Seven Days in the Quetico With Strong-Spirited Women

Alice Peacock

It’s been a busy summer! We spent the majority of it up in the Northwoods, near the Minnesota-Canada border, where I taught songwriting at camp and chased my free-range, somewhat feral children around.

At the end of August, and just as school had started again for the kids, I had the opportunity to return to the wilderness and embark on a seven-day canoe trip with eight other strong-spirited women in the Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario.

The first three days were hot and sunny and we worried about sunburn and hydration but on the fourth day the weather turned. It was chilly, windy and rainy. We set up camp on a hill on a small island and waited out a rainstorm which lasted about 36 hours, only coming out of our tents to huddle around our small campfire under a tarp.

We drank tea, shared our meals together and watched the sheets of rain move across the lake. Mostly we were a captive audience in our tents, forced to read books, have conversations and be quiet while we listened to the giant rain drops plop and pitter-patter on our tent fabric. I read a book cover to cover (The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. Loved it!) and relished in the forced slow-down. We marveled to each other: “WHEN do you get to just lay in a tent listening to rain for 36 hours?!”

The trip was challenging with several tricky, rain-slicked, muddy, long, uphill portages, but we all worked together. At one point, we got out of our boats to pull our canoes through thigh deep beaver muck. As I felt my boots fill up with mud and stinky water, I couldn’t help but laugh aloud at the rareness of this experience: “I’ll bet my friends at home aren’t doing this!” I returned home a little bruised on my body, but stronger in muscle and spirit—and excited to do it all again next year!

Over Labor Day weekend, I had the honor of singing an original song I’d written for one of my Kickstarter “Patron of the Arts” backers. It was a lovely wedding in downtown Chicago and we all danced a lot (which is my barometer of a good party)! The song, “Together With You,” was a hit, and I’m considering adding it to my NEXT album or, perhaps, releasing it as a single. I’ve known the bride since she was about 5 years old, and she was stunning in her gorgeous dress, the joy apparent on her face as she married her love.

Alice Peacock