A longtime WI participant, Janet Peterson has been on at least 20 trips since 1980 culminating in over 3 decades in the wilderness. Not only has she been a dedicated explorer, but she also volunteered at WI for many years. Some might even remember her from the ‘Ask Jan’ section of the website!
Growing up, I was deathly afraid of water. I didn’t go in pools, enjoy boat rides, or the surf. But I loved the outdoors. When a friend suggested Wilderness Inquiry, I was reluctant at first. Eventually my adventurous spirit took over.
My first trip was to the Boundary Waters where I got into a canoe for the first time. I was amazed at the stability and from then on I was hooked. I couldn’t paddle much, but loved to walk the portages by myself. It was a quiet time; a time to think, reflect, and look around to watch the wildlife. The paths were narrow and countless times I had to move to the side for someone portaging a canoe or a Duluth pack or two. As they passed, I’d hear “You’re almost there,” “Keep at it,” “Atta girl.” By time I reached the lake I had a big smile and sense of accomplishment.
Hooked on the Outdoors
I enjoyed canoeing tremendously. I loved watching the loons swim, the eagles fly, and see the stars pop out at night. I saw the Northern lights for the first time when we went for a silent night paddle. I canoed the Green River and climbed up to the Anasazi Cliff Dwellings. I rocked and rolled while rafting down the Rio Grande and Flathead Rivers. I even paddled some small rapids in the bow on another trip.
I was fished out of Lake Nipigon when few of us slept on the beach and the tide came in. I was sound asleep and didn’t realize it until a trail staff and a couple participants came and lift me in my sleeping bag to higher ground.
My most memorable and favorite one was the horse pack trip. Although I loved every trip and met fantastic trail staff and participants, this trip allowed me to participate more fully. I cherished the independence I had controlling the reins as we trotted through the wide open meadows or nervously walked down switchback paths.