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By: Kathy Landis and Kate Holsopple

Some may be asking, “What is this building for?” or even “Why another building?” As the saying goes “A picture paints 1000 words”, so we offer this picture of the garage at the end of last summer. At the end of each summer, we pack things up… into the spaces that we have. The garage being the biggest open space, is rearranged for all the large items. In addition, throughout the summer season, camping gear and maintenance equipment share the same space. This works OK until a canoeing group needs to get gear when the maintenance staff is using power tools. As camp activity increases, so does the tightness of multi-used spaces such as the garage. Thus, the dovetail building.

Dovetail is a type of construction that is used to join corners. Most of us only see it in dresser drawers or small items. The Finnish of Northern Minnesota used it for making buildings. They created dovetail homes, garages, saunas, barns and other outbuilding. See the photo for the detail on the building. (To add to the historical context of the building, Finnish people immigrated to the area in the late 1880. The buildings are made well as they have lasted over 100 years. They came to mine iron ore, but homesteaded in flat areas like Embarrass and Palo as they were easier to farm).

Last summer, one such garage was for sale. It had been taken down and moved from Embarrass, Minnesota and was ready for a new home. This summer, it was reconstructed at Wilderness Wind. As is often the case, many hands and contributions have made this building possible. Thank you!



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Paddle-a-Thon 2012

Rose Byler, Wilderness Wind Summer Staff

Alright, let’s be honest. This is a challenge. In the space of one blog post (although I do have pictures on my side) I will be attempting to connect our millions of blog followers to the brutal, beautiful reality of the Paddle-a-Thon event. Where to begin…

What is the Paddle-a-Thon? To quote our website (www.wildernesswind.org), “On the first day (of 2), participants paddle from 30-70 miles (their choice) within the Minnesota Boundary Waters and/or the Canadian Quetico. The second day of the event includes play, celebration and rejuvenation. The 2012 paddle-a-thon took place on August 4th and 5th.”

All of the 2012 Paddlers sporting their Paddle-a-Thon bandanas

“The main purpose of the event is to raise funds for Wilderness Wind operations, but of course we intend to have a memorable and enjoyable time doing it. In addition, we seek to make the event faithful to our mission, meaning that we seek to nurture our relationship with God and creation through wilderness living, which promotes spirituality, cooperation and environmental sustainability.”

The event itself is an intense experience and is strikingly different every year. Here are some paddler statistics from this year to get you in the right frame of mind…

  • 15 paddlers were involved: Steve Mullet, Brad Mullet, Luke Mullet, Jacob Landis, Joshua Landis, Karen Mast, Saralyn Mast, Krista Rittenhouse, Kate Holsopple, Dave Leonard, Clinton Miller, Aubrey Helmuth Miller, Zeb Holsopple, Matthew Helmuth, and myself, Rose Byler
  • 6 canoes went out… and here’s our beak-down
    • Matthew and Zeb: 42 (4.05 miles of portage)
    • Rose and Aubrey: 40 (1.3 miles of portage)
    • Kate, Jacob, and Joshua: 40.3 (4.12 miles of portage, including Canadian bushwacks)
    • Dave and Clinton: 23 (includes 5 portage miles!)
    • Steve, Luke, and Brad: 22 (1.06 miles of portage) PLUS 300 yard swim
    • Krista, Karen, and Saralyn: 22 (2.8 miles of portage)
  • 463 person miles… enough to get you from DC to New York City and BACK!
  • Aaaaand one capsize (don’t worry though, they were quite close to the take out point and survived it quite well only losing one compass out of the whole boatload)

Undoubtedly, the weather was the thing that was noticed this year. In one day we experienced low cloud ceiling, stormy wind, sunrise behind clouds, cold, misting rain in the distance, brief sprinkling rain, pockets of blue sky peeking through the cloud ceiling, hours of downright balmy sunshine, sunny wind, an approaching wall of storm, cold driving rain, cold stormy wind, and a rainbow! There was weather. My grandpa likes to hike in the rain because he feels like he’s being touched by nature. During the Paddle-a-Thon, we were certainly all touched by nature and awed by the power of creation reflecting the power of the Creator.

In such an action-packed day, there are far too many individual experiences to illustrate in full. In an attempt to share some of them during our celebration, we asked all participants what their memorable moments of the day were. Here’s a brief summary:

  • Paddling in the bow crashing through wave after wave after wave (Jacob)
  • The Great Canadian Bushwhack – Bushwacking through the forest on a supposed portage (Jacob, Joshua, Kate)
  • The sky and all it’s changes throughout the day
  • Being on the edge between storm and blue sky
  • The huge double rainbow at the take-out point
  • 150 yard swim and nap in deeeep moss (Luke and Brad)
  • Watching Dave and Clinton “swim” before he realized who they were (Steve)
  • Olympics announcer-style commentary through the waves (Krista, Karen, and Saralyn)
  • The whole trip! But when we were getting really fatigued…Veggie tales! (Steve, Luke, and Brad)
  • A break for fishing at Lower Basswood Falls (Zeb and Matthew)
  • Navigation – being “100% sure” about 4 times before finally getting it right (Krista, Karen, and Saralyn)
  • Playing leap frog with other canoe groups through navigation woes (Jacob, Joshua, and Kate)
  • Completing the 4-mile portage (Clinton and Dave)

In this space, we’d also like to send a huge THANK YOU to all the many supporters who made this possible. We’d especially like to recognize Stan and Marilyn Kamp (our wonderful SOOP volunteers this summer) who helped prepare ahead of time, stayed at base camp during the day, and took good care of us as we arrived home. We would like to thank our business sponsors who donated prizes to our paddlers and financial contributions as well. We would like to thank those of you who made this a success through your financial contributions. This is a fundraiser (in addition to being a fun paddling event) and we were able to raise over $7,000 to further Wilderness Wind’s ministry. Donations are still coming in (and we’re still welcoming them!) so we can’t give a final number yet, but it’s been a huge gift. Finally, we’d like to thank all of you who have held (and continue to hold) Wilderness Wind, the staff, volunteers, campers, and all the paddlers in the 2012 Paddle-a-Thon in the light. Thank you all for your ongoing support and enjoy the photos!

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