Camping in the wild you will of course share it with its natural inhabitants.. Chipmunks are common in camp, especially if they have been fed by previous campers… many are not afraid to come in and have a bite of breakfast.
One particular night we had mice scurrying around the outside of the tent, but one very persistent fellow would climb up the tent door then slide down to the ground… over and over trying to get to the top.. after about 15 minutes of this I had enough and as I could see his chubby little silhouette I launched him off the tent into the night. Dan said he had visions of him flying through the air wondering what happened.
One year Dan had a rabbit that was absolutely in love with him… it would circle the camp… over and over just staring at him… gave me the creeps…
There was always plenty of entertainment around camp…
All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful;
The Lord God made them all…
Hymn 1848 Cecil Alexander
I came across a journal entry that really tickled me…
Tues 9/13: The wind blew hard all night long.. morning brought a cool sunny day.. We did nothing and it took us all day to do it….
There was peace in that… and rest…
Excursions into the wilderness are times of revitalization of spirit and body – a reaffirmation of self-reliance and confidence. (unsure where I saw this quote)
Psalm 46:10 Be Still and Know that I am God…
This verse is appropriate for this entry. It has been a part of my life these last 2 years.. God has been telling me to just Be Still… Grieve, heal, rest in Me…
I have a poem I want to share with you… I carried this with me in my journal and at least once during the trip while we were retiring at night I would read it aloud. When I first came across it I had to look up the word “gleaning” for a meaning and it is “to collect or gather.” I hope you enjoy it….
Gleaning in the Wood
There is a place that calls to me upon this earthly sod,
Where I can share camaraderie with nature and with God;
a place where I’m committed to gleaning from a land
whose bounty has been given me by His abundant hand.
Where hardwood touches lofty pine and sweet the meadows smell
along this mountain range I love far more that words can tell,
I stand upon a hilltop as I gaze across the land
and ask a blessing on the earth far as my eye can span
Although some men may like the noise of busy city streets,
I must walk on timbered land with soil ‘neath my feet;
there’s no place I would rather go, nor change things if I could
because I love the country and the fresh, clean smell of wood.
Sometimes my faith’s been tested…but I have peace within
that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as partner and as friend;
and though sometimes the ways of God I may not understand,
I know He holds my every breath securely in His hand.
Amid this restless world, we need to seek the living God,
for years advance as surely as do rings around a log.
His Spirit, then, can help us meet the day the way we should,
and we’ll keep things in perspective.. while we’re gleaning in the wood..
Remember I talked to you about how Dan and I classified people in the BWCA/Quetico as either Cake-Eaters or Red Necks? (Blog Entry “People Passing By”) Well there is another class all on its own and that is the “Real People.” Genuine, authentic, don’t even need to try it’s so natural to them. I have included a few pictures. We rarely talked to them – they just paddle by or you meet on the trail. Their smile is serene – their steps sure – their paddle strokes effortless – their clothing and packs functional and well-worn. I loved to imagine their story. Dan and I would weave long tales about them for fun… but in my heart I wanted to have it.. you know.. IT… I don’t think I ever achieved it but I sure did admire it….
My business is not to remake myself, but make the absolute best of what God made. Robert Browning
Here is a typical camp set-up… there was normally a metal fire grate in each campsite and rocks placed around it to control wind, and usually large logs set up in a seating area. I always hoped for some flat rocks or stumps to use for setting plates, cups, etc. Unfortunately not all campsites were in good shape. Some folks just did not care and we found many where the logs for seating had been thrown in the fire or rolled down to the lake, dog feces all over, even tell-tale signs of fish cleaning (which is a big bear no-no near camp) Sometimes we stayed and tried to fix, sometimes we just turned our backs and went on to another site.
Dan always constructed a tarp over the cooking area and grate. He was a professional at this… no kidding… we never got caught in the rain and could always start a fire or make coffee… As you can see we have a small gas stove… is it long-standing traditional? No.. but it was worth the extra weight and I am not fond of cooking over a fire.. (Too dirty and uncertain) We carried one big pot for boiling water… We had a plastic bag shower and a hot shower felt wonderful after a long day of paddling. One night the only tree to hang that shower on was close to the lake, nobody will come by in the middle of the wilderness right? Wrong! A canoe with a couple came right close to shore going around our island, and she made sure her husband kept going when she spotted a naked woman taking a shower not 25 feet from their canoe.
There are many more details I will relate on a later day, but I thought you might be interested in seeing camp… I get a little nostalgic looking at this picture… many happy days and nights spent in this setting… Memories… They last a lifetime…
We didn’t realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun!
It was not very big.. we zipped our sleeping bags together so we could be close and warm.. our muscles were sore and we were tired… it felt so good to stretch out.. it was only 7:30pm but we didn’t care… our flashlights were in place.. water within reach… we listened to the night noises… we read our books and talked about tomorrow.. I was naive enough to think there would always be more tomorrows for us…
Peace to you my friends…..
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you; let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid…
Pictographs are prehistoric rock art spread throughout the BWCA/Quetico on sheer granite cliffs. Very popular stop for travelers because you can bring your canoe right up to the edge and view the assortment of images painted there 300-400 years ago by the indigenous Ojibwe (or Chippewa). Pictures of moose, hand-prints, canoes – some very clear – some faded. I found it amazing that they had survived so well in all the elements. The paint is reported as being a mixture of red ochre, sturgeon oil, and bear fat. You could almost picture them in their birch bark canoes documenting their hunt or exploits. There was one rock face that had hand prints all over it and it seemed as if they must had a contest about who could have the highest print… they are an awesome part of the history of the area….
Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch… Judy Blume
This was a common sight for me… Dan carrying the canoe plus a pack and often in his hands were those incidentals I talked about… He kept a steady pace, leaving me behind. I would stop to rest – take pictures – adjust my pack – drink water… He would make one stop, if it was a long portage… Those final years were tough for him… his back just could not handle the weight…
There is generally no noise on the trails, just you and your thoughts (and heavy breathing) I was thinking about this today – saw a quote “you carry your packs alone” How true… that even though others are sharing the trail it really comes down to you and God… am I right? How lonely a portage for those who don’t have Him at the end of that long carry…
Bless you guys….
Psalm 119:114 You are my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your word to renew me……
We never planned it, but sometimes we would hit a full moon on our trips… this particular year it was a magical display for several nights in a row… it was such a joy to have our tent door looking out towards the moon as it rose on those evenings… the journal entry on this day was “Full moon rising over Quetico”
Psalm 104:19 He made the moon to mark the seasons, the sun knows it’s time for setting….