The People Along The Way: Kate Hibbs

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Off-Grid Summer Living in Northern Minnesota

For many of us, it’s a wonderful dream: spending a summer in a quaint little off-grid cabin on a remote lake with absolutely no one else around.  The view of the lake, the stars at night, and the sounds of nature feed your soul.

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The 1/4 mile path to Kate’s Cabin

There’s not a neighbor within earshot or eyesight, and the cabin isn’t accessible by road.  You park about a quarter mile away and walk-in on the trail.  There is an atv, but it’s a bit temperamental.  More often than not, you’re carrying in your supplies, drinking water, gasoline for the generator, and dog food on your back. 

Oh, the dog food?  Did I forget to mention the dogs?  Imagine that you’re also caring for 24 sled dogs… and 7 speedy and enthusiastic sled dog puppies!

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Even at this age – sled dog pups love to run!

Kate Hibbs spent her summer in northern Minnesota doing just this!  Kate says “I loved living up north this summer; I knew I needed this time to be in the woods.  I needed to recalibrate, so living in solitude for a time was perfect for me.

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Blue-eyed sled dogs, per the old legends, see into your soul.

Sled dogs are incredible animals, and I love mushing for so many reasons.  It’s extremely active, yet peaceful and beautiful.  It’s really fantastic to use this old traditional form of travel and see the pure joy, athleticism, problem solving and group dynamics of a sled dog team.”

When asked about the challenges the summer presented, you might expect to hear her talk about the physical demands of caring for so many dogs, or the inconveniences of living off grid and so remotely. 

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Rustic Accommodations!

Instead, Kate mentioned only two things. “I haven’t been around to enjoy Minnesota’s boreal winters and the dog mushing that comes with it.  It was pretty difficult to only care for them during the summer months when it’s too hot to take them on runs.  I’d also say a big challenge was being so removed from my loved ones.”

Lately, Kate’s been spending her falls, winters and springs in Antarctica.  While in Antarctica (time that she calls “on-ice”), resources are limited, so there isn’t much of an opportunity to stay in touch with friends and family back home.  “It is important to be able to spend my time off-ice engaged in relationships that are important to me and engaged in my community.  While tempting to seek out solitude, I’ve learned that I need to figure out a balance of self-care without using my privilege to escape too much!”

Only 27, she’s already been a “mover and a shaker” in making a difference in her communities.  While in school at Ithaca College for Anthropology, she helped establish her school’s Asian American Studies Program, and was part of starting an East-Coast-wide movement for intersectional education in colleges and universities.

She and a few friends also founded the “Aurora Collective” in hope of opening the “out of doors” experience to a broader audience.  Through her experience guiding youth with wilderness adventures in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, she witnessed countless amazing transformations. “Doing hard work in wild places teaches people non-academic skills: character, growth, mindset, grit, emotional and social skills, among many others.  Going on an expedition, especially as a youngster, can help a person realize that they are capable of anything.  It translates to a self-awareness and confidence that helps in the pursuit of goals later in life.  Historically, access to the wilderness (including the gear, transportation, etc.) is expensive and limits the type of person who can go on trips.

We started The Aurora Collective as a way to promote and sponsor people doing more extreme wilderness endeavors, believing that more representation provides more inspiration!”  She cited as a case in point, Ann Bancroft: a Minnesotan explorer that was the first woman to traverse Antarctica. 

We kicked it off last summer by competing in the Yukon River Quest, a 444-mile canoe race.” Their 6-person all-female voyageur team was a rarity and met a lot of skepticism. But, after 53 hours of paddling, they earned 19th place out of almost 100 teams overall.  “The Aurora Collective is a work in progress, but I’m hoping that we can keep it going despite us living so spread out.”

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Having learned about Antarctica from co-workers at Menogyn, a Y-Camp on the edge of the Boundary Waters, she had to see what life was like at the bottom of the planet!  This fall will be Kate’s third season working there.

“There’s a saying that people go down to Antarctica the first year for adventure, the second for friends and because the money’s pretty good, and the third year because they don’t fit in anywhere else anymore!” 

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Your view upon arrival in Antarctica, after a very long flight in non-temperature controlled seating on military aircraft.

Living there isn’t easy. The physical environment is challenging. “It is called the harshest continent for a reason!” The station is extremely remote station with very limited internet access, so staying in touch with friends and family isn’t easy.  The working hours are long and difficult, with 60 hours or more, 6 days a week, the norm.  There’s very little in the way of food choices available, being dependent on seasonal food shipments.  Fresh foods like vegetables and fruits are often a rarity.  Even something as simple as placing an Amazon order is challenging, as it can be months before your package is delivered.

