May term in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota
This May marked the tenth year Associate Professor Hershberger has taken students to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) of Minnesota for a self-contained canoe trip. Hershberger, alumnus Gretchen Nyce, thirteen students and several staff members met for orientation activities, gear checks and canoe rescue practice on campus prior to the trip. After traveling to the Ely, Minnesota, the group spent three days in voluntary service at the base camp formerly known as Wilderness Wind (currently owned by Chicago Voyagers). In preparation for going out on the water, students studied the area (history, people, geography animals, plants etc.) and practiced canoeing, canoe rescues, reading a compass, using a pack, tying ropes and other useful skills. Final preparation included reviewing the route as well as choosing and packing food for the week.
On return, Hershberger described the trip as follows. “Our trip in the BWCA was a seven day adventure beginning in Little Indian Sioux River. We paddled up to the Lac La Croix area for several days. We visited the Indian Pictographs and Warrior Hill, then had a layover day in this area. The rest day started with a pancake breakfast and included bird watching, fishing, journaling and intense hacky sack games. We also made a sauna and followed it with a dip in the cold lake in front of the campsite! The next day we paddled down to Stuart Lake for our final day and came out of the BWCA on day seven. This was a difficult morning of paddling and portaging. It was raining and the final exit portage was one and a half miles long. In this trip we canoed between 40-45 miles total. At the end, we met the staff member with real food at the end of the trail and headed back to camp to clean up all of our gear. After clean up we went in to town for a wonderful dinner.”
We had an exceptional group of students this year! They were fun, cooperative, collaborative and were an excellent singing group. For their projects, students took photographs, wrote poetry, short stories and created art. The last day in camp, students gave presentations on their work from the previous two weeks. We also visited the International Wolf Center in Ely before heading back to Goshen.