- Learning to Navigate in a Wilderness
We had a spectacularly warm and sunny autumn day for practicing our land navigation skills in the Lowell Regional Greenspace, as the yellow maples glowed all around us.
- Hidden Waterfalls of Northern Ontario
Northern Ontario has hundreds of waterfalls, many of which are little-known and seldom-visited because access to them is challenging. This expedition explored some of these remote hidden gems via overland travel on primitive roads, and hiking through untamed woods.
- The Best Compass for Land Navigation
With so many choices available, it can be hard to narrow down which compass is right for you. Here’s a guide to choosing the best compass for your needs.
- LN1-3: Land Navigation and Orienteering
An in depth study of land navigation from experienced navigators, this course is essential to anyone spending time outdoors.
- Spring Warmup Challenge 2022
For this excursion we spent four days exploring four different areas near Gaylord MI, and challenged ourselves to practice our outdoor skills and learn something new. It was a chance to get our bodies and gear warmed up and field tested for upcoming 2022 adventures.
- TR1-3: Basic Technical Ropework & Rescue
Technical Rope Rescue is the perfect introduction for using ropes and rope systems in rock climbing, caving, canyoneering, search and rescue, expedition travel, accessing hazardous terrain, overcoming obstacles in the wilderness and many other activities.
- Exploring the Two Hearted River
For this excursion we explored the area around the Two Hearted River in Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula. Some of us floated the river in kayaks while others explored overland on primitive roads and trails.
- WFA: Wilderness First Aid
Includes affiliate links that help offset our expenses at no cost to you.This 16+ hour course is designed to prepare the outdoors enthusiast or, search and rescue member with the knowledge and skills to treat medical emergencies that occur more than an hour from Emergency Medical Services. While standard first aid courses provide a background in treating injuries and stabilizing victims that are within minutes of Emergency Medical Care, wilderness medicine provides a background to sustain and stabilize victims for longer response times. Concepts will include long term care of victims and transport of subjects from wilderness environments. This… Read More »WFA: Wilderness First Aid
- The Travels of Ibn Battutah
Surely few people have led such a life rich with adventure as Ibn Battutah. A 14th century Most Interesting Man in the World. Ibn Battutah was a lover, a fighter, a holy man, and a scholar. Over 24 years, his travels reached from Morocco to China, the Maldives to the Steppes of Asia, and nearly everywhere in between. He was a Qadi by training, an Islamic religious judge. Well read and studied under some of the most prestigious learned men of the time. He took part in holy wars and defended himself from bandits, pirates, and raiders. Living by the… Read More »The Travels of Ibn Battutah
- Know Your Knot Terminology
These are commonly used terms relating to knots and their components. Bend: Joining of two ropes or two ends of a rope together. Bight: Made by folding a piece of rope so that the two parts lie alongside each other. Used to finish may knots, making them easy to untie simply by pulling on the tail. A Bight often resembles a Loop but does not mean the same. Binding Knot: Knot that either constricts a single object or holds to objects snugly together. Capsizing: A knot that has deformed or capsized into a different structure, usually due to improper tying or misuse. Decorative Knot: Aesthetically… Read More »Know Your Knot Terminology
- Learn The Best Lashing Knots
In the wilderness, lashing is invaluable when making a shelter, raft, tripod for your hammock chair, or any other structure subject only to your imagination.
- Cooking With Fire
In this outdoor cook-off we challenged ourselves to cook something amazing using only a wood fire as the heat source. No fossil fuels, no alcohol stoves, no electric appliances.
- Pirates of the Beaver Archipelago
I heard of the long winds that build in the Rockies, racing down and spending their force on the Great Plains. Winds that move stone, leave only the strongest, twisted and gnarled trees on the mountainsides. Finally to subside then gently buffeting the hay fields and crops of the foothills and flatlands. Growing up on the shores of Lake Michigan, I know there is another brand of long wind that belongs solely to the Great Lakes. It comes with low grey skies. Wind that blows hard and continues to blow unchecked until it reaches the sandy bluffs. Firm wind that’s… Read More »Pirates of the Beaver Archipelago
- Grand Island Excursion
We rode the mighty Zodiac Thor across a narrow strip of Lake Superior to Grand Island, one of the newest assets in the National Forest Service inventory. It was added in the early 1990s and was formerly a private game preserve and privately owned. Once settled in at camp, we set out to explore the many miles of roads, trails and beaches.
