Quick Update

Hello All! 

We would just like to give you a quick update on the short meetings we have had recently and whats coming up in the upcoming weeks! 

As for the past couple short meetings we have had (Wednesday, Friday, Sunday), the girls have been able to get out on the water and continue to improve on paddling. Each time we go paddling, we see improvement, and the girls continue to gain confidence in their paddle strokes and ability to control the canoe. Paddling is something that we will continue to do often before we leave, so that everyone is comfortable when we paddle away and start our journey up on trail (very soon)! As for the next steps in paddling, we will begin to go on longer paddles so that the girls arms get used to paddling for a longer amount of time (as we will do up on trail). Additionally, we will soon load the canoes so that they can get the feel of what it will be like (weight wise) to paddle up on trail with 3 packs and an extra person! 

As for the upcoming weeks leading up until we leave, there is going to be a lot going on! This week, we have 2 big days: Beef Jerky Day and Baking Day. These will be held on Wednesday June 20th and Thursday June 21st. The following week we will have our Ditty Bag Day, and soon after that we will have to start packing our packs and preparing to leave. Additionally, we will have a family BBQ out at basecamp on June 24th as a time for families to meet each other, and give the girls an opportunity to show everyone around (thanks to Jessie Zack for setting that up -look for an email/ text from her with information about it- otherwise it is also our on crew calendar!) As for skills wise, the girls will be learning more skills they will need up on trail, while also fine-tuning ones that they have already learned. The girls will continue to dehydrate the rest of the food we will need such as our beef jerky, hamburger, fruits and vegetables. 

For those of you who may not have seen, the first session crews left this past Sunday (June 17th), and are now on trail. Les Voyageurs has posted a few pictures on Facebook if you would like to go check those out! In just 24 short days we will be at our last supper, heading up to Canada to welcome first session out of the bush, as we head in there!! 

Time is counting down until we leave, and excitement is rising! 

McKenna and Mackenzie 

Finally in the River!

Yesterday's weather finally cooperated to allow us to get in the water! We learned how to T-Rescue a capsized canoe in the middle of a large river or lake. Hopefully we never have to use this on trail (knock on wood) but in case we do, the girls are now equipped with the techniques they need to rescue canoes! Next, the girls got the opportunity to J-Lean a canoe. J-leaning is when you try to tip your canoe just enough so water can start to fill the boat, but no enough that it completely tips upside down. It is tough to get a handle on how far is too far, but familiarity is starting to form after just a half hour. While doing this, the girls also learned how to "brace" with their paddles to make the canoe go back right side up in the middle of tipping. This will help the girls prevent tipping (and T-Rescues) on trail if they become comfortable with both bracing and knowing the canoe's tipping points. It was a quick, but fun meeting! We will continue to work on J-Leaning and T-Rescues in future meetings! Overall the girls had fun getting in the river on a nice day!

McKenna and Mackenzie 

Rain, Rain Go Away, We Wanted to Paddle Today

Today's plans had to be slightly modified due to the rain and lightening. That being said, we still got a lot of things done and getting a few steps closer to being ready for trail in one short month (Crazy to think it is so close!).

We started off the meeting spreading out all our maps and putting finishing touches on the route that the girls want to take this summer. Having a few guest appearances from other guides to share their past routes (Thanks to Mary Spethman, Hannah Windschitl, and Ann Berdan!) we nailed down what looks to be a challenging but exciting route! Out Map Manager Avery had the honor of using an Expo marker to trace our future path on the maps. The next step in officially nailing down this route is to have the prestigious Fred Rupp come and impart his expertise and give us the final tweaks and OK on the route. As of now, our route includes some cool cliff jumping, rapid swimming, all 3 of the possible 2nd Session "Big Name Portages" (famous in LVI history for kicking crew's butts year after year), pictographs, and a night paddle.

The girls also learned how to orienteer using only a compass and a map due to the lack of Google Turn By Turn Navigation in the Canadian Wilderness. Orienteering was tied together with how to measure UTM's which are a unit of measure similar to longitude and latitude on the maps. We also tied in a classroom session on how to navigate white water hazards and safely go down rapids that we will see along the Blood Vein and Berens River during our trip. We finished up the meeting with a quick crash course on a variety of topics like lightening safety, how to load and unload canoes with packs, and how to start fires with matches. 

