Chat Rooms (1 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Listening Point - General Discussion
      I Left a Trace     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

schweady
distinguished member(6944)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/29/2020 01:32PM
Totally inappropriate, maybe.

Two years ago today, one of the guys in our party collapsed under the canoe he was carrying and died. An apparent heart attack. Apparently gone before he hit the ground.

It was on the last of our five planned portages coming in from #16 Moose River North, destination Lake Agnes.

We tried CPR for hours, although the outcome was fairly obvious from the start. A party traveling through had a satellite phone, through which help was notified. Little did we know it would be another 6 hours before that help would arrive.

---

So, last month, my wife and I took the trip up and base camped on Nina Moose. The original plan was to base on Agnes, enjoy some great fishing, and take a day trip to LLC's pictos. Heat, wind, low water, and reports of persistent bears on Agnes all contributed to our decision to stop short. A climb up Top of the World, some swimming, and and some fishing (unsuccessful) would have to do. The site (#1787) was actually just about perfect... lots of areas to find shade and choose the direction to face off of the peninsula to catch a cooling breeze.

I located some straight branches left behind by beavers and washed ashore at the beach on the north end of Nina Moose, brought them back to camp and notched and lashed them together.

On our last day, we paddled up the Nina Moose River. Pausing to admire 'The Slide' next to that first portage, I could not believe how little water was running over the smooth rocks. Moving on to the next portage, I located the spot where he fell and constructed my little memorial.

I know that it is wrong to leave something like that here in the wilderness. I know that winter will probably take it down off of that small slope along the portage. Heck, some angry traveler has probably already scattered it while muttering something about this year's huge increase in Leave No Trace violations.

But it was there long enough for me to take a few pictures to bring home to his widow. To show to their kids. And granddaughters. And they can learn just a little more about the spot where he met his Lord.
N48° 11.584' W92° 04.636'

His name was John.


 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
mvillasuso
distinguished member (127)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 01:49PM
That, -what you did- that's a beautiful thing.
May John rest in peace, and his family find the same peace. No better place to find it, than The Wilderness.
 
07/29/2020 01:51PM
I’m sorry you lost a friend that way. That would have been a terrible thing for everyone to go through. That was a great idea to honor him and show his family the spot that he died. I wouldn’t think anyone would object to that.
 
missmolly
distinguished member(6786)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/29/2020 02:28PM
It's lovely. I agree that it won't last long. Winter or an LNT-monitor will turn it back into mere sticks, but your friend was tangibly remembered for a moment in a place he loved.
 
AmarilloJim
distinguished member(2158)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 02:32PM
Very nice
 
Soledad
distinguished member(1705)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 02:47PM
I'll be walking by in two days. I'll let you know if it is still there. If it isn't, I won't.
 
schweady
distinguished member(6944)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/29/2020 02:53PM
Soledad: "I'll be walking by in two days. I'll let you know if it is still there. If it isn't, I won't."
:-)
I'm fine with either way. It would be interesting to know.
It was put up on July 1st.
 
07/29/2020 03:16PM
Because he had friends who share his memory, it's clear that John left a trace, too. We should all be so lucky.

TZ
 
pamonster
distinguished member(971)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 03:16PM
Ooh man, I'm sorry you lost your friend.
I'm sure there will be those without the background who see it and are bothered. But that's ok, maybe even good. But if someone truly has a problem with that they've got bigger problems with their life.....
I think it's fine and I assume the intention of LNT is more in regard to trash, damage, and respect.
My father passed 9 years ago and I left a trace as well. Though his looked more like ashes from a fire and sank.....but I get to visit him every year in a place we love

 
mschi772
distinguished member (431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 03:57PM
What you did wasn't just fine, it was wonderful. LNT isn't a set of rules but guidelines. LNT itself will tell you just the same. You didn't break any rules of LNT because there are no *rules* to LNT. I can't imagine any decent person having a real problem with what you did in general and *specifically* given that you fully accepted that your memorial may be taken-down by someone in the future. Thank-you for the story about your friend.
 
HangLoose
distinguished member(779)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 04:07PM
I'm sorry for your loss. I know that portage well. If I was allowed to choose a spot to take my last breath, that's the spot I'd choose. What you did for your friend is so special. I am a staunch supporter of LNT policies (especially pistachio shell littering), but I would never object to this memorial. RIP John.
 
3Ball
distinguished member(732)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 04:57PM
I join those being sorry for your loss. That really sucks. It is great that you have not let it deter you from more trips.

I was through there this week. If it is still there, I missed it. Your memories will survive though.

RIP John.
 
yellowcanoe
distinguished member(4782)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/29/2020 05:15PM
Schweady what you did was beautiful. Sometimes I run across old graves in other parks( Algonquin) and they make me pause and appreciate and think of the person who lived and died.
 
Jaywalker
distinguished member(2254)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 05:41PM
I think John was very fortunate to paddle with you and call you friend. I think that was a fine and worthwhile trace to leave. Next time I travel that portage, I expect no sign will be there but I’ll watch for that tree and will pause to think of John.
 
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1425)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 06:49PM
What a wonderful deed. RIP John.
 
WHendrix
distinguished member (478)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 06:55PM
This the best thing I've read on this forum since I joined several years ago. Thank you.
 
07/29/2020 07:27PM
I am too moved to write.

Thanks for sharing this with us, and thanks for being such a friend to John and his family.
 
jhb8426
distinguished member(1091)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2020 08:34PM
Very caring and appropriate gesture and remembrance.
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13241)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
07/29/2020 08:47PM
I’m sorry for your loss. It will bring some peace to his family knowing it was put there. Truly a loving tribute to remember your friend.
 
