This year Writing It Out has a new segment for Set Sail called Voyageur! This segment is run by two blog editors, Julia Ruelle and Ellie Retzlaff. Who are they, you may be asking yourself? Well, look no further!!
Julia Ruelle (left) and Ellie Retzlaff (right) at the capitol after a meeting about the Boundary Waters.
The two of us are very passionate about the outdoors and have done a lot of work in protecting the Boundary Waters in particular, but are very excited for this segment and the opportunity to visit so many other beautiful environments near us. (Sidenote and shameless self promo: if you are reading this and interested in the BWCA as well, join Boundary Waters Club, it’s on Thursdays, ask one of us for more information!)
Throughout Voyageur, we will be writing reflections about outings, adventures, and everything in between. You can expect to see both local and further away excursions to encourage you to explore and get outside. The segment will be highlighting the wilderness and its ability to not only provide a sense of peace and serenity that a busy highschooler’s life may need, but also its ability to bring people together. The outdoors serves as a great way to be with friends and family that only requires your shoes and a map (and maybe, as we get into these colder months, a coat).
Last note: We were finally inspired to post this by Max Meyer’s recent post about procrastination. While this post is more of a fall adventure, we promise to post more current trips soon, especially those highlighting our wonderful winter months in Minnesota!
VOYAGE #1 – Wolsfeld Woods
Our first excursion took us into the woods, Wolsfeld Woods, to be precise. A short drive east led us to this protected area in the backyard of a church, right off the road. While this was unexpected, once we entered the [poorly marked] trail, we suddenly felt immersed in the wild, a sharp contrast from the rushing cars and modern signs that enveloped the surrounding highway.
Wolsfeld Woods is not too far of a drive from the high school, so depending on where you live, this place might be a short trip you can take with your friends and family to get out into nature. Also nearby is downtown Wayzata, and while we don’t condone rooting for yellow and blue, local coffee shops and eateries like Penny’s and Crisp & Green make for a fun stop either before entering the woods, fully fueled, or warming up after a hike (it is winter after all).
Hearing the crunch of the leaves beneath our feet and feeling the sun’s rays upon us, we felt refreshed by the walk. Having both stayed home over MEA, this jaunt through the woods made us feel fortunate for the abundant nature in Minnesota. Exploration and adventure is so accessible here in Minnesota! Fall is a breathtaking time of year, and in this forest, yellow is the color of the season.
We also re-connected with our childlike side, escaping from some of the stressors of high school, and climbed a tree! It was exhilarating to climb, branch after branch, still carried by a strong pine, even if we’ve changed a bit since elementary school.
In accordance to our hopes for this blog, we both felt that the woods helped strengthen our friendship. Sappy as it may be, nature really does well to connect us to our friends and family, and simply a hike in the woods brought laughing, some deeper conversation, and, of course, a little fear (see: climbing a tree and staying there for a solid twenty minutes because we were both a little fearful of breaking an ankle on the way down). Being in the bubble of the woods it becomes much easier to talk and focus on the present company. You will be sure to make your own memories, whether that be climbing a tree, navigating the puddles, or jumping in to the leaves (or snow).
Rocks & Roots
No hike is complete without a little mud! Thanks to this fall’s heavy rains, sections of the trail were flooded by the high banks of the lake. We were lucky to be wearing our trusty hiking boots, and climbed across fallen branches to stay dry. We recommend that you are mindful of recent weather and prepare accordingly when adventuring!
If you decide to visit Wolsfeld Woods, be sure to leaf your phone at home and embrace the outdoors! (not really: you should bring your phone to take artistic photos like the ones above, the only difference may be a bit of snow)