In a blink of an eye, the first BushWoman Workshop has came and gone.
What can only be described as a magical weekend with even more beautiful people. Erin, Tracey, Angela, Breann, Christina and Katie, I have taken so much from our short time together. I may have been the coordinator, but I feel I’ve gained far more than I ever expected from this experience.
When we first arrived, everyone’s stances were stiff, introductions were forced and guards were up. Only two people knew one another and three were on their own, so to speak. As we slowly took in the wonder of the fairytale-esqe that was our yurt for the evening, hands that were once crossed into elbows were now in pockets.
Five of the seven women arrived the first evening, including myself, Alyssa Lloyd the photography instructor for the weekend. Once everyone had a chance to take in the three storied yurt, we lit a fire in the Masonic fireplace and crossed our legs on the couch. Slowly but surely, the five sets of hands that were once so stiff and guarded started waving in storytelling motions and were clapping after laughter inducing punchlines.
It’s been two hours, and the entire room has turned into a group of old friends.
Starting the workshop off, we stayed up into the wee hours of the night to capture dark skies and hope for the arrival of northern lights. The ladies got layered up, sorted tripods and hit the trails to start our quest at 10 in the evening.
Erin and Christina were eager students, willing to brave the -24 degrees Celsius temperatures. Once shutter speed and ISO were explained, they moved onto their biggest barrier of the evening, focus. On unmarked lenses, it’s near impossible to guess what focal range will capture the stars in perfect clarity. The first few shots were learning curbs that they jumped, rather quickly, I may add.
As the crescent moon made it’s slow but steady ascent, we decided three hours was long enough to be outside in those temperatures. We trekked back to the yurt where we stuffed our camera in our hats and placed them in cool places so not to damage their innards with condensation.
Asking those who would like to be woken up if one of my nightly checks indeed produced northern lights, everyone was game. Sadly, though I was up every hour, no northern lights revealed themselves that evening.
We started Saturday morning out stretching our coffees well into the early afternoon. It was after all, a must after the 2 a.m. bed time. We visited more while Tracey and Angela made us all a wonderful breakfast. After visiting more we decide it was time to ice fish, but that’s precisely when Katie and Breann, our two stragglers walked in.
An even more organic introduction was had and we decided ice fishing could wait until after some lunch. Besides this is a woman’s retreat, not boot camp.
Or so they thought.
Arriving at the lake we had everyone drill a hand-augured ice hole. As a rite of passage, hand auguring is a wonderful way to count your blessings we now have power augers.
Christina was the last to drill with the hand auger and much to her dismay, we believe she chose the spot with the thickest ice.
I think given the choice, the ladies would have continued drilling holes with the power auger until their hearts were content, but there was fishing to be had. Instantly, we were getting hits on our baits. With an exciting hook set, Breann was reeling a larger fish in and we all gathered to help with the landing. Sadly, it popped off right at the bottom of the ice and we never got to see what she had! But that didn’t stop her from beaming for the rest of the day
As we headed back to our yurt, the ladies were buzzing with recounts from our afternoon on the ice. It made me realize just how much I take for granted my every day life on the lakes.
Katie, owner of Silver Cedar Studio was kind enough to bring us wild game to sample as a second dinner Saturday night. Some of the ladies had never had wild game before, some had only tried venison, but all of us were certainly blown away by the bear bacon.
An experience I would never in a million years think to create, turned out to be better than I’d ever imagined. Bear bacon was one hundred times better than pork bacon, and now I’m afraid the pound left in my fridge will be used for no more than mere toppings on burgers.
That’s a Wrap!
In all fairness, the weekend buzzed by so fast I found myself wishing I had booked four days instead of three. The women involved in BushWoman Workshops first ever outing was fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of ladies that I will now be calling my friends. Even though I was the instructor on this Workshop, I feel like I’ve learnt so much from each and every one of them.
Thank you ladies, for such an incredible weekend, I vote to have a reunion this time next year! ❤