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But, all that said, there are benefits to working seasonally in Antarctica also.  “The lifestyle of working really hard nonstop and then having a few months to travel or pursue a new skill or field is very appealing to me.  Air travel there and back is provided, normally with a stopover in New Zealand.  Kate often will make the most of that stop and do some impromptu touring of New Zealand on her way back from “the ice.”

While at the station in Antarctica, there’s a strong ethos among the community to make the most out of every day.” Kate says that the station is just big enough that you can find others with shared interests, but small enough to be welcoming. “It’s like camp for adults!” with the endless live music, sports, game nights, art-making, costume parties, language classes, etc. She’s found them to be a good group of hardworking and creative people that are invested in making their time there as nourishing and stimulating as possible. 

You may have seen that Antarctica recently made the news with the possibility of new life forms discovered in some of its ice caves. Kate’s been able to see some of the ice caves firsthand herself!  “I got to take a trip to an ice cave my first season. It was amazing.  I think the thing that jarred me the most was experiencing complete silence for the first time in months.  Ordinarily, we’re surrounded by the constant buzz of generators, planes, helicopters and heavy machinery.  It’s like living on a big construction site 24/7.”

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Just another hard day at work!

Kate’s work there this upcoming season will be as the Solid Waste and Recycling Coordinator. She was a Janitorial Lead last year. Before that, her first season as a dishwasher. She laughed, saying that the Antarctic station is known for having the best educated dishwashers in the work force.  People are willing to take (and are grateful for) whatever job is needed for the experience of living there.

If you’re interested in checking this opportunity out, she suggested you do some research.  First, there are a couple of good documentaries about what life on a station in Antarctica is really like.

Then, if you’re still interested, contact one of the agencies that hires station support contractors.  It is common to not be accepted on your first try.  She suggested that if you’re serious about it and determined, keep trying. Network.  Knowing others there can help. Find a way to try to get some experience in the field you’re trying to get a job in (even if just dishwashing!).  Most importantly, keep applying until you succeed.

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As for what’s next for Kate Hibbs?  “Eventually, I would love to return to my work in education.  But for now, it would be awesome to work my way up to running a field camp in Antarctica!  I also want to get all 7 continents in my passport (I only have South America and Africa left).  Beyond that?  Who knows?  I do feel like I’m still searching for something, but aren’t we all?”

 

Visiting Grand Marais, MN

 

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View over the Grand Marais harbor, waiting for the fireworks to start!

 

If you’re looking for a scenic summer getaway for a few days, Grand Marais MN might be just the ticket.  Nestled up against Lake Superior, this little town will win your heart and the drive up the coastline will overwhelm your senses!

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Besides being the gateway to the Boundary Waters and on route to Ontario, Grand Marais is a tiny town of bed and breakfasts, family owned inns, and quaint touristy trinket and fudge shops.  It boasts having a microbrewery, and a pastry shop called “the World’s Best Donuts.”   Oh, and don’t forget the miniature golf course-petting zoo (yes, a combined experience).

Of course, there are also a few upscale boutiques, art galleries, golf courses and such. The entire town only consists of about 1,350 people in the summer (It drops down well below that in the winter when most of the town shuts closes down).

 

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View from Grand Marais of the harbor and Lake Superior

 

For being such a small town, it surprised me to find that Grand Marais had 3 grocery stores.  Granted, they’re small, but they provide a nice variety of options.  The IGA’s your typical grocery.  Johnson’s is interesting in that they have the basics, but also some eccentricities also like a selection of smoked fishes and homemade sausages.  And then there’s the co-op that offers a nice bulk section and organic items.  You don’t have to be a member to shop there, and they also have a little internet café area.  If you’re planning to grocery shop, check the hours ahead of time though.  They close at 7pm in the summer, and are closed at 5pm and on Sundays in the winter.

One of our regular activities when in town was to stop and pick up picnic items from the grocery stores and a bottle of wine from the one liquor store in town.  Then to find a place on lake superior to enjoy it.  We couldn’t get enough of the fresh lake air or dipping our toes along the shoreline… so calming and good for the soul!

While you’re in town, you might also consider taking a sailing tour of the harbor?  Or taking a class learning a lost art like blacksmithing, or any number of other things.