- Adventurer Bio: St. Brendan the Navigator
St. Brendan the Navigator is a character of great importance to the history of exploration. His adventures led him far abroad in a time when maps were rare and inaccurate, the seas were full of mystical creatures and massive monsters, and safe return rested solely in the hands of God. His exploits helped shape the future of exploration for hundreds of years after his death, and perhaps even helped lead to the age of discovery. Born in Ireland circa 485 A.D., he was a leader among his society. As a Catholic Priest he founded several monasteries in Ireland. Very little… Read More »Adventurer Bio: St. Brendan the Navigator
- McCormick Wilderness Excursion 2018
A place rich in history, we read the pamphlet eagerly…. ….”Three generations of McCormick’s, the descendants of Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the reaping machine, held the deed to this area before Gordon McCormick willed the land to the U.S. Forest Service. McCormick Wilderness has recovered from the logging era that ended in the early 1900’s. Today, you’ll find a mixture of northern hardwoods and lowland conifers interspersed with small patches of towering white pine, Michigan’s State Tree. Straddling the divide between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, this region ranges from nearly level terrain to rocky cliffs. McCormick’s water is what… Read More »McCormick Wilderness Excursion 2018
- Cape Jones Expedition Part 6 – Cape Jones
I was still a little bleary eyed as I crawled out of the back of my Jeep. Our camp, on the shore of Longue Pointe, was still quiet. We were a lonely arrangement of Jeeps on the rocks above the receding morning tide. A few of the team were just getting started with breakfast and coffee. The sound of gravel and tires faded into the calm morning sounds. I looked up to see Jimmie’s truck slowly round the curve. “Wow”, I thought, “he is early”. It was 0630 in the morning. When we had talked during our awkward negotiation the… Read More »Cape Jones Expedition Part 6 – Cape Jones
- Skis or Snowshoes? Consider Skishoes
What mode of winter travel is best? It always depends. Whether you should use skis or snowshoes depends on skill level, terrain, snow conditions, vegetation and many other factors. Simply said, “it depends”. Skis, snowshoes, or post holing all have their pros and cons.
- Rigging a Pulk the Right Way
A Pulk sled is considered by many to be a superior way to haul gear in arctic or winter conditions. Rigging a pulk the right way can make the difference between a great winter experience or a disappointment.
- How to Gear Up for Bikepacking
Here we will explore some options for getting started in bikepacking. We will cover the “on the cheap” system and the “I have a reasonable budget to spend” version.
- Cape Jones Expedition Part 5 – Negotiating for Transport to Cape Jones
“AR” and I walked across the wet gravel expanse. The crushed stones and grey sand carpeted the entrance of modern aluminum doors for the commercial center. We walked through the entrance to find a man named “Jimmie Snowboy”. I had talked to Jimmie the day before through an informal interpreter and thought he had dismissed our request for a freighter canoe pilot to make it to Cape Jones. He seemed to have little interest in our silly request and said nothing to me, only speaking to the interpreter in Cree. We stood just inside the entrance. I looked to the… Read More »Cape Jones Expedition Part 5 – Negotiating for Transport to Cape Jones
- Cape Jones Expedition Part 4 – Mamoweedow, Meeting the Cree
We sat in the huge white tent and the milky light faded as evening settled. The tent was big enough for a circus. It had bleachers surrounding a huge plywood dance floor. At one end was a stage with an older, energetic Cree woman announcing, in Cree, the goings on. We had no idea what she was saying. But she said it with authority and occasional excitement. At other times, she was having a conversation with random people in the crowd. A band, with a stout young fiddler, had just taken their position on the stage. The punchy, bright sound… Read More »Cape Jones Expedition Part 4 – Mamoweedow, Meeting the Cree
- Cape Jones Expedition Part 3 – Longue Pointe
We had just arrived at Longue Pointe, the northern terminus of any road in eastern North America. The point serves as a launch for hunting and fishing parties of the nearby villages. As we maneuvered our vehicles into our makeshift campsites overlooking the water, the low thrum of an engine slowly coated the silence. The gentle “pop” and “crackle” of gravel grew louder. A vehicle was approaching from around a bend just above us. It was moving slow. This always seems to happen just as we set up camp. We haven’t seen anyone for hours, but as soon as we… Read More »Cape Jones Expedition Part 3 – Longue Pointe
- Cape Jones Expedition Part 2 – James Bay Road