We can't wait for our next meetings to continue to build off the skills the girls have!

McKenna and Mackenzie 

We Are the Champions, My Friends

Well today was a very eventful day. Today was Crew Olympics. This has been a tradition of Voyageurs since about 2013. Each year, all of the first year crews gather to have a friendly competition against each other with the skills they have learned for trail. Each crew completes 4 different events: paddling, portaging, tarp set up, and kettle pack packing. Within each of the events, each crew is judged based on time, and quality of their performance. For paddling, each crew has to make "figure 8's" around buoys. As for portaging, each participant has a relay with their crew going to the tennis courts on pine point road, switching with a fellow crew member and then racing back. Typically, many crews are in competition mode and end up doing a sprint with a canoe on their shoulders!! Next, for tarp set up, the crews were given different weather circumstances and have to pick the best trees to set up the tarp based on the circumstances. Once the trees are picked, they have to set up the neatest tarp they can. Finally, the last event is kettle packing. Each crew is given all the supplies that go in a kettle pack and they are timed for the amount of time it takes them to pack it qualitatively. After all the events are done, the scores from all the crews from each event are compiled together to determine the winner. 

Each and every crew did so great and had a blast! There were even several ties, and in order to break the tie between the Windschitl and Rau crew, there was a dance off. These two crews got to show off their best dancing skills to the song "Eye of the Tiger." But, Kenna and I are so proud to announce that the girls of the Fritz/ Wensman crew GOT 1ST PLACE!!!! :D After lots of hard work and friendly competition, the girls won the Crew Olympics by 1 point!! We are so happy to see the girls show off all the skills they have learned and the improvements that have been made to pull off the win! We will now be part of Voyageurs "Crew Olympics History" as we got our crew name signed on the Crew Olympics "golden medal paddle."

Proud "Crew Parents",

McKenna and Mackenzie

BOOTS!! (:

Today was a busy (and slightly expensive) day! We started the day bright and early with some of the girls coming out at 7am to go paddling. As of now, the girls all have been out on the water at least two times and are getting more comfortable with the use of different strokes and where they will turn the canoe. They are ready to paddle figure 8's tomorrow morning at Crew Olympics! 

This afternoon we all met up at The Boot Shack in St. Cloud to pick up our boots we will be bringing on trail, two pairs of socks and sock liners, and some mink oil! The girls will all be mink oiling their boots in the near future (if they need the instructions they are under the parent instructions tab of this website). Once they are oiled we can start breaking in the boots! It is important that the girls follow the instructions for oiling the boots, because it helps the leather withstand being wet all day and drying out (mostly) at night. These boots are our babies! Bad boots = hard time portaging. 

We rounded out the shopping spree by going to Savers to pick out trail/camp clothes. The girls were excited to extend the "Dad" theme we had at Food Packing Day to the trail clothes they chose to buy. Some still have to pick out a few more things, but overall today was a success!

Looking forward to the Olympics tomorrow,

Kenna and Kenzie (:

Olympics Practice

Today we had a crew meeting and were able to practice all of our skills for crew olympics, which is on Friday. As a crew, we began the meeting with a portage. All the girls have said that portaging is getting easier for them, which is great! Portaging is one of the events for crew olympics, and it will be timed. Next, another event the girls will have on Friday is tarp making. The girls perfected their tarp setting up skills today and are ready to win it on Friday :). Another skill that we practiced was packing the kettle pack. The girls made the kettle pack look great, and will be given an opportunity to show off their skills again on Friday. Finally, the last skill that is involved in the crew olympics is paddling. Each of the girls have came in outside of crew meetings to paddle with Kenna and I. With each time that we go, there is great improvement. Now to end the meeting, we took a look at our maps and got a general idea of where we want to go this summer. This is something that we will continue to look at and finalize in the upcoming weeks. 

The girls are doing so awesome and it is so fun to see them learn more and improve from meeting to meeting. See the girls ready to go (and WIN!!) the crew olympics on Friday!!!

