Posted by: esimula | September 9, 2009

Reflections from Arrowhead Journey

The Timeless North: South Fowl Lake

The Timeless North: South Fowl Lake.

Reflecting back on this voyage, important themes surface, such as awareness, compassion, respect, pursuit of knowledge and meaning, self integrity (contribution and contentment) and vision, which I believe encompass a large part of the human experience as we know it today, and are integral to a healthy family, society, world, and future.  We need to stay grounded by interconnection with the natural world around us.  How?  By absorbing and resounding Creation in its natural state and observing how the animals behave and interact (in their natural state), as an example of how we are to live, and in so doing remain healthy and strong as a species, and not overly oppressive or out of balance. 

The Arrowhead Journey, for me, is a metaphor in which a canoe trip becomes a symbolic life journey, a reminder and celebration of a time past, a time of deep contemplation and future vision.  It required me to plan, prepare and focus all my abilities for the single goal of safely returning, yet its implications are broad and revealing.  Its duration, route and old-time outfit touch on historical travel routes, traditions, and life ways which, although obsolete to most, remain effective and life-sustaining through to the modern era of the 21st century.  I searched for and found symbolic clues hidden within bedrock and birdsong.  Certain landforms concentrated energies and created portals which awakened my senses upon passage through.  I came to know my self and my dog very well. We were very happy.

I lived fully: chilled by the night’s coolness and darkness; warmed by sunlight; nourished by hand-harvested wild rice, fish and berries; delighted by scenic beauty; empowered by wildlife behavior; challenged by wind, waves, rain, insects, hunger, pain, and my own physical limitations; confronted as prey by a hungry mountain lion and bears, in which I had to dig deep within myself to find the courage and bravery to defend myself in an appropriate and non-threatening way (as defined by the predator); and interacted with people along the route, most of whom were very welcoming, sincere and encouraging.  At times I became fearful or lonely, and slowly worked through these feelings by remaining constant in my resolve.   

Time held little meaning.  Most critical were the necessities of adequate safety, daylight, shelter, clothing, water, and food.  Beyond these basics is the reward of time for rest, reflection, visiting, and helping others.  I believe these virtues will hold true throughout time.  When broken down to simplicities, it becomes clear what is important in life and what is not.

These reflections are insights into my canoe journey experience of the adventure, hardship, people, wildlife, landscape, history, rich Native American cultural traditions and magnificent natural beauty of the Arrowhead, along with my personal philosophy. I’m glad I sketched and recorded these thoughts daily in a journal.  To fully process and detail my observations of this journey will take a while and I plan to produce a book, which I am now starting to write.  I hope my effort in sharing these experiences with you, the reader, has been worthwhile and honorable in scope.


Erik Simula



  1. Hi Erik, All my best to you and Kitigan on the completion of your safe return. If you need a place to stay during your visit to the expo at Midwest in November,you would be more than welcome. I have plenty of room and dogs are always welcome. I was up in Ely at Camp du Nord this weekend and worked on trails with Stellar who had coffee and company with you on your journey!SWEEET! Hope you are enjoying your time back home. All my best, Maureen,wannabemusher

  2. Thanks for taking us vicariously on this journey via your pictures and words. I wish you well in writing your book!

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