Thump-thump…clank. Every few seconds we would hit a full width trough in the payment and the Jeep would jump, followed by the tinkle of metal objects – coins, a spoon, tent stake – somewhere in the vehicle. On occasion an object would slide off its perch and dive gracefully into the crevasse between the seat and console forever lost somewhere in the vast under seat collection point – the vehicular equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle. It was also a little unnerving to spend hours driving in this condition. Each of us started to worry about our vehicle and the constant… Read More »Cape Jones Expedition Part 2 – James Bay Road
- Cape Jones Expedition Part 1 – Beginnings
“Do we just wait in line here?” I asked the preteen Cree girl and her friend as they watched our convoy maneuver slowly for the approaching ferry. “You have to do it backwards.” She said with the authority of a dock supervisor. “Thanks!” I exclaimed, relieved to have some understanding of how things worked in this unknown part of the world. I turned my Jeep around and slowly backed down the gravel drive which disappeared into La Grande river. The wind swirled bits of sand and gently rocked the Jeep while the tires crushed gravel. The others in the convoy… Read More »Cape Jones Expedition Part 1 – Beginnings
- The Myth of Falling Through the Ice
If you fall through the ice, will you die of hypothermia within 5-10 minutes? Nope, not true!!!
- How to Travel in High Risk Snow Areas
There’s dangers in them there mountains. In this article, we will discuss how to navigate and read those snowscapes safely.
- How to Survive Your Winter Adventure in Comfort
Winter is a perfect time to get out into the wilderness and explore. You just have to gain a little knowledge to stay comfy and warm.
- How to Make a Pulk Sled, on the Cheap
For around $50 – $75, you can be hauling gear all over and living it up in a winter wonderland. We’ll show you how.
- Overland Excursion to Drummond Island
November 4-6, 2016 Fortune Bay Expedition Team and Courtesy Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram have partnered up for what we call the Overland Project. The goal of this Overland Excursion was to challenge the drivers and their vehicles so they would better understand their own limits. This way they can apply this knowledge to future trips in remote areas with greater confidence whether in a team or running solo. This fall’s excursion consisted of 11 vehicles and 17 participants for two days through 29 miles of challenging trails on Drummond Island. The vehicles were mostly Jeeps, with a nice line up… Read More »Overland Excursion to Drummond Island
- Lost Wilderness Overland Expedition
Dates: August 17th -21st 2016Location: East of Tunnel Lake and Wharncliffe area of Ontario, Canada.Team Members: 13 people6 Jeep vehicles: 1 TJ, 2 JK’s, 3 JKU’sWeather: highs 84, lows 65, some sun, rain, lightning, windTrails: ranged from narrow ATV to 2 lane logging roads. Sand, gravel, rock. Wednesday: The team met up near Tunnel Lake Outfitters on 129. Great place for topping off the fuel tanks, grab some ice and last minute snacks. We immediately were met with rocky trails that led us up into the hills where we found a decent campsite near the top. The team setup camp,… Read More »Lost Wilderness Overland Expedition
- Islands of Illusion Expedition
July, 2016 Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of an awesome trip; that started from this northern port, aboard these tiny ships… Day One (7/27/16) Rendezvous Camp – Michipicoten, Ontario, Canada We began our trip heading far north from our home base in Grand Rapids into Ontario Canada. Most of the group had already arrived prior to the 7:00pm arrival; the others were close behind. This was an exploratory expedition, and with any exploration into the unknown, things do not always go as planned and often results in impromptu changes. A rendezvous campsite was selected… Read More »Islands of Illusion Expedition
- MackYak Excursion
Thursday July 7, 2016 5:00 PMUpon arrival at our planned destination, we find a squatter has already occupied our desired campsite. Though not a significant setback, it was an omen of things to come. We soon found an alternate site nearby and the members of our party began to trickle in. We had 9 paddlers for the trip plus 2 members in our escort vehicle, the Zodiac. This extra level of security allowed us to stretch the envelope of the conditions we could paddle in. Friday July 8, 7:30 AMWe arose early to try to get a jump on the storm… Read More »MackYak Excursion
- Crossing the Manitou Straits by Kayak
In August of 2003, the team crossed the Manitou Straits by kayak to explore the island and to develop their open water skills and protocol. Being August and the Great Lakes, storms were plentiful including the morning of August 21. That morning saw winds gust of 32 miles per hour and a small craft advisory that kept the Manitou Island Ferry delayed for a couple of hours. The team arrived just as the ferry finally arrived. This is the navigator’s story of the crossing. Excerpt from Pathfinder’s Journal on the Manitou Strait’s Crossing Thursday, August 21, 2003 3:28am… Read More »Crossing the Manitou Straits by Kayak
