Miles Paddled started in April of 2008 with a more generic (and clumsier) name. It wasn’t until a particularly lengthy paddle on the Lower Wisconsin River where we learned just how long a paddling-mile was that inspired the name that has branded us ever since. To celebrate our 10-Year anniversary, we’ve created a bunch of 10-Lists that we’ll be sharing with you throughout the month, starting with our favorite photos.
We’ve literally posted thousands of images to the site over the last decade, and in a ridiculously overwhelming feat, we tried to find our ten favorites (which was nearly impossible). Surprisingly, despite going through every single image and narrowing our top 211 to our top 53, and then to our final 10, we ended with more overlap than expected. Regardless, here’s the ten we love, in no particular order.
01: Boundary Waters, Kawishiwi River
This one trip yielded three of our favorite photos, simply by chance, or well, by simply being amazing. The colors of this sheer mossy wall, a patina that only comes with age, and the perspective given by the canoe just makes this photo magnificent.
02: Grant River
We take a lot of action shots, but some of them don’t quite capture the feeling of what it’s actually like to be on the water at any given moment. But what we love about this particular photo is how it perfectly captures what the paddler is about to experience on this memorable run. Here, the riffly and narrow current will sweep you down this S-turn, holding you tight to the bank to even more outstanding scenery beyond, and you can just feel it caught in one stationary image.
03: Robinson Creek
We call this Miss Robinson. While this creek gets more lively and rambunctious, this photo captures the quieter and tree-canopied moments of this insanely beautiful creek.
04: Halls Creek
Halls is as photogenic as they come for creeks and though there’s jaw-dropping scenery throughout, this one captures the constant “what’s next?” wonder for what’s going to be seen around the next corner – even while you’re paddling past something wonderful.
05: Lake Columbia
There were a bunch of great photos from this paddle but this one chills us to the bone, especially the frozen foam. And from a composition perspective, the triangles all lead you to a mysterious centerpoint proving that the rule-of-thirds isn’t always the perfect rule (though it usually is).
06: Boundary Waters, Kawishiwi River
There are few who would argue that this mirrored/rosatsch test of a photo beats almost all of our mirrored-horizon photos (though we have captured a lot of great ones).
07: Mormon Creek
Ironically, of all the photos taken on Mormon Creek – a paddle that had one goal in mind, discovering the elusive Oehler Cave – it wasn’t Oehler Cave itself that made the list (which is crazy beautiful in its own right). No, it was this soft-spoken stretch just after the cave that feels as damp, dewey and mossy as it was on this day.
08: Boundary Waters, Kawishiwi River
If you were to tell us a photo of a portage could be beautiful, we’d say you’re crazy. But here’s the evidence. It actually makes us want to portage here again.
09: Grant River
This seep on the Grant is amazing – and that amazement, curiosity and joy of it is caught here at exactly the right moment.
10: Wisconsin River
A girl, a dog, a canoe and the most amazing reflection of layered rock that one could ask for. Yep, this photo pretty much has everything.