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Cook county is also known for it’s lovely waterfalls, many of which are just a short hike from the road.

Other things that might interest you in the area:

Enjoy!  (If you find other treasures in the area, please be sure to share them in the comments!)

PS – There are still some businesses around that don’t take credit cards, like a diner that we found in Grand Marais called “South of the Border” (as in the Canadian border)!  While fresh herring for breakfast might not be your cup o’ tea, keeping cash on hand while traveling will make sure you can make the most of these local treasures!

Gunflint Trail – Boundary Waters of MN

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Little Gunflint Lake at Sunset

Summering in Minnesota was truly a new adventure for us.  We knew no-one in MN, had never been there, and knew very little of where we were going. But the idea of Minnesota’s boundary waters had always intrigued us, and so here we are doing seasonal work on the Gunflint Trail.

It is truly a beautiful area and well worth the drive.  In fact, in all of our cross-country travels, I can’t recall a place that’s as pristine and untouched by civilization.  I say “worth the drive” because there’s really no way to fly here, unless you have the means to charter a private sea plane.  Otherwise, it’s a 3+ hour drive from Duluth.  Two of those hours are spent driving along Lake Superior, which is itself breathtakingly beautiful.  You won’t be able to take your eyes from the Caribbean-ish blue water as you drive.  When you get to the town of Grand Marais, hang a left on the Gunflint Trail and drive another hour north-west.

Grand Marais is your last stop… well, for anything.  So stock up.  Get your groceries, pharmacy items, etc.  Fill up your tank with gas.  (Some of the resorts up the trail do offer gas for your vehicle or boat, but it’s expensive. ) If you have time, stop and enjoy this adorable little town on Lake Superior.  (More later on Grand Marais in another post!)

The locals like to say “if you see 3 cars on the Gunflint Trail, it’s a traffic jam.”  They’re not far from the truth.  You can drive a long ways through the thick forests without seeing another car. After driving through the cities, it’s a striking change.  It hardly seems real and feels like you’ve driven back in time.  Don’t be surprised if, when you do actually encounter another car, they toss you a neighborly wave.

As you’re driving the trail, you’ll soon realize why they call this the land of 10,000 lakes.  Northern Lights Lake, Swamper Lake, Flour Lake. Bearskin Lake, Hungry Jack Lake, Poplar Lake.  Iron Lake.  Little Iron Lake.  Loon Lake.  Gunflint Lake… the list goes on and on.  It’s hard to keep them all straight.  If you’re planning to fish them, make sure you know which lake you’re headed to, and what regulations apply.  In this area, there are lakes that are governed by Minnesota regs, and some are governed by the BCAW (Boundary Waters) regs, and still some yet by international regulations.

It’s been an unusually rainy, cool and buggy summer (even by local standards), so we’ve not had as much opportunity to get out and play as we’d hoped.  But, there’s plenty to do here.

Fishing the Boundary Waters

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Imagine Catching this Northern Pike… from a Kayak!

The fishing’s been wonderful, but you do have to approach it differently than most of the tourists do.  First, research the lake.  Even though the lakes are connected up here, they carry different fish populations.  Know what you want to fish for, and plan for it.  What’s possible?  Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Splake, and an array of panfish.  Secondly, research the lake (did I say that already?).  These lakes are all so very different in terms of depth, even though they’re in a close proximity of each other.  Some are only 15 feet deep, others 250 feet deep.  For example, if you’re fishing for Walleye in Gunflint Lake (that’s 250′ deep), you’re going to have a hard time finding them unless you have a trolling motor and depth/fish finder.

Note:  There are also several professional fishing guides that serve the area also.

With your fishing license, you also are allowed to trap for crayfish… a largely neglected but tasty delicacy up here.  Crayfish are considered an invasive species here, so the daily limit of what you’re allowed to take is ridiculously large.  A single trap left overnight will frequently yield enough for a meal for two or three adults.

Paddling the lakes of the Gunflint Trail and the Boundary Waters

Canoeing and camping the boundary waters is a popular activity up here.  You do need permits though in the boundary waters.  Also, keep in mind that you’ll be in very remote locations.  Come adequately prepared for your camping adventure.  You might also consider using an outfitter that’ll rent you canoes, assemble all the gear and meals for you, and drop/pick you up at your entry/exit lakes.  Many will even help you plot your canoeing trail.  Be sure to ask them for details about the portages involved though.