- A Short History of the Great Lakes (Glacially Speaking)
Let us go back 600 million years, when science claims large organisms first appeared. Back when the Great Lakes were a huge bowl of lowlands (called the Michigan Basin), surrounded by towering mountains (called the Shield Uplands). Some accounts of the Shield Uplands estimated their height to be more than 30,000 feet – slightly higher than Mount Everest. This bowl extended south into Ohio and Indiana and west to Wisconsin. The deepest part of the bowl was centered in the lower peninsula of Michigan. This was the Great Lakes – before they were lakes. This rocky and rusty ring of mountain and basin underwent a slow,… Read More »A Short History of the Great Lakes (Glacially Speaking)
- Beatin Da Pat Nord Expedition
Beatin da Pat Nord (Translated form Newfie – Walking the Path North) In 1771, a small party consisting of three married couples and eight single men landed on the coast of Labrador (then Newfoundland) led by a Moravian missionary, Jens Haven. They unloaded their small ship while the waters receded 2 inches per minute due to the outgoing tide. Eventually, the tide halted nearly 36 feet below its high level. This small party intended to start a mission station for the Moravian congregation from Saxony in Germany. These first missionaries set foot on a coast afflicted by constant war between… Read More »Beatin Da Pat Nord Expedition
- Wander Up Yonder Expedition to Ontario
This expedition gave us challenges and obstacles; we adapted. We learned things about ourselves and our vehicles that prepared us for more challenging trips.
- Soo Locks to Lime Island Expedition
Taking a Kayak from the Soo Locks to Lime Island is an epic trip following a major freighter route, the St. Mary’s River. The St. Mary’s is a very slow river and we seldom found any benefit from the flow – more often than not, the headwinds would push us back upstream against the weak current. Eleven kayakers paddled 40 miles in two days, went through the Canadian Locks, Encountered rain, headwinds and waves. Day 1: Ashmun Bay to Sand Island After an early wake-up to spot cars down river at Raber, we were all anxious to get on the… Read More »Soo Locks to Lime Island Expedition
- “Do What You Love” – and Be Safe About It
Many of us spend countless hours, days, and even weeks venturing out into the wilderness looking for adventure, exploring, or simply to get away from the hustle and bustle of our chaotic everyday lives. The Earth is a beautiful and magnificent place; so get out there, do what you love, and enjoy every second you can…but be safe about it and never underestimate the power of Mother Nature. When it comes to Mother Nature it doesn’t matter if you live in Michigan, Arizona, or half-way around the world – lightning, for example, is still lightning, and it is extremely dangerous. So when I… Read More »“Do What You Love” – and Be Safe About It
- Finding Dane’s Farm – Expedition Leader’s Journal
It was an interesting experience leading people on a solo expedition. Normally, everyone spends most of their time together, and it is all about teamwork and group activities. This time, we delivered everyone to their individual campsites where they were to stay alone for 2 days. That gave me a chance to do some exploring on my own. Our GIS Specialist asked a couple of us to collect some data while we were on the island. He wanted waypoints for anything that looked interesting that could be added to future maps. In addition, there were few specific sites that he… Read More »Finding Dane’s Farm – Expedition Leader’s Journal
- The Summer Solstice – Its Meaning to a Navigator
June 21st (or sometimes June 20th) is the “summer solstice”. What does that mean? Well, it means a lot to us earthlings. For those who navigate by the sun and stars, it means even more. The times when the Sun reaches the limits of its path of declination are known as the solstices. The word solstice is taken from ‘solstitium’, the latin for ‘sun stands still’. This is because the apparent movement of the Sun seems to stop before it changes direction The Summer Solstice (mid-summer in the northern hemisphere) occurs on about 21 June when the Sun’s declination reaches… Read More »The Summer Solstice – Its Meaning to a Navigator
- From Here to There: A Women’s Adventure
What started years ago as a vague idea, a dream, a belief that other women would want to experience the growth and restorative power of the outdoors became a reality in January with the launch of the women’s expedition. Whoa! We were nervous. What if no one signed up? What if no one was interested? What if we were kidding ourselves that there were others who would relish the idea of spending time by themselves in the woods? What if we had put our hearts into something that absolutely failed? What if…..what if the class sold out in 2 weeks!?!… Read More »From Here to There: A Women’s Adventure
- Getting an Aircraft’s Attention in the Wilderness.
