June 9, 2013 in Northern Tier
Today was Christmas in June. Its basically a day where the alumni association (a group of people who worked at Northern Tier in the past) come and teach various skills and then give us Christmas presents. They put it this way: the past week we have been taking our core training courses, and this day allows us to branch out and take electives for different skills for the trail.
So, the first one I went to was expedition planning. An alumni talked about a trip that he took with four other guys way back in the seventies from Alaska to Canada. There wasn't much skill to be taught, but it was really neat to see how different things were done back then. At one point in the trip they had to stop for two days to fix their canoe ribs by shaping their own out of a tree, and also carving out a paddle.
Then I went to a little fishing class where another alumni taught us about how fishing works up here in the Boundary Waters. Basically the main fish that we are going to find up here are Northern Pike, Walleye, Small-mouth Bass, and Lake Trout. He gave us some really good pointers on where to find fish in a lake and also how to fish while simultaneously paddling around the lake.
Next was advanced paddling. They taught us all about a whole bunch of different strokes for turning, correcting, and rotating a canoe, and also how to efficiently paddle so you aren't completely work out after a 20 mile day. The guys teaching the class have been paddling for over 50 years and it was really fun cause we got to paddle for 2 hours.
Next was lunch, and instead of seeing what the mystery meat of the day was in the dining hall, I went to the Shore Lunch class. He showed us how to filet all of the different fish we will find up here and showed us how to fry, poach, bake, and roast the fish. And we also got to eat it so that was awesome.
Lastly I went to the fly fishing station. Before I even touched a pole, they taught me how to tie my own fly, and it was actually pretty cool. Then we went outside and learned how to cast with a fly fishing pole. Unfortunately, the base doesn't have any poles for us to take out on the trail, but it was a cool experience anyway.
After dinner we had out Christmas celebration. Every staff member was recognized with a gift. First years like me got a "Charlie Guide," which is a n awesome book filled with hundreds of entries submitted by interpreters about the Boundary Waters. Second years got a paddle, third years a pack, and fourth years a filet knife. Well, Its about time for me to go help deep clean the lodge.
(Deep clean the lodge is Northern Tier code for DANCE PARTY IN THE LODGE!!!