A few years ago I would have never signed myself up to attend a workshop or women’s gathering. How things changed when I turned 30 and became really comfortable and confident in the person I am. I have been thinking about connecting with like-minded women for a couple of years now and when the registration opened for the 2016 conference of the Canadian Women’s Wilderness Network (CWWN), I signed up without any hesitations.
Every year the CWWN hosts a conference at Camp Kawartha north of Lakefield. The focus is to offer workshops related to wilderness, network with other women, make new friends or reacquaint with old ones, and share in something that is unique and special over the course of the weekend.
I arrived on Friday evening, checked into my cabin and met up with a group going out on a night hike. I was excited for this because I knew it was an opportunity to really listen in on the spring peepers, heighten my vision sense without the use of artificial light, and get off the beaten path to follow the sound of woodcocks. It was fantastic. Back at the dining hall for 9:30pm, I participated in my first opening circle of the weekend.
I attended the early morning bird watching hike. I can confidently identify the eastern towhee and field sparrow. We heard a ruby-crowned kinglet and song sparrow. A woman in the group found a few salamanders and the smallest I’ve ever seen!
Back in time for breakfast and a morning workshop of “get to know you” games.
I was really excited for the wood splitting and axe skills workshop, and even spent an hour getting instruction on solo paddling. My arm muscles are killing me! I need to start lifting weights if I’m to come out alive from the whitewater paddling course I’m taking in a couple of weekends!
After lunch I attended a foraging for wild edibles workshop, camping in shoulder seasons, and the canoe bar down by the lake. It was an incredible day!
I ended up having to leave early on Sunday to pick my husband up in Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park. It rained all morning and I know that if I was coming back from a canoe trip, I wouldn’t want to wait in the rain with a wet dog!
I’m already excited for next year’s gathering and even signed up to offer a workshop. I’m so glad I went! This year is all about building my own confidence in nature so that I can start to reach out to others who are looking to do the same.
– WILDerness woman