing holes and sights. No time was wasted fumbling over maps and wondering what might be an interesting place to visit. My trip was maximized. Has anybody else watched an osprey grab a 20” northern out of the lake near your canoe or have to ice their arms from reeling in so many fish? Ramsey will do more than give you an experience, he will share in it.

David Blake

A photo is worth a thousand words

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