If you go truly “remote wilderness” for an extended period of time, chances are you will need to resupply. Many times, that resupply will come in the form of an “airdrop”. Here, we talk a little about that and explore a change of airdrop plans and communicating with the pilot in various forms. It’s been four days since you left Rupert House on James Bay. You have seen one freighter canoe pass by as your group paddles their sea kayaks north on the arctic ocean. You are expected to be at Cape Jones today for an airdrop, but. . . you won’t be there. You… Read More »Getting an Aircraft’s Attention in the Wilderness.
- Do you know your compass? Test your knowledge
The magnetic compass is inexpensive, durable, dependable, doesn’t need a power source and is very easy to use. But do you really understand how it works?
- Dead Vehicle Battery? Give it 12 Aspirin and Be Home by Morning. . .
As bizarre as it sounds, aspirin will often resurrect a dead battery. It is reasonably safe and usually good for one more engine turn.
- Leadership Is Not a Dirty Word
Your perception of what or who a leader is will likely be different than the next person you talk to about leadership. That’s okay. A leader is not always recognizable, is not always trained as a leader, and may not even be aware they are a leader. In the next page or so I will attempt to show how you are likely already a leader and have the potential to be a good one. You have probably read or heard that seventy-five percent of our past presidents in the United States were oldest or only children meaning they probably grew… Read More »Leadership Is Not a Dirty Word
- Mystery Illness Identified – New Tick-Borne Virus – “Bourbon Virus”
In June of 2014, a Kansas Farmer was admitted to the University Of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City. The Farmer presented with symptoms of fever, malaise and other typical symptoms of Tick Borne disease. According to Dr. Dana Hawkins, M.D., who treated the patient, he also presented with anorexia. Ten days later, the farmer died from illness which caused lung failure, kidney failure and shock. The farmer worked outdoors and had a history of tick bites. At the time, the doctors suspected a tick-borne illness due to his history and symptoms. Blood tests had shown elevated liver enzymes, with very… Read More »Mystery Illness Identified – New Tick-Borne Virus – “Bourbon Virus”
- The Magnesium Fire Starter Scam
It started off pretty good. You drove 3 hours north of the Abitibi Canyon in Ontario. You are on the Wetum Ice Road which is pretty soft because of the recent brief warm up. You find the turnoff an hour south of Moose Factory. You are going to meet a couple of MNR (Ministry of Natural Resources) workers to chat about a couple of packs of competing Timber Wolves. You park the Jeep, grab your day pack, clip into your skis and head out to the outpost, 4 miles from your Jeep. You arrive at the outpost to discover the… Read More »The Magnesium Fire Starter Scam
- Some Oughta Survive Expedition
September 29 – October 5, 2014 The SOS Expedition definitely earned its name. After 2 amazing days that included kayaking through remote wilderness on the Mississagi River, lots of hiking, and a visit to Aubrey Falls, we were hit with heavy rains. A teepee was built, but it didn’t stop the flood from consuming basecamp. We had to pack up and relocate. The road south washed out and closed. Our only options where to take either Ranger Lake Rd or head north through Chapleau and Wawa, which would have been several hours out of our way. We decided on Ranger… Read More »Some Oughta Survive Expedition
- Leadership and Preparing to be GREAT at it!
