The Mind Body Spirit Journey in September 2020 was a great success! Five spirits were present and ready to embark on this four day journey with highlights that included the pictographs and some personalized attention. Deb Quarles was our guest facilitator who finds herself at peace and ease in the wilderness with the experience of multiple backcountry trips. Susan and Patricia are guests on this journey. Their inquisitive minds and happy spirits made them a joy to have on our trip. Ash was fortunate to get out of school for a few days and proved to be the best helper in camp. Our weather conditions called for some colder than normal temps but we were prepared. After the first few days, it actually turned into perfect fall weather that made for the ideal fall trip. Following is the day by day report.
Day 1: We all have a sunny and cool travel day to Ely and meet at the Kawishiwi Ranger Station around 2pm. From here we travel to the forest campground where we’ll spend one night before heading into the wilderness in the morning. This gives everyone a chance to get familiar with their tents, sleeping bags and gear before we depart. Ash comes up with a great icebreaker during introductions so we all get to know each other better. The personal items are unloaded from vehicles so we go through packing the large personal packs. This trip was slated to be colder than other years so we packed more jackets, vests, hats, gloves and handwarmers to keep everyone warm. Portaging practice was a hit and both Patricia and Susan took the canoe for a stroll around the campsite. Dinner was great and when finished, we gathered around the campfire for dessert and our safety talk.
Day 2: Rise at 7am. This is a little later than most trips as we are so close to the entry point. The dawn is lovely and mist rises on the lake. Pack up tents and get the overnight reports on how everyone slept. ‘A little chilly’ was the consensus, but that was supposed to be the coldest night at 32 degrees F. Brrr…It gets warmer after today. We have breakfast and break camp. Before we set out, we set an intention for safe travel, the perfect campsite and a great experience. We drive to entry point 77 South Hegman lake, park and unload the canoes and packs from the trailer. The portage is 85 rods from the parking lot (a rod is 16.5 feet) to the water. There is a grand staircase to descend, so I as your guide, will take the canoes.
The canoes are loaded and we are finally floating. This is the part where you close your eyes and experience the feeling. It feels so good, those first few moments, to know that you a free to float. A short paddle take us to our campsite for the remainder of the trip. This particular trip is short and sweet with a base-camping experience. Our tent spots are chosen and everyone settles in. Lunch is served and after, we all work on the traditional camp chores of hanging the hammock, fetching a load firewood for our duration and collecting water. This leads us into some activities before dinner time. The company and conversation is amazing. We have fun with silhouette on the lake and enjoy the warm bright fire on this calm evening.
Day 3: Wake at 6:30am. I love to start coffee early and have it ready for the group. No time to sleep in here as this trip is so short and there is much to see and explore. The group wakes slowly, one by one and we have breakfast before heading out for our day trip to the pictographs. The morning weather is lovely. We clean up camp, load canoes and paddle across South Hegman toward the North Hegman portage. After a short 5 rod portage, we are paddling North Hegman on our way to see the pictographs. It is a very busy area and we see many day tripping groups pulled off along the banks and points on the lake. Our window of viewing the pictographs is brief between groups. We give an offering, float a bit and then paddle off. The wind is picking up a little and carries on the breeze a scent of smoke. There is a large fire somewhere near. We paddle back to our camp.
Once we are back at camp, deb offers her one-on-one sessions. In the meantime, others find quiet time to be, rest, journal or explore. Dinner is chicken and dumpling stew. Our evening event is learning about the Chakras and visiting around the fire. This has been a great day of adventuring and connecting. Night comes and the stars are out. We head to our tents and sleep soundly. This is the last night in the wilderness.
Day 4: We wake 7am. A little early but we have plans for a hike before we have to depart our campsite. There is a small creek just down the shoreline and we guess a 20 minute walk along the shore. Our group eats breakfasts and completely packs the camp before we go on our last adventure. When we reach the creek, we are greeted by beautiful sugar maples in full color. It is a sight to behold. We stay a while, contemplate the beauty and serenity and take our group photo. What a lovely backdrop!
Our final hike back is short and sweet. The canoes are loaded for the last time and we say goodbye to the campsite that hosted us for our stay. Our paddle back is peaceful. Deb notices when I get close to the portage take-out, I always slow my paddle strokes. I savor this last bit of wildness and maybe even get a little misty-eyed knowing I have to leave. I’m not the only one to feel this way. Many comment they wish it was longer or could stay just one more day. I think this is reason to visit again. This is the magic and power of wilderness. We say farewell, until next year….