With great excitement

Kenna and Kenzie

Food, Food, and More Food!

On Tuesday we had our food packing day. This day was filled with controlled chaos. 11 crews gathered in the cafeteria at Cathedral High School where food packing took place. Each crew came dressed up in different costumes, as that is a tradition for food packing day, and it was super fun to see what everyone chose. As for the Fritz/ Wensman crew, everyone went all out and we were some bomb lookin "Dads" :D. After some instructions and an explanation of how the day would play out, the crews began! Chaos began as each crew gathered at their assigned table and then were instructed by the food manager from each crew, in our case Noelle, to go out to the tables filled with food and get what they were told. The food manager was in charge of instructing each crew member to get different amounts of the different foods we had on our menu that we completed. Some examples of the food that was packed were noodles, mashed potatoes, nuts, oatmeal, ham, and much much more. As a crew, the girls had the responsibility of making sure that they were on the same page as Noelle so that she could check off the food once it was in our bins to limit the amount of mistakes made, and make sure we have all the food we need for trail. 

After several hours of packing food, we stopped to have lunch. Shout out to the Weldon family for bringing the lunch for food packing day, it was delicious!!!! After filling our bellies with food, we went back into the cafeteria and finished up getting everything we needed for our menu. Once we were done, we helped other crews finish up and then cleaned up the cafeteria. After the fun filled food packing day was done, we packed up our food in the car and brought it to the Weldon household to store there until we pack our food packs before we depart on our trip. We also went to the dehydrator site and bagged up the fruit that we had been working on. 

Food packing day was a long, but fun day for the girls; it seemed to have made each of the girls that much more excited for our departure!

35 days until the last supper!!!! 

Much love and excitement, 

Kenna and Kenzie 



Busy Busy Busy!

Now that the majority of the Voyageur participants are done with school, things are picking up around basecamp! Each day, there are often many crews, learning and improving many different things and skills needed for trail! As for the Fritz/ Wensman Crew, we have been busy learning new skills also! 

One of the things that the crew has been able to do within the last two meetings was get out on the river and practice our paddle strokes in live action in canoes!! :D Although much different than just practicing the strokes on land which we had done at a previous meeting, the girls are catching on to the paddle strokes while actually paddling a canoe in the water, quickly. Soon the girls will feel extremely comfortable with them; this is essential as it is something we will do everyday up in Canada! Paddling is something that we will continue to do at meetings quite often in preparation for our trip. Soon we will be able to go on longer paddles as an entire crew, and will even get to learn some fun canoe games! :D

Two other skills that will be used up in Canada everyday are portaging and knot tying. We have began many of our meetings with portaging as far as the girls can go in order to get their body more comfortable with carrying a heavy canoe on their shoulders in preparation for our longer portages on trail. With each meeting, Kenna and I are thrilled to have seen and continue to see the improvement each girl makes in their ability to go further and show more confidence in portaging. Additionally, we have spent a lot of time learning and reviewing different types of knots. Each not has a specific purpose in the Voyageur world, so it is essential that all the girls are comfortable and able to do all of them. This is also a skill that we have seen improvement in and are confident the girls are able to do all the knots we have taught them correctly and know their purpose!

Additionally, at our meeting yesterday we were able to learn how to properly pack a pack! Packing our packs properly is essential as we have lots of equipment, with limited space. The pack that we practiced packing is called the "Kettle Pack." This pack contains many things that we will need such as our pots and pans, saws, fuel bottles and stoves, tarps, ropes, cooking utensils, buckets and sinks for water, repair kits and much more! Because of how much equipment we have to pack in there, it is essential that the Kettle Pack is packed methodically in order to fit everything in it, but still be neat and organized. In addition to packing the Kettle Pack, the girls will soon need to use their methodical packing skills to pack the food packs and personal packs in order to fit everything in them. 