The Beach at Glen Haven, Michigan – 7 miles from South Manitou Island. August 2003. After a night of severe thunderstorms, a group of 8 expedition members prepares for an open water paddle to the Ranger Station at South Manitou Island. The sky is heavy overcast. Winds and conditions are calm in the bay. The following is an excerpt from Pathfinder’s Expedition Journal from about the crossing. 9:23 Radio check with Wapiti, GPS operational (with full battery power), back up navigational equipment seems in good order. South Manitou was shrouded by mist and not visible. We launched. 9:46 With three… Read More »Leadership and Preparing to be GREAT at it!
- Our Real Life Bear Encounters
“There I was, this ain’t no shit – knee deep in the Canadian Bush.” We were on a week-long kayaking trip on the Missinaibi River north of Foleyet, Ontario. On day 4, we stopped to camp in a tiny settlement called Elsas, on the north end of Lake Kapuskasing. Elsas was almost exclusively run by a man named “Ron Quigley” (may his soul be forever in peace). Ron provided a bit of a refuge for paddlers heading north through the vast Canadian Wilderness. Elsas is a railroad station along a Via Rail Transcontinental route for the Canadian Northern Railroad. Because… Read More »Our Real Life Bear Encounters
- Know the Wilderness Protocol
The amateur radio Wilderness Protocol defines frequencies and times to send and monitor for emergency and priority communications. The LiTZ Protocol defines a method of sending a tone to notify others of emergency or priority communications.
- What You Need to Know About Bears
There are basically three types of people who venture into bear country; those who are fearful of a bear encounter, those who are ignorant or naïve, and those who are knowledgeable and aware. Having a strong knowledge of bears, an awareness of your surroundings, and maintaining proper behavior in bear country will help to minimize risks and keep you and others safe.
- How to Build a Fire in Any Conditions
The ability to build a fire under a variety of circumstances is a valuable survival skill and can be the difference between life and death. A successful fire requires preparation including selecting the appropriate location for the fire, the use of fire making sources, and gathering sufficient quantities of tinder, kindling, and fuel.
- Wetum Ice Road Excursion
Five Adventurers: Cougar, CupCake, Reaper, Dos and Pathfinder. Three vehicles, and a few hundred pounds of gear. The expedition team departed for Ft. Albany by way of winter roads. The winter roads of the James Bay region (of the Arctic Ocean) are a lifeline for the local residents of Attawapiskat, Fort Albany, Moosenee, and Moose Factory. There are no all season roads that reach these remote communities due to the wilderness and Muskeg (Swampy flatlands of the region). Access to these communities is normally by air or barge. This makes the cost of living very expensive as most products need… Read More »Wetum Ice Road Excursion
- Nordhouse Dunes Excursion
Fortune Bay – known for its ability to adapt in challenging situations and to overcome obstacles. The road chosen is seldom the easy one. Trips are designed to test your mettle, to challenge your beliefs about yourself, to test your boundaries, and this one gave participants a taste of that. We arrive at the trailhead to find there are no spots available for our vehicles. No worries, this was anticipated and someone just happens to have a plow on the front of his truck. Let the clearing commence, though it isn’t long before the plow is hung up on a… Read More »Nordhouse Dunes Excursion
- Towab Trail
From the Journal of Robin “Killer Bee” Hutsko As planned, everyone was packed up and ready to leave Agawa Bay Campground shortly after 8:00am. After dropping bags at the trailhead, parking the cars at Frater Rd. and being shuttled back by Duke’s Bitch, the team was finally ready to hit the Towab trail around 9:30am. Team Duke (consisting of Duke’s Bitch and Re-route) headed back to Frater to await the train, scheduled to transport them to basecamp with their gear, climbing gear, coolers, and some of Killer Bee’s food and gear to help lighten her pack. Team Towab (consisting of… Read More »Towab Trail