Initially in my journey to find myself, who I am, or why I even exist, I often went up north to Algonquin Park, or the Frost Centre area (Haliburton, Dorset, Minden in Ontario) and did many solo trips. I consciously did this to meet my great fear of being ALONE.
On my very first trip, I was so bold, naive and rash that I didn’t even know how to carry the canoe all by myself. I found myself at the first portage and suddenly realized how I forgot to figure this out and learn it before I left. After my initial panic & despair, I relaxed a little, slowed down, took some deep breaths and looked carefully at the canoe. I then lifted it up at one end, jimmied myself up to the middle underneath it, put it on top of my head, turned around until I was facing out and then lifted it up onto my shoulders. I did it! Then I started walking on the portage. Except that I forgot to check the map and somehow there was a fork in the road – AND I TOOK THE WRONG FORK!
After walking for half a mile, I thought I should have been at the end by then, I put down the canoe and checked the map. I realized my mistake and turned around, but at this point, I was so tired that I could hardly keep it on my shoulders. I then realized that the weight of the canoe, plus the big pack on my back, was truly making me feel my body and the minute movements of my hips rotating in my sockets. I truly felt ‘grounded’, into my legs and body, for the first time in my life! But there was only so far, a limit to what my body could actually do.
I eventually started dragging the damn thing behind me, not caring if it got scratched to death! The objective idea of my ‘romance’ of going on a ‘spiritual warrior’ adventure, to meet myself in the middle of nowhere, was beginning to wear thin. I finally arrived at the end of the portage and discovered that there were very, very strong winds coming across the lake. After about 5 min. of trying to steer my solo canoe I realized that if I sat in the very front I could have better control – but it still was soooo hard to really get anywhere against the wind. I ended up turning around and found a single campsite on an small island, right across from the portage. It was a bit of a quieter bay here, on the other side of the island, so I settled in for the evening, making myself a delicious dinner and went to sleep, feeling somewhat satisfied with my new home.
In the middle of the night I suddenly woke up to an incredible ruckus. An animal was trying to get into my special olive barrel protector of my food that I had stuffed under my canoe which was on a very steeply sloped rock. I was terrified that it was a big black bear! After some time to get up my nerve, I finally peeked out of my tent and discovered – it was only a raccoon! Phew! I got my flashlight and jumped out, yelling, to scare him away. I was able to protect my food stash. I had been too tired to hang the food up that night and just thought it might be ok under the weight of the canoe. The rest of the night I slept fitfully, always wondering if the ‘coon’ would come back.
Over the next couple of days, I realized that my campsite was situated on a portage/canoe route ‘highway’ for other trippers to go into other deeper routes of Algonquin Park. I discovered that I never really was alone much as I often could see someone canoeing by my site. In fact some people actually came onto my little island campsite to sit out of the intense wind of the larger lake where their campsite was one afternoon, and to my surprise, I found myself asking them to leave – so that I could be more alone!
Stay tuned for my next blog, where I will talk about some great lessons that I learned on these solo wilderness trips.
If you want to find out what it might be like to go on a wilderness canoe trip to face your inner fears as well as to learn more about Nature’s deep wisdom, please contact me. I will be organizing a women’s only, and mixed group Earth & Soul Wisdom canoe trips this summer. If you prefer a one-on-one session, we can just talk about how to heal your fears in a private therapy session.
There are a number of ways to reach me. You can email me at Ingrid@buildingsoul.ca or phone. You can leave a comment right here on the website, or you can click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.