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
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!
This is an excerpt from Doug’s trip report
Within an hour, camp was all set up.After foraging for firewood, then cutting
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
AFTER THOUGHTS –
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 Dowgiallo 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.
To Whomever is Looking into a GREAT Wilderness Experience, LISTEN HERE! 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 adventure! Thank You So Much Ramsey, It was truly an unforgettable experience and we miss you! Kristin 2013 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. Mark
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.