My bags are packed, I’m ready to go, and I’m leaving with a full heart and an excited spirit, with snickerdoodles, peaches and jam my friend Jax made (check out her blog and thank me later), boozy cherries and pickled carrots from another friend, three crystals and a smudge stick from a good soul, and the most beautiful homemade traveller’s notebook from one of my favourite hiking buddies by my side. These people all understand different aspects of the adventure I’m embarking on, and I’m reminded again and again how lucky I am to have them in my life. They get it.
Speaking of getting it, there are several questions I’ve received over and over for weeks. Some of them are simple, some of them are tough to answer, and some of them I just don’t have answers for. In case you’ve been wondering…
Where’s the trapline?
It’s hard to explain exactly where it is because there are no roads that lead to it. I’ve come to realize in the last few months how often I’ll explain a location by it’s highway mileage from somewhere else. The best way to explain it is it’s 80-ish air miles from both Flin Flon and Thompson, and about 25 air miles from Snow Lake, Manitoba.
What will you be trapping?
Squirrels, muskrat, weasel, otter, beaver – the list is likely longer, but those are the ones I know of for sure. I’ve been told I’ll start by skinning squirrels, and once I get good enough at that, I can move on to the next thing…
Don’t you think it will hurt your soul?
I can’t answer that, because I don’t know. I’ve never had an experience like this before, and I’m entering it with an open mind. I had a great chat with an outdoorsman in my community a few weeks ago, and he told me about the internal conflict he faced when he first began hunting. His lasting message, in my mind, was that when humans are in the forest, they are a part of the forest. Nothing in the forest dies of old age – everything is taken by its natural predators.
How do you shower?
There’s a bag shower in one of the outbuildings. Water is hauled 50 feet from the lake, heated on a woodstove, and dumped into the bag, which is hoisted into the air with a rope. The water runs down into a bathtub with a hose attached to it which drains out of the cabin. I feel there will be a detailed and spirited post about the shower process when I return.
What are your intentions for yourself while you’re in the bush?
I’m doing my very best to enter this experience with no expectations. With that being said, I plan on reflecting on where my life is at and evaluating what stays and what goes, in every sense. That’s probably my most prominent intention. Along with the work on the trapline and at camp I’ll be taking part in, I’ll be devoting time to writing and photography, but also reading, meditation and yoga.
What inspired you to do this in the first place?
The short answer is: The opportunity presented itself and I jumped at it.
I’m an outdoorsy girl. In most of my spare time I’m hiking, backpacking, camping, paddling, or just sitting outside thinking my thoughts and enjoying the view.
I’m a lover of nature and a lover of stories, and when I learned about the trapline last December, I was fascinated by the concept of it. I thought that the activity was long in the past, and it was news to me traplines still exist (in fact, yesterday I was told there are people in my neck of the woods who are actively hoping to be bestowed a trapline).
I wanted the opportunity to experience the lifestyle, and understand first-hand our relationship with the land, and I wanted some time to get away and breathe and reflect on where my life is at.
I was invited to come for the fall in the spring, but at the time it didn’t look feasible in any way. Then circumstances changed – as they are apt to do to make what is supposed to happen, happen – and I find myself driving – maybe right now, as you’re reading this – north and east for the fall.