Pascal Bredin - grand portageNot all portages are alike.  Some are longer, steeper, rocky, blocked by debris, excessively swampy, through a stream with current, etc.  But that’s part of the challenge.  I’d just encourage you to mention your physical condition,  age, and any other physical concerns you have to your outfitter when making plans.

Hiking the Gunflint Trail and Superior National Forest

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Bridal Falls on the Gunflint

There is also plenty of opportunity for hikers to enjoy the forests, cliffs, numerous waterfalls, and lakeshores.  If you keep your eyes open, you’ll likely find (in season) blueberries, raspberries, thimbleberries, strawberries, and Saskatoon berries along the trail, along with wild mushrooms and other wild edibles.  Many of the hikes follow the cross country and snow mobile trails, but there are also designated hikes in the Superior National Forest.

Relax in the Peace and Quiet

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One of my favorite things to do here is just to relax in the stillness of nature, whether in the woods or on a lakeshore.  If you’re outside though, don’t forget the bug spray, or you’ll be sorry.

Note:  Don’t expect to have cell coverage anywhere along the Gunflint Trail (once you leave Grand Marais).

Other Things to Do on The Gunflint Trail

There’s not much in the way of commercialized entertainment up here, but there are a few things that you might find enjoyable:

  • Gunflint Lodge has a naturalist that offers educational and historical programs, a 2-hour canopy (zip line) tour, and guided (horse) trail rides
  • Most of the lake-front lodges offer boat rentals (fishing boats, canoes, paddleboards, kayaks, pontoon boats) to guests and non-guests alike
  • Swimming and enjoying a refreshing day at the beach.  Seagull Lake has a lovely and private sandy beach that the locals enjoy.  Go up the Gunflint Trail to the Seagull Lake boat landing.  Park and follow the unmarked path on the right just before (north of) the boat landing.

Dining on the Gunflint Trail

You’ll find few options for restaurant meals up here.  They are namely:

  • Hungry Jack Lodge
  • Trail Center (has delicious malts and will even add liquors to them!)
  • Gunflint Lodge
  • Trail’s End
  • Poplar Haus (opening soon, as of this post.  It’ll be fine dining)

Winter Things To Do

In the winter, we hear that this area is frequented mostly by ice fisherman, cross country skiiers, ice climbers, and snow mobilers.

Where There’s a Need, There’s a Way

Ready for a change (as we often are), we stopped in at a local establishment up on the Gunflint Trail of northernmost Minnesota for dinner.  The small family owned resort’s restaurant was beyond busy.  In fact, the owner had just dropped a basket of chicken wings on the floor in his haste to try to keep up with the crowd.  We helped him pick up the wings, and asked if they might need some help. (Timing is everything!)

When we’re working, we always look for employers that provide housing.   (When we’re in between jobs we prefer to either disburse camp with our tent and van, or house/pet sit.) This resort had outgrown it’s employee housing, so it needed more help than it could provide housing for.

 

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Our new employee housing!

 

Their housing was full, so they couldn’t offer normal employee apartment style accommodations.  But, they did have a “wall” tent that wasn’t being used.  We’re not picky, so we soon found ourselves comfortably set up in our own private camping site, with a large wall tent set up on a wooden platform.  They ran electricity to the tent for us, put a fridge outside next to the picnic table and fire ring.  And even ran a hose over so that we’d have water.

I keep a hanging shower shelf, as it comes in handy for so many things!  This time, it gets to be my outdoor shelf for showering and dishwashing.  With a few boards set out to stand on, we now have a great place for an outdoor shower!

 

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Creative outdoor showering while camping!  Refreshing too!

 

I’ll admit that I don’t shower out there in the mornings, as it’s not heated water.  But it is incredibly refreshing on these hot summer afternoons of late. (Yes, I wear my swimsuit!  Our campsite’s not quite private enough to wear my birthday suit!)  Thankfully the resort also has a staff shower/bath room with a wonderful supply of hot water.

My point though is that if you’re looking for work while traveling, and if you can be flexible (ie. help solve a problem for the potential employer), you’ll open doors.  For example, what different types of work are you willing to do? As mentioned before, many resort areas  are very short on housing for employees.  Do you have a camper or a tent that you can use for housing, if they’ll give you a place to set up?  Find ways to help them, so that they can help you.

