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In the wilderness lies the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau

Of a tent-sail and tree-babies

I sit on the balcony of our accommodations in the Lodge, look across the big lake towards the faraway valley of the Elk River, surrounded by snow-covered mountains, and write. This morning we woke up in this valley, broke down our tents after breakfast and left the sandbank upon which we had spent the past four days. Before we left we made a “no trace” cleaning round in order to leave as little as possible. Until we reached the lake we had to get out of the fully packed canoe several times and pull it through the low water. We had a strong tailwind and someone comes up with the idea of attaching a tent to two paddles and using it as a sail so that we can sit back and relax and pretty much do nothing. When we arrived we first ate bagels. The last four days we only had a thin camping mat and a makeshift toilet, but the food was always excellent! After a short break we pack our things together and go into the forest behind the lodge to look at a clear cut. It is the first clear cut that I see up close and although it is not very big, this bald piece of land still looks very shocking. After Brigitte reminds us that always when we take something out of nature we should do so conscientiously, and be thankful for it, we examine the area. I am in luck: there is soil everywhere. The group that measures trees does not have a lot of luck with the small babies they find. On the way back, Valerie and Savannah show us a moor, which was formed by a beaver dam and we try some peat moss. Since this is our second to last day here and our trip into the wilderness is over, we say goodbye to Valerie and Savannah after dinner. We give them each an environmental ambassador t-shirt, which we all sign and write some of the German phrases we taught them during the time they were with us. It’s funny to hear them say them with a Canadian accent. It’s starting to get dark and very cold. I can’t wait for my bed before we leave the day after tomorrow: into the Toba Valley. Julius

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