My husband and I love camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). Every year, we would go over Labor Day weekend. We chose that time of year because the bugs were usually gone by then and nights were cool, and the days were sunny and dry. 

We would tell everyone how beautiful the BWCA and that they should go. So, when our French friend’s children came to stay with us for the month of July, we told them about the “wild untouched wilderness.” They wanted to go, too. 

We spent days packing our bags and planning meals. The kids were so excited to see the “wild” they didn’t want to stop at any of the typical tourist sites on the way there. When we finally got in our canoes, we only had 5 hours until we would arrive at our camp site. 

Three canoes set off across the lake. The first lake was small and calm. The second lake, the wind picked up and started gusting forming white caps on the water and blowing our canoes sideways making it impossible to paddle across the lake. We paddled as hard as we could and slowly made progress along the shoreline. After three hours of hard paddling, I needed a rest. I was in a canoe with Alice, who was completely worn out and was also happy we were taking a break. The rest of the group kept going.

We pulled up on a small island and laid down on the beach. When I finally had the energy to look around, I discovered the island was covered with ripe, wild blueberries! We ate as many as we could and filled every container we could find in our canoe with berries. 

When we finally arrived at our campsite after 10 hours of paddling, everyone couldn’t believe the amount of blue berries we’d found. We ate blue berries with everything. It’s a good thing we’d found them, because it rained, it was hot, and the bugs were horrible. It was the worse BWCA trip we ever took—but what we all remember were the wild blueberries. 


Blue Berry Buckle

Serves 6



1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour 

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cardamom  

1/4 tsp salt

4 Tbsp butter, softened



2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder 

3/4 tsp salt 

1 cup sugar 

4 tablespoons butter, softened 

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp vanilla 

1/2 cup whole milk 

2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen work well too)


Preheat oven to 375º. Lightly butter and flour an 8” or 9” cake pan and set aside. 

In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, and butter. Stir and mix in the butter with a fork until it resembles sand. Set aside.

In bowl, mix the dry ingredients together for the cake; set aside. In another bowl, mix the sugar, butter, and vanilla together until creamy and well blended. Add the flour and milk alternating ending with the flour. Fold in blueberries. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with topping. Bake for 35 minutes or until cake is golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out with only dry crumbs. Cool and serve with a dollop sweetened whipped cream. 


Lisa Erickson is a food columnist who loves adventure and food. You can find more recipes by emailing her at


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