Women in the Wilderness

As a working Mom, time alone is a mystical concept. In the busy days of work at the hospital while raising two little ones, moments when I think of no one but myself are fleetingly rare. I realize that in twenty years from now when the kids are grown and gone, I’ll wish for nothing more than a house full of action, but for now, my only slices of quiet time come in the very early hours of the morning. It’s the only thing that gets me out of bed at 5am to workout, swim and drink my coffee in peace.

Blake is a fabulous dad and partner, but I have to say, it always seems easier for him to have time away than me. Since Henry was born, I have only been away on my own for 5 days, and that was for work!

Back in February, while Blake was out West skiing, I was feeling particularly sensitive about this. With increasing desperation to have a chance to be on my own, I reached out to my close friends with this email:

Hi Ladies –

In the past few days, I’ve been thinking lots about the idea of me having some time ‘off’. Mostly because I’m goddamn jealous of Blake’s 2.5 week skiing adventure while I’m home w/ the kids. haha. 

But seriously, I think we need to start planning our next girlfriend adventure.
I laugh at this now, but I remember at the time I did feel jealous. Of course I was happy that Blake had some well deserved time to enjoy his passion for powder, but it is hard sometimes not to feel resentful.
Thankfully, I have the most understanding, amazing girlfriends and a supportive husband and after five months of planning, we miraculously all had five days off in July to head out into the wilderness for a girls-only canoe trip. No partners. No kids. Just us and lots of wine. 
Wilderness paddling has always been a source of rejuvenation for me. It provides the chance to be away from the daily grind, the laundry, the endless work emails, and day-to-day demands of life. It forces you to slow down, something that I am terrible at doing on my own. A canoe trip was just what I needed to ensure that I ‘relaxed’. 
Unfortunately, the night before our departure, I injured my knee and couldn’t walk without crutches. At our trip packing meeting, over a bottle of wine, my dear friends decided to change the route to allow for less portaging and to stay within cell range as a compromise. Although it wasn’t the hard-core trip that I had wanted, I was desperate to still go and away we went the next morning with my crutch tucked behind my seat in the stern of the canoe. 
The next four days were filled with lazy afternoons reading, swimming, eating, yoga, meditation, card games (“duuuuuutch blitz!!!!”), water-colour painting, more eating and of course, lots of wine drinking. It was a perfect getaway and I am so, so thankful to Meghan, Megan and Cat for forcing me to chill out, not let me carry a thing on the portage trail and for spending precious vacation time with me in the wilderness. 
Route planning
The ‘Before’ picture
Stopping for lunch… we were greeted by a number of American tourist fishermen who were gobsmacked to see a bunch of ladies alone, portaging and paddling. 

Elk sausage! 
Lunchtime on the portage trail
At our first portage.  Megan and her Tims cup, a true Canadian
Cat & Megan
Meghan paddling like a boss even though it was her first canoe trip!
So much chocolate in the trail mix!

Three swimming beauties
Megan making daisy chains

More elk sausage for dinner! Yum!

Cat fishing for us!

Lounging with her vino
Doing the dishes
Love you two!
Bug jackets – great for keeping bugs out, terrible for being able to breathe
Beauty sunset on night #1
Good morning! Having Baileys and coffee under Megan’s expertly placed tarp
Quiet time reading Joseph Boyden while the other girls did yoga.
Day #2 was a ‘rest day’. We stayed put at a nice site and slept in, read, swam, sunbathed, did meditation, yoga and chilled out. It was amazing. I can’t remember the last time I spent a whole day doing nothing. 
Morning dip!
Going for an afternoon paddle

Apres-dinner s’mores

Gooey, goofy goodness

Annnnnnd more Baileys 
Day #3. A perfectly still morning for our paddle over to Vermillion river where we saw a moose swimming at the mouth of the river!

Photo-shoot at the falls

Looking down into the bass hole where there were a ton of fish!

Sailing to our last campsite at Pine Island on Pelican Lake
So much Dutch Blitz!
Cat expertly cutting up her fish
Cat & Megan building up the fire…

…while Meghan makes the pizza!
Lol, no idea but it’s hilarious that there are two already empty wine bottles at this point in the evening already!
Our last day – paddling home to town on Pelican Lake
Meghan at Iron Bridge 
Megan brushing her teeth while Cat does a little morning fishing
The ‘After’ photo
I love you all to pieces! Can’t wait for next year’s adventure 🙂 

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