A month ago Jack, Tom, and I spent a week in Voyageurs National Park. Ordinarily I’d write one, probably two, blogs about such a trip. This year I did not. When I got home, the lawn needed mowing, my legs needed to get back into biking shape, and the executive editor at Purdue University Press was pushing me for information in order to get final approval for my current book manuscript. As a result, a blog never got written. 

That is not to say that it was not a good trip. Voyageurs is beautiful, it is 100% water based, and the designated campsites have everything I would want in a backcountry camping spot – tent pad, picnic table, pit toilet, bear box – and nothing I wouldn’t want, i.e., a second campsite within a quarter mile of me. The sites also have fire rings, although we were on a fire ban this particular trip. I don’t like the lack of spontaneity in having to choose specific campsites ahead of time, but as far as I have seen, there is not a really bad campsite in the entire park.  

With a month gone by, one of things that surprisingly sticks in my mind about the trip is Jack’s new Wüsthof fillet knife. I did not know such a knife existed. Knife hardly seems like the right word, as it was more like a scalpel. I could not put such an edge on one of my knives if I took a whetstone to it for an hour. The first time I used the knife was not to clean fish, but to dice an onion, and it cut through the entire onion before I realized what was happening. Later I also cut the back of my right hand (I am left-handed), and I did not realize I’d broken the skin until droplets of blood fell on the picnic table. 

And herein lies the dilemma. Can I be trusted with such a knife? I know well the truism that the most dangerous knife is a dull knife that needs to be forced through whatever is being cut, but there is a difference between a sharp knife and a razor-sharp knife. Tom pointed out that all three of us had nicked ourselves with Jack’s sharp knife sometime during the trip. If that knife holds its edge at all, I want one, but I also seriously wonder whether it is a good idea. 

Steven Simpson