The best part is that with this lifestyle, nobody expects you to stick around forever as a career.  If there’s an employer you like especially, you can likely come back again later.  Enjoy the experiences, people and the places as you go.  Make the most of every day.  For us… for now:  We’re enjoying our glamor camping, our 2 minute walking commute to work, living by a beautiful walleye lake up in the remote northwoods of Minnesota, and listening to the loons sing as we fall asleep.

 

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Sunset on the lake

 

Foraging for Wild Blueberries!

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Wild Blueberries Ripening on the Bush

In northernmost Minnesota, wild blueberry season is just getting started. Soon there will be cars along the country roadsides, with hopeful souls scouring the hillsides.  They may very well be fortunate, as our unusually rainy summer seems to be making for a bumper crop.  Hunting for wild blueberries is so popular that it hardly seems like foraging.  Still, they’re well worth the wait, and the effort  Besides being amazingly tasty, these prized little gems are nutritional powerhouses.

Tips for finding blueberries:

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Wild Blueberries – These Aren’t Ripe Yet!

Blueberries love acidic soil and sunshine.  You often will find them on the edge of a forest clearing, on rocky hillsides, or in areas that have been exposed to forest fire.

Note: Lowbush Wild Blueberries grow pretty low to the ground, so be prepared to do a lot of bending over.  You’ll definitely be aware of your back muscles by the end of a day of picking.  Also, you can pick berries that are just nearly ripe.  They will ripen anyway.

Wild blueberries grow best in the northern states and Canada, but can be found elsewhere as well.  See:  US distribution map for (lowbush) wild blueberries.

A word of caution:  Be aware of your surroundings when foraging. Avoid areas that are “unclean” (such as dumps, roadsides, etc.).  Also, be warned that we’re not the only species that enjoys berries.  In particular, bears do love their wild berries too and can be protective of their food sources.  Just be alert and make some noise while berry picking (hum, talk out loud, cough, etc.) to alert any bears in the area of your presence.  (Surprising a bear’s never a good idea.)  If there is a bear there, it will likely leave the spot before you get there.  If it doesn’t, don’t challenge the bear – go find another berry cache!

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Found fresh bear poop in my secret wild blueberry patch.  I thought it looked like someone else had picked the berries already!

Update:  Today I discovered yet another bunch of critters that are protective of their wild blueberry patch: Ants!  My secret berry patch is covered with downed timber that’s in various states of degradation. I was surprised to find biting ants that relentlessly challenged me to the patches.  Being chased off by ants from a berry patch was a first.  But, I don’t feel too badly about it.  After studying one spot in particular, I could tell that a bear had recently tried foraging the same patch and was also run off in haste by the little mighty fighters.  Definitely something to be mindful of.

Lastly, when foraging (whether for wild blueberries or anything else), be respectful.  What does that mean?  Basically, don’t ruin the area for others.

  • Always leave a significant number of berries for nature to replenish itself.
  • Try not to trample the plants.
  • Leave no trace… don’t leave trash, cigarette butts, etc. behind.  It should look as pristine as you found it, minus some berries.
  • And of course, use your plant identification books to make sure you’re picking the right plant and not a poisonous look alike.

Nutritional Information About Blueberries:

Besides being a “superfood” that’s filled with a ridiculous number of antioxidants, studies are showing that blueberries:

  • contain multiple compounds that are strong anti-cancer agents, with the potential of preventing the spread of several kinds of cancer (including liver cancer).
  • supply nutrients to help strengthen your vision.
  • contain a compound that not only helps your skin defend itself from overexposure to the sun, but battles skin cancer.
  • help prevent your muscles from atrophying as you age.

Note:  If you’re foraging your wild blueberries, you’re getting the most organic version that you possibly can!  Why is this important?  Commercially grown blueberries are one of the worst offenders for retaining pesticides from their environment.  This puts store-bought non-organic blueberries consistently on the “dirty” list of harmful foods to avoid.  Organic and wild blueberries are healthful, however.  You just don’t get more natural than what God and nature provide.

Note:  While you’re at it, consider picking some of the blueberry plant’s leaves!  Air dry them, and store them in a dark, dry container for making homemade winter teas.  They contain a compound that helps reduce blood-sugar levels, as well as helps battle urinary tract inflammation.

Just for fun… Some out of the ordinary blueberry recipes:

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(Feel free to share your favorite wild blueberry foraging stories or recipes in the comments!)

Are you awake and present?