Finally, one last thing that we were able to begin within the last two meetings was dehydrating. Thanks to the Deal- Hansen's we have a perfect dehydrating site where the girls will spend a lot of time dehydrating and bagging our food from now until we depart! As a crew, we went over to the dehydrating site and were able to show them the ropes of how the dehydrating process works. The first thing that we are starting with is peaches. As a crew, we drained the peaches, dried them off a bit, cut them into smaller pieces, and then placed them on racks and into the dehydrator they went! Once the peaches are done, the next few foods they will dehydrate will be pears and pineapple. Because the food is done on the dehydrator at a certain time, the girls will be going to the dehydrator site at all times of the day and night to ensure that the food is on and off when it needs to be! The dehydrating process will continue from now until a little before we leave, and the girls will dehydrate several different fruits, vegetables, meatballs and beef jerky!!

As the days count down until we depart, the girls will become more busy with Voyaguers to ensure that we are prepared for our trip! Kenna and I appreciate the time we get to spend with your girls, and are so excited to watch them continue to grow and learn both before trail and while we are up in Canada! 

Only 37 DAYS until we depart!!! :D


McKenna and Mackenzie

Portaging, Paddle Dryland, Tarps and Crew Bonding :D

Today we had yet again, another great meeting! For each meeting, we have started by working on our canoe flipping and portaging. This is a skill that each girl will conquer, and we are working hard each day to get to that point. At our meeting today, we got each of the girls to flip up the canoe, and told them to go as far as they could... we even had several go to the tennis courts on Pine Point road which is an AWESOME start! It was so fun having everyone at the meeting, and everyone was able to encourage each other while portaging. 

The next thing that we worked on was learning the paddle strokes we will use in the canoe, but started by practicing them on the land. Some of the different strokes the girls learned were the power stroke, draw, cross draw, J- stroke and C- stroke. These different paddle strokes will be used to powerfully move the canoe forward, and also keep the canoe going in a straight line. Once everyone understood the strokes on land, we went and sat on the side of the dock and were able to practice the strokes in the water to feel some of the resistance the water gives. The girls caught on well and we will soon be able to get on the water in the canoes!! 

The next thing that we worked on was setting up a tarp. This is something that we will use at camp when it is either windy, or rainy. Setting up a tarp gives us the ability to put our packs under them so that they don't get wet, and we can also sit under them to protect ourselves from the wind and rain. 

After we were done with portaging, learning paddle strokes, and learning how to put up a tarp, we had crew bonding. The girls brought stuff for s'mores, and hot dogs to roast on the fire. We sat around the fire for a while, and some people jumped in the river and went for a swim, and then sat around the fire again to dry off. After we were done sitting by the fire, the girls opted to go inside and make crew bracelets. The girls brought bandanas and on each of the bandanas, we wrote either a crew goal, personal goal, or what it mean to be a voyageur. From there, they were braided and we will all have these bracelets as a crew with everyones interpretations on them. Overall this was a great meeting and it is so fun seeing everyone grow closer as a crew! Everyone has been so encouraging of each other, and that is great to see! 

We look forward to the upcoming meetings and seeing continued growth and improvement within the crew!:) 


1st Portage and Knots!

Thursday (May 21) was a successful day! Everyone was able to flip the canoe on to their shoulders with minimal help and portage with it! Everyone did awesome considering it was our first time portaging and it takes some practice getting comfortable with balancing a canoe and walking with it. We will continue to practice flipping and portaging until we leave on our trip to make sure everyone is comfortable and more than able to carry a canoe through various terrains we will be encountering including steep hills, rain, and in the water.

We also started to learn some of the important knots that we will be tying every day on trail for tarps, connecting packs, and setting up clothes lines! It was great to see the girls helping each other tie the knots once they understood how to. 

Everyone is becoming more comfortable with each other and the crew is meshing very well for this early in the summer. We are all excited to see where this summer will take us!


Kenna and Kenzie

Flipping, Jobs, and Meal Plan!

Tonight we had a busy meeting. We started by giving everyone their jobs for the summer such as the Food Manager, Equipment Manager, Map Manager, etc. These jobs give the girls responsibilities that start tonight and end when we return our gear upon coming home.

After that, we went outside and covered how to properly flip a canoe on our shoulders to portage. Everyone was able to get the canoe on their shoulders by the end of the meeting, so we just need to perfect our techniques and get comfortable under a canoe. 

