Ontario Trackers club

Past Meetings - 1999

(Photos on this page by David Browne)


December:  We gathered at Walter's place in Cambridge.  Activities included a drumming/healing session, a midnight birthday party, and a walk in a nearby wilderness area.

November: Philosophy weekend at Hildegard's.   Activities included a sweatlodge whose covers simply would not stay on!

Building the sweat lodgeOctober: The October Tracker Weekend was very successful. 18 people visited over the weekend. Our hosts for the weekend, Kathy & David Browne, would like to thank everyone for helping them build and prepare their Sweat Lodge. It is a 12-14 seater that will serve many sweats.
    We had an inaugural sweat in it Saturday evening.  The feast after the sweat was terrific.
    It was great to see Kim & Eric Saunders and their girls, Alis Kennedy, Walter Muma & April Severin, Peter Wiinholt, Greg Cowan and Mary Baxter with their 2 little ones, Don Grant and from David & Kathy's Venturer Co., Brian Herd, Andrew Hardisty and Liam Barrowclough. On Sunday we took a long walk through the woods watching for tracks, mostly deer, and admiring the changing colours of nature. The weekend was filled with great conversation and friendship. All had a good time!
(report by David & Kathy Browne)

Here is another report of this weekend, written by a young participant:

The Sweat Lodge by Felicia Saunders (10 years old when she wrote this)

    Last weekend I went with my family to Kathy and David's house.  Kathy and David are friends of ours.  We belong to a group called Ontario Trackers.  Every month we meet at different people's houses to do stuff.
This weekend we were going to make a sweat lodge.  A sweat lodge is made like a turtle shape.  The lodge is like a turtle's back.  The turtle represents Mother Earth's womb.  You make a pit in the middle of the lodge for the hot rocks.  About three feet from the entrance (on the outside of the lodge) you put the dirt from the hot rock pit.  This is what makes the turtle's head.  About five feet from the turtle's head you dig a fire pit.  You put rocks and wood in the fire pit.  After two hours the rocks heat up.  Then the rocks are put in the hot rock pit.  You then put some tarps and blankets on the sweat lodge.   One person stands outside and watches the fire.  The others go in the sweat lodge.  (Back to the beginning now).
We arrived a Kathy and David's Friday at nine-thirty p.m.  We set up our sleeping bags and went to sleep.
The next day we went outside to build the sweat lodge.  Then Walter and April drove up the driveway.
First we transplanted all the little trees that we dug up from the sweat lodge area.  Then a guy named Don came to help us.  Then we measured how big the sweat lodge would be.  After that Peter came.  Alis (or Beethoven) came too.   Then we went around looking for maple saplings.  Before we chopped them down we asked them if they wanted to be a part of the sweat lodge.  If they said "no" we didn't take them.  When we found enough saplings we stuck the saplings into the ground and bent them over.  Then we tied them to each other.   The sweat lodge looked like a wigwam.
Oh, I almost forgot.  Brian and two boys came too.
That night Brian, Sequoia, my dad, the two boys, Kathy, April, Walter, David, and I went in the sweat lodge.  There were five rounds.  The first round we prayed to the Creator and Mother Earth.  The second round we prayed for others.   The third round we prayed for our family.  Fourth round we prayed for thyself.   And fifth round we prayed for everything.
So that was my first sweat lodge, at ten years old.

September: What? No cheesecake!  No roof over our heads?   No library in which to have comfy discussions about the outdoors?  A Tracker weekend which is truly in the out of doors and truly dedicated to practicing skills!!
    Well, Peter Wiinholt (myself), Dave Browne and Peter Linke showed up at the Warsaw Caves weekend along with a new couple who drove in from Durham and who wondered where everybody else was.  Fortunately, Peter's youth group was there in force (also wondering where everyone else was) and benefited from a very intensive weekend of skills.   Also an older group with Jo Mills (who also wondered where everybody was) arrived on Saturday and was able to put in a good 24 hours of fun and learning before having to leave.  As they left, they indicated their pleasure with the weekend by hanging Peter W.'s pack on a high and inaccessible branch of a pine tree.  The main theme ended up being the "Scout" end of the Tracker skills, and we had a ball with them.
   A good time was had by all who were present.  However there is some confusion as to why our outdoor weekends seem to have the poorest draw for people who are supposed to be so close to nature.
   By the way, did I mention that we wondered where everybody was?   (Report by Peter Wiinholt)

August: People gathered at Hildegard's for our annual children's weekend.  There were only 4 children present, along with 7 others.  Due to the low attendance, we didn't actually do a heck of a lot, although we all had a very good time just plain visiting, talking and sharing.  Some children and others tried their first-time hand at getting a bow drill fire going, but they got rained out before we could get it going.

Some participants tried their hand at camo (??)

August Long weekend survival camp:  Only two folks showed up for this.  On Saturday afternoon and evening they got soaked by heavy rain and they learned some important lessons about building debris huts under less than ideal circumstances.  Apparently there were a lot of people (non-Trackers) on the lake this weekend, and the two intrepid Trackers went home on Sunday.

July:  People gathered at David & Kathy Browne's place near Georgetown.  Walter led a Caretaking workshop based on the Caretaker class held at the Tracker School in Feb/98.  After a one-hour overview of some key points of the course, we all went out to do various exercises on the Browne's property.  These included sensing what the Earth wanted done in an area to help heal it and finding the spiritual center of an area, using various methods.  We had some excellent drumming sessions and dips in the cold hot tub (a mini swimming pool) to cool off.  Since the Browne's had recently moved into this place, on Sunday the group helped them smudge their new home.

June:  At Georgina & Denis' place near King City.   Not many folks attended this meeting.  Participants built a sweatlodge for Georgina and Denis, and met some of the people who will be living in the community that is being organized by Denis.

May:  At Kim & Eric's near Durham, Ontario.   We did various tracking and awareness exercises, including plaster casts of tracks.  We also did some exercises in Eric's new tracking box, and some blindfold exercises in the meadow.   The meeting was well attended, with participants enjoying the view from their tents perched on the hill.

April:  At Allan & Lucy's near Penetang.   We made some pioneer-style soap from lye and rendered fat.  Some folks went for an extended hike.  We assisted Allan & Lucy in the dismantling of their ageing sweatlodge.  Sat night we had a good drumming session.

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