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It’s not every day you get to see a dragonfly eating a fly.  A friend of mine took this photo at work (notice the canoe yard in the background!).  It impressed me that he 1) had the presence of mind to notice such a thing, and 2) was fascinated enough to stop what he was doing and delight in what nature was sharing with him.  And you know what?  His life is richer for it.

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On a similar note, the other day, I did an all-day kayak.  I hadn’t planned as well as I should’ve and was getting a little dehydrated with rationing the water I had left.  Wouldn’t you know it, hubby (on his return from fishing for the day) happened by with a water bottle for me.  In addition, I’d had a bit too much sun.  It just so happened that God gave me a small cloud, blocking the sun for the length of my paddle home, along with a slight tailwind (unusual for this lake).  It made me wonder how many times He’s done things like that for me that I didn’t appreciate or notice.

Our modern age of stress, busy-ness, and dependency on e-connectivity doesn’t help.  It creates so many barriers that make it nearly impossible for anyone to unplug long enough to enjoy the gifts of the day.

Case in point:  Last night, we enjoyed a lovely evening and 4th of  July celebration in Grand Marais, MN with some friends.  The company was delightful; the weather was gorgeous; the band’s music was lively; Lake Superior was beautiful; the food smelled decadent; and the fireworks display over the bay was lovely.

I especially loved hearing the boom of the fireworks echoing off the surrounding mountainsides, reminiscent of what I imagine cannon fire to sound like.  But I also watched the crowd.  I don’t know how many of them actually saw the fireworks.  You see, they were all watching the video display of the fireworks on their phones.  Sitting right there, they were watching their phones, as if sitting in their living rooms watching television.

I would suggest that unless you’re fully present (in whatever you’re doing), you’re missing out.  You’re only capturing a fragment of the experience…  a brief glimpse of what the experience could’ve been for you.  Yes, you can play the recording over and over again, but it doesn’t begin to simulate what the actual real experience could’ve been.  And you’ve missed it.

Teaching yourself to be fully present does take some discipline and patience.  The reward is worth it, though.  Our lives can be filled with so much more than we’re allowing them to be.

Quoting from one of our favorite movies, Joe vs. the Volcano:
“only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.”

I’m absolutely convinced this is true.

But I also believe that we can choose a different today than we had yesterday.

Are you ready to watch for the dragonflies in your day?

The People Along the Way: Pascal Bredin

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Today surprised us with a stranger who paddled ashore in a canoe. Granted, we’re working a resort in northern Minnesota that sits on international waters and borders the boundary waters.  So, someone landing on the beach wouldn’t normally be all that unusual.  But this fellow happens to be Pascal Bredin and has been out paddling his canoe for nearly 3 months now.  You see, he’s 20 years old, is by himself, and has undertaken an expedition to canoe across Canada.

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Pascal’s Path to Canoe Across Canada

I asked him why.  He’s always loved canoeing.  In fact, he and a friend have been canoeing since they were children.  Together, they spent years planning this trip to canoe across Canada.  They hoped it would present them with a challenge, and that it would also give them an opportunity to live in harmony with nature.  One of the goals was also to relive the experience of the early explorers who crossed Canada.  Electronics are only being used for safety (GPS tracking), and to document the journey.  Sadly, his friend wasn’t able to join him on the actual journey.

Imagine that it’s just you and whatever provisions you can fit in a canoe.  Picture navigating, paddling and portaging for thousands of miles in the thick, beautiful and unforgiving wilderness… by yourself.  Just thinking about the endeavor brings to mind words like: spirited, inspirational, courageous and determined.

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Just little obstacles in the way at Grand Portage!

Pascal started his trip back in April.  He paddles on average around 25 or 30 miles a day.  That’s a pretty fast pace, but one of his goals is to push himself physically.  The total journey is expected to take 180 days and covers over 4,000 miles. As far as he knows, he’ll be the only one to have canoed across Canada solo.  When asked how long his journey will take, he replies: “until I get hurt, the river freezes over, or I reach Inuvik.”

His meals on the trail consists mostly of foods he’s prepared and dehydrated himself, to make sure he has the right mix of calories, proteins and fats for the trip. His parents send boxes of provisions to pre-determined locations along the way.  We were one of those stopping points.  And while he’s enjoying a couple of days of hot meals and hot showers here, the staff at the resort have been enjoying getting to know him and hearing about his remarkable adventure.

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You can follow Pascal’s facebook page with video and pictures updated as his journey progresses.  Or, on his blog (La remontée des sources), you can see the course map and follow along as his GPS tracks his progress.