Have you heard about our latest marathon of trip preparations? It was a doozy! We started with sewing ditty bags on Friday morning. We use ditty bags to organize smaller items that will go in our packs, like toiletries and pens. It may have taken us a bit of practice to get it down, but by the time the last crew member arrived, we were able to help her sew all her ditty bags in about ten minutes. Thanks to everybody who sent sewing machines and to Sue Bowe and Jeryn Sia Su who re-threaded each machine 17 times for us. We also got hooked up with fishing equipment and advice from Jim Bowe, our resident expert fisherman.

Next, we set off for a taste of #traillife. We paddled 3 hours from basecamp to the Mississippi River Park. We had our first canoe tip (but we saved the pack from getting too wet!), and made our first dinner over fire from the food we've been preparing for the last several weeks: mixed veggies, rice and hamburger in a one pot wonder with baked beans and confetti cake batter. Then we found out Stearns County is a little more picky about where we put our tents than Ontario; we had missed the official campsite by about a 5 minute walk. After 47 fresh bugbites and help from a friendly park ranger with a Gator, we relocated to a ::ahem:: cozy spot just down the trail. On the bright side, we got some more practice with the tents and avoided the bugs during dinner. 

And then the finale: packing. In about 4 hours, we packed all the gear and food we'll need to live in some of the most beautiful and untouched land on Earth. (Too sappy?? Those sunsets, though!) Anyway, it's almost go time - 91 hours until the Last Supper - and I can't say enough how proud I am of how this crew has come together. They're sweet and tender and spunky and determined. Most of all, they're embracing everyone's strengths, kryptonite, and bad (read dad) jokes. I can't wait to see this machine of a crew on trail!

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Before...

... and After