Finally, we closed the meeting going through the different food choices that we will have on trail and submitting our food order. The girls were all open to trying new foods, so we are bringing a wide variety of everything! We are all excited to see what different combos we can try for our meals. We are going to fill our food orders and bag everything up in one meal portions during Food Packing Day on June 5. 

The excitement is building for our trip as we start to learn new skills! 


McKenna and Mackenzie

Map Activity, Typical Day, Jobs!

Today we all got together for the second time as a whole crew. We started off with doing the infamous Voyageurs "Map Activity". The girls became familiar with the maps that we are going to be using this summer and how to put them together. It took some time, but they eventually got them in order (40 minutes later). After they were done, we showed them that on the back of the map there is a key to show which maps go where which would have made putting the maps together much quicker. Overall, lessons were learned about teamwork that we will carry on to other meetings and trail. We then did a brief overview of the different camp jobs that we will have every day and what a typical trail day will look like. Overall it was a short, but packed meeting! 

The excitement is building for the upcoming summer! 62 Days until the last supper!


Mckenna and Mackenzine

1st Meeting

The first official meeting was held today!

This was the first time everyone was present besides at the parent meeting held last Sunday. The parent meeting was a great way to get everyone excited for the upcoming summer and meet all the parents. Today we started the meeting off with trying on sample gear and going over the packing list. We then took a brief tour of basecamp so everyone became familiar with our new home for the summer. Sanding paddles came next and it got everyone thinking of what they want to have painted on their paddles! Some cool ideas were shared and we are all excited to see the paintings when they are finished, either by the reformatory, friends, or family. We rounded out our meeting by looking into the future and what crew goals we have for preparing and when we actually get on trail. The girls had some great ideas and we are excited to see what this crew can do!


McKenna and Mackenzie

P.S: We have added two photos from today so you get an idea of what we did!

Introductions and First Crew Meeting

Hello Everyone! 

Welcome to the Wensman and Fritz blog for the 2018 summer! On this site, you will be able to find information about our crew for the rest of the summer. We will be posting updates about our crew meetings and everything everyone is learning throughout the summer! In addition to the blog posts, we will be adding photos and keeping an updated calendar so everyone can follow along with our progress while we prepare for our trip! As school finishes, we will be meeting more frequently to prepare for our trip. We are so excited for this upcoming adventure with the girls. McKenna and I would like to start off by introducing ourselves and what our first meeting consisted of!

To begin, I’m Mackenzie Fritz. I am currently attending the College of Saint Benedict, with a major in nursing. Fall of 2018, I will be starting my Junior year here at CSB. This will be my first year guiding, but my third trip through Les Voyaguers. My first year trip was in the summer of 2016, and in the summer of 2017 I went on the Middle Track Far North Trip. I am so excited to co-guide with McKenna and am also so excited to have the opportunity to work with your girls and share this experience with them! 

And I’m McKenna Wensman. I graduated from Cathedral in 2016 and am currently a sophomore (almost a junior, yay!) at the University of Minnesota working towards a career as a nurse. I went on my first trip through Les Voyageurs in 2015 and was part of Mackenzie’s Middle Track Far North crew last summer. I am so excited to be guiding along side one of my past crewmates and friends. While this is my third trip through LVI, it will be my first year guiding. Thank you, parents for sharing your daughters with us this summer. We have a fun summer ahead of us and I hope that you and your girls are excited as we are to start our adventure together! 

As most of you may know, on March 31st we had our first get together. It was great to see everyone together for the first time! We went to Perkins and got to meet each other over a delicious breakfast. We can already tell its going to be an awesome summer!! The girls had many questions, and answering them made everyone that much more excited! The girls were able to share more about themselves to each other and start to get to know each other before we begin the process of preparing for our great adventure. This meeting made us so much more excited for the parent meeting and the rest of the summer!

Just a reminder that the parent meeting will be on April 22nd at 6pm at Cathedral High School. We are excited to see everyone there! 

Please contact us if you have any questions! 

Our last supper will approach quickly, and we cannot wait! 

With great excitement, 

McKenna and Mackenzie