Monday, January 28, 2013

Women's Wilderness Weekend

This weekend my friend Maryann and I went to Rhode Island for the winter version of Women's Wilderness Weekend.  The event is held three times per year.  I had attended once before in October of 2011 and loved it.  In the intervening time I have had a conflict each time it was held.  It was great to finally participate again.

The event is held at the W. Alton Jones Campus of The University of Rhode Island. It's situated on 2,300 acres of forest, lakes and fields.  The accommodations are in heated cabins with bunk beds and hot showers.  Each cabin sleeps about 24 persons but usually only the bottom bunks are used.  There is a large center for meetings with a dining room, sitting areas, fireplace and classrooms.  Meals, served buffet style are healthy and delicious.

Here I am standing in front of the meeting center, posing with the moose.

There were lots of organized activities including ecology hikes, dream workshops, tai chi, massages, yoga, tarot card reading. A knitting workshop was listed but ended up cancelled.  I chose to spend that scheduled time knitting by the fire which blazed all weekend.

It was very cold, never going above freezing but the cabins were cozy and the main building very comfortable, even hot with the fire going. I haven't experienced real winter in five years.  I'm pleased to report that my clothing and gear which had not been used for years was more than adequate to the occasion.

I participated in two hikes on the property.  We looked for animal prints, checked out the lake and the bubbling spring.  In the lake was a large beaver lodge.

Shortly after the hike leader told us beavers rarely come out during the winter, not actually hibernating, but slowing their heart rates down we came across this:

Since it had snowed over night, a beaver had clearly come out of the lodge to have a bit of breakfast.  The chips were fresh and on top of the snow.  This tree will soon be dead if the beavers continue snacking.

Bubbling Spring Pond was mostly frozen although we were able to spot some bubbles off to one side.  Everything was just slightly snow covered which made for beautiful scenery.

Animal tracking was really interesting.  We saw signs of foxes, coyotes, squirrels and mice.  Here is an example of fox prints on a snow covered log:

Saturday evening I had a tarot card reading.  It's not something that I have a lot of faith in but this was really interesting and the reader answered some questions and validated some thinking I've been having.

I can't say enough about this group of women, the weekend program and the setting.  The price is very reasonable and there is so much fun to be had.  The next weekend is May 3rd through 5th.  I can't wait to go back.  I'm planning to encourage friends to join me.  Hope to see you there too.

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