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!
October: 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
No library in which to have comfy discussions about the outdoors? A
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
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.
to the Past Meetings Page