Shopping, Packing, Sewing, and Maps

Hi Everyone!

We had a busy couple of weeks and are checking things off of our to do list very quickly!

On June 21, we took our crew to savers to get their trail clothes. There was a good variety of colors, which will brighten up the day and camp at night. The girls found the majority of what they will need on trail, and it isn't a lot at all! 

June 23rd had lots of learning involved throughout the day. We were on the water for the whole meeting. We taught the girls how to do a T-rescue in case if one of the canoes tipped in the middle of the river. A T-rescue is when another canoe T's up to the one upside down, takes it out of the water on their canoe, flips it the right way after all the water drains, and then slides it back in the water right side up. Friday was a little more windy than we had hoped, and we had to do a T-rescue earlier than expected. My partner, Brooke, did very well learning on the fly with a real life situation in helping Anna and Sofia back into a canoe that floats. We taught them all how to do a rescue when we got to the bay area. They did a great job! After that, we paddled to another bay to teach them how to J-lean. The object is to lean and fill the canoe with water until it sinks while using a high or low brace with their paddles, but not tipping it. This technique helps the girls get a feel for how the canoe reacts with their shifting body weight and how far the canoe can lean without tipping. This is very useful for whitewater! 

On Tuesday the 27th, the girls filled most of the spices we will bring on trail. The crew also finished packing all of the food we were missing, except for one or two things we are still waiting for. The last thing we did was put our packs together... or at least we tried:) It was hard to find the right clevis pins, and some of the packs were the wrong ones for the certain frame. We will finish this for sure before we start packing the packs;)

Last Wednesday, Fred came in the beginning to check over our route. We brought up google maps to take a closer look, rerouted a little bit, and measured the coordinates of our potential campsites. We have two big name portages, the Black Lake portages and Big Sas, and we will be on the Bloodvein River for the last half of our trip. The route looks really good with beautiful scenery, some challenges to push the girls, and many memories to make!

Wednesday night, we sewed all of the ditty bags we will be using to keep some of our personal gear in. Paddle cases were also sewn to keep the paddles as safe as possible. The night went very smooth thanks to all of parent volunteers to help teach the girls how to sew properly!

On Friday, all of us went for a long portage that ended up being a mile. Everyone pushed through and completed the trek, Great Job! Afterwards we went through some safety with some of the equipment we will be bringing up on trail. We ended the meeting with explaining and going into detail about some more of the personal equipment. Trail is coming up super fast!

Also, the girls have done a very good job at keeping the dehydrator going at all hours. Almost all of the food is done, and that is very nice to have the weight lifted off everyones shoulders so we can focus on any last preparations.

We have a busy week ahead of us and I hope everyone brings their game faces:)

Keep up the hard work!!!

Your guides,

Hannah and Megan

Hard work pays off!!!

Hi Everyone!

First of all, the girls did a fantastic job at crew olympics!! We placed in the middle of the pack against everyone, but for just the second session crews we placed in the top spot. The Olympics consisted of putting up a tarp, packing the kettle pack, paddling and portaging, which they all contributed help to very well!

On Wednesday, we had a crew meeting to plan our route. They did a good job of this and worked very well together! There are some key points we will be stopping at, and the Bloodvein River is the main river we will be on for the last half of the trip.

Friday was a big day. We had our baking day to make hot chocolate, bannock, hudson bay bread, and the hamburger. We finished everything and then half of the girls went to the dehydrator with the meat and half went to Basecamp to finish packing the food we did not get on food packing day. It was a long day, but we got a lot accomplished.

Sunday was first session send off. Some of the girls came and it was good for them to realize that it will be them leaving in a little over three weeks. That night we had our crew sleepover. We tie dyed shirts and handed out equipment. We showed them how to start a fire like we would on trail and the crew got it going with only using sticks and matches, no paper! Really good! We slept in Basecamp and woke up at 5 to go paddling. It was a beautiful morning and the girls really got the J- Stroke down! Afterwards, we showed the girls how to use the stoves we bring with us and cooked our breakfast on there. Both of the days were super productive and prepared the girls well for trail. 

Overall, the teamwork keeps improving and that's exactly what we like to see! Keep up the good work ladies!!

Megan and Hannah

Food, Food, and more Food

Hi Everyone!

We had another busy week preparing for our trip. The girls were very productive throughout the whole week!

On Tuesday we had our Beef Jerky Day. This was a day where all of the crews get together to separate the meat from the fat on the jerky slabs. We made a tasty marinade for the meat to soak in before we dehydrated it later on. Everyone stayed focused and we got done in an impressive amount of time.

Wednesday was a great day. The crew paddled on the Mississippi River near Basecamp for the first time. They got a feel for what the action of each stroke does to a canoe in the water. The girls learned a little more about teamwork as well. Everyone got the hang of the correct way to paddle fairly well! At the end of the meeting, we showed the girls how to set up a tarp properly. It combined all of the knots they learned into one activity. The final product was sturdy and would have kept us dry. 

Thursday was another important day. This was the day we bagged almost all of the food we will be bringing up on trail. Jess did a fantastic job as the food manager and made it through the stressful day! The girls all did so well at jumping in to find food and help out whenever possible. Great job everyone!!!

Friday, we had an optional paddling day. Anna, Emma, and Sofia all took advantage of this opportunity. They really figured out how to keep the canoe moving in a straight line and got the J stroke down. The improvement of skills is great to see!

Lastly, we have crew olympics coming up on Monday the 12th. This is our crews' time to shine and show off all of the amazing skills they have learned thus far. We know they will make us proud!

