Lake Superior

The Good Life

A 4-week Summer Travel Program

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Duration
26 Days
Description

Paddle across the legendary waters of Lake Superior to camp on wilderness sand beaches. Explore issues of sovereignty, indigenous rights, and relations to land and water as we learn about local fisheries, logging practices, and the pursuit of “the good life” way up north.

Dates

Jul 5 - Jul 30, 2022


Suggested Ages

15-18

Number of Participants

12


Availability

Open

Begins In

37 Weeks

Land Cost

$6,490


Estimated Flight Cost

N/A

Chequamegon Bay

Program Overview

Paddle your way to wilderness sand beaches, harvest wild foods and listen to stories of the Great Gitchigami under a blanket of dazzling stars.


In an endless sea of azure fresh water, verdant islands emerge outlined by white sandy beaches, mysterious caves, and the chaotic forest canopies. This astounding landscape of natural beauty and abundance is the spiritual hub of the Anishinaabe Nation and today is populated by a diverse community of farmers, loggers, fisherfolk, and artisans all pursuing “the good life” through myriad relationships to the land and water.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spend five days sea kayaking the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore exploring white sand beaches, camping under the northern lights, and swimming from sandstone cliffs.
  • Engage with tribal members to learn about indigenous sovereignty, Ojibwe cultural history, and relations to land and water.
  • Build traditional skills such as tanning hides, building shelter, foraging wild foods and medicines, and animal tracking.
  • Connect with local artisans to learn about their crafts and lifestyles.
  • Herd…

In an endless sea of azure fresh water, verdant islands emerge outlined by white sandy beaches, mysterious caves, and the chaotic forest canopies. This astounding landscape of natural beauty and abundance is the spiritual hub of the Anishinaabe Nation and today is populated by a diverse community of farmers, loggers, fisherfolk, and artisans all pursuing “the good life” through myriad relationships to the land and water.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spend five days sea kayaking the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore exploring white sand beaches, camping under the northern lights, and swimming from sandstone cliffs.
  • Engage with tribal members to learn about indigenous sovereignty, Ojibwe cultural history, and relations to land and water.
  • Build traditional skills such as tanning hides, building shelter, foraging wild foods and medicines, and animal tracking.
  • Connect with local artisans to learn about their crafts and lifestyles.
  • Herd sheep and harvest berries as we explore diverse farming practices on throughout the peninsula.

Our journey begins deep in the woods on a historic farmstead situated along the south shore at the northern-most point of Wisconsin, on what is now known as the Bayfield Peninsula. The land here is renowned for its pristine environment, rugged waters, extensive wilderness, and abundant orchards and gardens. The local Ojibwe people, “People of the Big Water” or ‘gi-chi-b-waa-tig’ remain at the hub of this historical, spiritual and cultural crossroads highly significant for the past 1,500 years but which extends back more than 4,000 years. Potter’s farm, where we’ll spend our first nights together, is a retreat space dedicated to cultivating consciousness, connection and social change through a deeper relationship to the land. Housed together in a century-old farmhouse, our group will begin forging a unique bond that will serve as the foundation for the adventures to come.

From our wooded sanctuary we head to the shores of Lake Superior to establish a base-camp allowing us to pursue experimentation with the traditional ways of of working with plants and animals. Alongside local mentors, we’ll pursue wilderness skills such as fire-making, shelter-building, animal tracking, working with birchbark and more. We’ll also delve into Ojibwe Language and begin learning the original names given to the plants and land around us. Each day we swim in the cold waters of the lake, and hike extensively through hardwood forests exploring rivers and waterfalls. This is also the time when the annual Red Cliff Pow Wow takes place and we’ll look to participate in the festivities and honoring of the Earth, Water and culture of the Ojibwe People.

Our next chapter takes us to the many farms that dot the landscape along the South Shore of Lake Superior. We’ll spend a few days at The Draw Permaculture Sanctuary learning about the core principles and practices of permaculture, and sharing in the summer agricultural cycles. We also take day-trips to surrounding dairies, orchards, fisheries and logging operations. As we explore, we invite conversations on land stewardship and natural resource conservation and harvesting.

Finally, we take to the water, working with local kayak guides we embark on a five-day expedition into the wilderness of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Each day, we’ll paddle several hours, landing on sandy beaches to make camp and prepare meals. Our destination is the journey itself, hopping from island to island and exploring the incredible beauty of this remote landscape. Lake Superior, the Great Gitchigami, is a temperamental force, lulling us to sleep on a sandy beach, only to be awoken by the ominous approach of rolling thunder. Five days at sea feels like a lifetime, and even as we return to land, we find ourselves with the sensation of rocking 0n waves as we drift to sleep each night.

We return to the familiarity of Potter’s farm for our last few nights together, grounding our experience, and authoring our narrative of our journey in this place. As we witness each other, and feel the abundance of the South Shore,  we say our goodbyes and wrap up our program together under the warm, starry nights of the great Northwoods.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

3/5
Spirituality and Philosophy

Introduction to Ojibwe spiritual beliefs and practices through teachings with local elders and Tribal members. Exploration of local earth-based spiritual beliefs and nature practices.

5/5
Wilderness Immersion

5-day kayak excursion into Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Group camping on Lake Superior in a private site. Multiple day-hikes and excursions.

5/5
Land and Water Stewardship

Fresh water fisheries and water quality management, forestry and logging practices, agricultural impacts, indigenous sovereignty and land management practices

3/5
Immersive Travel

This program seeks to immerse students in the forests, farms, and rural communities of Lake Superior's South Shore. We seek to support local projects that practices eco-tourism, low-impact travel, and community-based models for lodging and activities.

4/5
Themes

Indigenous sovereignty, social and environmental justice, alternative lifestyles, food systems, conservation, artistic traditions.

1/5
Homestay

Farm-stay with a local sheep dairy farmer and cheesemaker, farm-stay on a permaculture and education center and family homestead.

2/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

ISPs facilitated through the program. Students may focus on a hands-on project such as carving, weaving, drum-making, basket weaving, or medicinal plants, mineralogy, soils, wildlife identification and others.

2/5
Language Study

Introduction to Ojibwe Language, story telling, songs, and basic vocabulary learning.

3/5
Learning Service

Service projects in cooperation with the Red Cliff and Bad River Tribal Farms, potential service work at The Draw Permaculture Center.