FAQ’s

I’d like more information on one of your journeys.  Who can I talk to?

Please send Melissa an email:  Guidingspiritjourneys@gmail.com

I’m ready to sign up for one of your trips.  Where do I begin?

On the bottom of each page of the trip description is the option to pay the deposit.  To reserve your spot, you may pay the deposit there.  If you would like to make other payment arrangements or to customize a trip for your group, please contact Melissa.

Where do I send the deposit and final payment?

Deposits can be made via Paypal on the website to secure your spot. In order to keep costs lower, GSJ also accepts personal checks for the deposit and final payment.  Payments can be mailed to Guiding Spirit Journeys, 34092 Peoria Rd, Pequot Lakes, MN 56472. A $30 fee will apply to any returned check. GSJ can send an invoice for the balance via Paypal for those wishing to pay by credit card, but a 3% surcharge will be added to any invoice to cover credit card fees.  Payment plans are available, please contact Melissa for details.

What is your cancellation policy?

Deposits are considered non-refundable under any circumstances unless in the unlikely event, Guiding Spirit Journeys will need to cancel a trip before it begins.  Cancellations 12-8 weeks are fully refundable less the deposit.  Cancellations 8-4 weeks before the trip are 50% refunded (less deposit) and cancellations less than 4 weeks before the trip do not qualify for a refund.  However, if you cancel 8-0 weeks before the trip and if the trip is full and there is a wait list and we are able to fill your spot, GSJ will apply the balance paid less the deposit to any trip of your choosing within one year.  Non-payment of balance in full when due is also considered a cancellation unless other arrangements have been made.  No refunds allowed for any reason once the trip has begun.

2021 Covid-19 Cancellation Policy: If you are ill or have been exposed to Coronavirus, we ask that you stay home. Full refunds including deposit will be allowed for participants who cancel due to Covid-19 illness or exposure.  

How difficult is each trip?

Wilderness travel is challenging physically and sometimes mentally.  The trips vary in difficulty with location and duration.  Some trips may require a lot of hiking, portaging, or paddling while others are on an easier, closer route.  The trip duration is a good indicator of the intensity.  The more days we have, the more we can see, the more time we will spend in traveling.  Wilderness expeditions require a lot of stamina so be prepared to feel a little sore or tired after paddling, portaging or carrying packs.  This is all part of the transformative experience and challenges that grow you.  You will be much more comfortable if  you start your trip with a moderate level of physical fitness that focuses on balance, core, endurance and upper body strength.  Packs can weigh 25 – 45 pounds and the canoes weigh up to 56lbs.  While we use teamwork for the heavy lifting, weight lifting before the trip is highly recommended.  

What are the trip accommodations?

Each trip will have the accommodations listed.  For wilderness canoe trips, accommodations are backcountry style tenting camping. Tents are provided for you. GSJ has 1, 3, or 4 person tents that sleep 3.  If you have your own hammock sleeping system, please let Melissa know so we can plan ahead. Tent spaces at campsites are very limited so we try to share tents because of this. Due to coronavirus concerns, 1-person tents will be provided for those not in same family group or close friend groups that agree to share space. 

What gear should I bring on the trip?

All group gear, canoes, paddles, life jackets, cooking equipment, tents, water filters, etc. are provided. Each participant will be given a personal gear packing list that we ask everyone to stick to due to space and weight limitations.  You’ll want a lightweight compact sleeping bag rated for 30 degrees (or above if you sleep warm) and a backpacking air mattresses such as a Thermarest that can roll up small like a Nalgene water bottle.  At some point, your gear will have to be carried down the trail and the more compact, the better.  Efficiency creates a pleasant journey.

Can I bring some of my own food?  

All the meals are provided from dinner the first day to a light trail lunch the last day. We carry all of our food into the wilderness with us.  We typically eat 5 times per day, 3 meals and 2 snacks. Most find there is an ample amount of food provide, but you are welcome to bring a baggie of snacks, your favorite chocolate bar wrapped in plastic or favorite tea that we can squeeze into the food packs. Just let Melissa know to make room in the food pack. Please remember, no glass or cans allowed in the BWCA.

What do we do about water?

For trips into the BWCAW we are surrounded by water, some would say these lakes are even pure enough to drink straight out of, although we always purify our drinking water.  We have a gravity type water filter at base camp, we boil water for cooking and carry iodine for purifying on the go.

Can you accommodate a food allergy, restriction or specific diet?

Yes, most allergies and diets will be respected if they can be reasonably accommodated.  It can be difficult separating food due to the nature of shared equipment and limitation regarding food prep while on trail, cross-contamination can happen, so if you have something very severe such as a nut allergy that results in anaphylactic shock, please let Melissa know before putting down a deposit to make sure it can be accommodated. Your guide eats gluten-free so the majority of meals are gluten friendly. 

What about the bears?

This is THE most common question asked when women are looking at one these BWCA trips.  My answer to this is, “There is nothing out there that wants to hurt you.”  Black bears are the only bears in the BWCA.  They are more interested in our peanut butter than they are in us.  We take precautions like hanging food, storing food in a bear barrel, keeping a clean campsite and not choosing campsites where sloppy campers have been.  This is very effective in keeping bears away.  

Additional Questions or Concerns?

Email Melissa   guidingspiritjourneys@gmail.com