Your Guides,

Hannah and Megan


Busy Bees

Hello everyone!

The past 3 days have been busy ones! Crew olympics are coming up fast and we want our crew to be just as prepared as the first session crews.

On Wednesday we went out to the Boyle household to set up our dehydrating site. The girls learned how to prepare all the fruits and vegetables for the dehydrating process. We also taught them how to bag the food, a great skill to have for food packing day. Keeping the site clean is essential to prevent animals and insects from getting in the food. It also keeps the food from spoiling and having a good, clean site in general is nice to have.

On Thursday, we taught the girls a variety of necessary skills. We started off with portaging the canoes down the road for the first time. All of the girls completed the trek and the encouragement was great to hear and see. After that, we went through the parts of a paddle and showed the girls three different paddle strokes. We had them practice the strokes on the dock and we will be paddling with canoes in the water very soon! The night ended with the crew learning how to pack the kettle pack, which was impressive for their first time!

Today, Friday, we had a crew dinner date at Mexican Village. Afterwards, we went to the Boot Shack to fit everyone with the right pair of boots. Along with the boots, the girls got 2 pairs of socks and liners, a tub of mink oil, and another set of laces. We went through how to mink oil the boots and it should be done fairly soon so they can start breaking in the boots. 

The last 3 days were busy, but we got a lot done. The girls' skills are improving greatly, and they are working as a team to complete the dynamics of the crew. 

Keep up the hard work!

Hannah and Megan

Flipping Fanatics

Hi everyone!

The meeting on May 24th went very well. The girls learned a huge and useful skill, how to flip a canoe. All of the girls showed great determination and hard work. We will for sure practice this skill more, along with portaging as the next step. Keep up the good work!

We also cleared a mock portage trail as a crew job. It helps all of the crews out as they prepare for their journeys.

We love how everyone is getting to know each other very well. Words of encouragement and teamwork stood out in our meeting.

Until next time! 

Megan and Hannah

Rise and Shine :)

Hello everyone!

We had an early meeting this morning to finish what we started on Wednesday. This was the only time it worked for everyone so hopefully in the future there will be meetings at more reasonable times. Everyone came and was very productive!

The crew finished the menu for our trip. Now the girls will just have to dehydrate and bag it all. We also had the girls do a map activity. This just introduced them to the maps and hopefully helped them feel a little more comfortable with them. We will be taking them out a couple more times to plan the route.

The parent meeting is coming up fast and we can't wait to meet everyone!

Your Guides,

Hannah and Megan

Busy Night!

Hello everyone!

Tonight we had the meeting at Hannah's house as there were many other crews out at Basecamp. We went over knots and are looking forward to applying the new skills outside to a real setting. The girls got extremely good at the different knots, and it was great to see them improve throughout the night. 

We did some housekeeping work and everyone picked their pre-trip crew jobs. It was great to see the girls step up into these different positions and we can't wait to see how they use their creativity to accomplish their jobs. 

We started planning the menu for our trip as well. Watching the girls continue to learn to work together to figure out our meals was a big step in the right direction. We can't wait to finish what we started tonight. 

As a reminder, there is wood clearing this Saturday, and any help is much appreciated. This event starts at 8:00 am at Basecamp. If you do plan to come, wear closed toe shoes, long pants, and bring work gloves. Hope to see some of you there!

If there are any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact us.

It was great to see everyone tonight, we are looking forward to the future meetings!

Hannah and Megan

First Weekly Meeting!


Tonight we had our first of many weekly meetings! We drove out to Base Camp with the girls just to have them get a feel for the neighborhood. 

We toured all of Base Camp and went over some rules that went along with it. We also set up a google calendar so the girls can put in their schedules. This will make it easier to plan days to meet where everyone can make it. We ended the night by teaching the crew to tie some knots we will be using on our trip.

It was great to see every out there tonight, can't wait until next week!

Your Guides, 

Hannah and Megan

First Crew Meeting!!!

Hi everyone!

Our first meeting went fantastic! It was great to get to know everyone a little better. We discussed goals for the trip and guidelines for base camp. We are going to be starting weekly meetings now on Wednesdays. These meetings will be focused on the basic preparations for our trip. Starting early will ensure a successful trip. 

Also, by now, all the girls have tried on the clothing and the order form should have been turned into Fred. You didn't have to purchase everything on the order form, but we recommended most of the items on there as everything is very durable and lasts a long time. 

We hope everyone is as excited as we are for the summer that awaits.

From your guides,

Hannah and Megan


Welcome to the Ackerman/Windschitl Crew!


We are excited to welcome you to our crew! This summer will be one of the most rewarding and challenging summers thus far, and we are so happy to be a part of your adventure. This website is for our pre-trip calendar, pictures, and updates. Everything you would need to know about this journey will be posted on this website.

We would like to take this time to introduce ourselves.

I'm Megan Ackerman and I'm currently a freshman going for nursing at Bemidji State University. I graduated from Sauk Rapids last year and have been involved in this great program for the past 2 years. I grew up on a farm and like to be outdoors, hunt, and enjoy volunteering.

My name is Hannah Windschitl. I am currently a freshman at the college of St. Benedict's majoring in Environmental Studies. I grew up in Sartell and went to Cathedral High School. In my free time I like to spend time with my family, be outside, and help others. 

We've grown together as a team since we were on the same Far North Crew last summer. We are so excited for the upcoming summer and the wonderful journey we will embark on as a crew. 

If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact either one of us. Contact information is found within this site under our crew webpage or staff directory. We can't wait to meet the families of our crew this upcoming parent meeting.


See you then!

Hannah and Megan