Jackfish
Moderator
 
07/29/2020 11:14PM
Schweady, I'm very sorry for the loss of your friend. I can't imagine the pain you went through during those minutes and hours after he collapsed. If I walked past that memorial cross, I'm pretty sure I would pause, albeit briefly, and wonder about the reason behind it being there. I'm glad you shared the story.
 
07/29/2020 11:19PM
You my friend are a wonderful person!!
 
HowardSprague
distinguished member(3049)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/30/2020 06:38AM
a beautiful gesture.
 
GoWhenYouCan
member (8)member
 
07/30/2020 07:49AM
So sorry for the loss of your friend and trip mate.
A wonderful thoughtful gesture indeed.
Prayers for John's family and friends.
 
IndyCanoe
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
 
07/30/2020 08:34AM
Very touching, the only unfortunate outcome is that those just passing by won't have the benefit of reading your story to know just how meaningful that small cross is.

I think we can all aspire to find friends like yourself and live a life that leaves enough of a trace on others that they would do something similar.
 
adam
Moderator
 
07/30/2020 03:28PM
Sorry for your loss. I can only imagine the trauma of this experience. I am glad you got back there to say your peace.
 
alpinebrule
distinguished member (215)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/30/2020 04:44PM
Totally appropriate, there are exceptions to every rule. This was one.
 
pswith5
distinguished member(3316)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/30/2020 05:45PM
I have yet to pick " my spot" but my youngest talks about leaving at least a little of me up there. Thanks for sharing.
 
07/30/2020 11:46PM
If you're going to leave a trace, I'd say you picked a wonderful way to do so. I'm sorry to hear about your friend and am glad you were able to do this for him.
 
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2652)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/31/2020 04:48AM
Yes, you did leave a trace. Pretty sure John would be touched by it. Maybe he's smiling now in his new realm. :)
quote, "An apparent heart attack. Apparently gone before he hit the ground."
He was blessed he didn't have to endure a parting hard struggle before crossing over. Six hours before any assistance arrived is L-O-N-G.
 
WalleyeHunter24
distinguished member (117)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/31/2020 10:54AM
schweady: "Totally inappropriate, maybe.

Two years ago today, one of the guys in our party collapsed under the canoe he was carrying and died. An apparent heart attack. Apparently gone before he hit the ground.

It was on the last of our five planned portages coming in from #16 Moose River North, destination Lake Agnes.

We tried CPR for hours, although the outcome was fairly obvious from the start. A party traveling through had a satellite phone, through which help was notified. Little did we know it would be another 6 hours before that help would arrive.

---

So, last month, my wife and I took the trip up and base camped on Nina Moose. The original plan was to base on Agnes, enjoy some great fishing, and take a day trip to LLC's pictos. Heat, wind, low water, and reports of persistent bears on Agnes all contributed to our decision to stop short. A climb up Top of the World, some swimming, and and some fishing (unsuccessful) would have to do. The site (#1787) was actually just about perfect... lots of areas to find shade and choose the direction to face off of the peninsula to catch a cooling breeze.

I located some straight branches left behind by beavers and washed ashore at the beach on the north end of Nina Moose, brought them back to camp and notched and lashed them together.

On our last day, we paddled up the Nina Moose River. Pausing to admire 'The Slide' next to that first portage, I could not believe how little water was running over the smooth rocks. Moving on to the next portage, I located the spot where he fell and constructed my little memorial.

I know that it is wrong to leave something like that here in the wilderness. I know that winter will probably take it down off of that small slope along the portage. Heck, some angry traveler has probably already scattered it while muttering something about this year's huge increase in Leave No Trace violations.

But it was there long enough for me to take a few pictures to bring home to his widow. To show to their kids. And granddaughters. And they can learn just a little more about the spot where he met his Lord.
N48° 11.584' W92° 04.636'

His name was John.


"


In this instance, this was a very classy gesture. God bless...
 
fishonfishoff
distinguished member(583)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/31/2020 11:23AM

I also left a trace a few years back. The card came back with me, but I left the cairn. It was my brother-in-law who never had a chance to experience the BWCA. I took him there (in spirit) for a week long trip. We had a great time!

FOFO
 
woodsandwater
distinguished member (293)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/31/2020 01:06PM
Well done! A loving memorial. What a kind and caring picture for the man's widow. And what a way for your friend to go. I would rather drop dead on a portage trail doing something I love that being screamed at by some aide in a nursing home because I crapped my diaper again but nobody would come to help when I kept ringing for help. Just have to know where you're going at that moment of death!
 
andym
distinguished member(4777)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/31/2020 01:54PM
I'm glad you got back there and found a low impact and moving way to honor your friend's memory and preserve his memorial in pictures for the sake of his wife and family.
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(681)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/31/2020 01:59PM
Moving tribute, Schweady. Cannot imagine enduring this.

There are exceptions to be made to nearly every rule/guideline. You followed your heart and I think it led you to one of those exceptions.
 
bobbernumber3
distinguished member(1490)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/31/2020 02:44PM
I'm sorry about the loss of your friend and the trauma of having a death on your canoe trip. Your memorial marker is a nice gesture. And I hope it helps in your healing process.

Knowing none of this, if I come across something like this while on a trip, I always take it down.
 
LindenTree
distinguished member(2499)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/31/2020 04:51PM
Good job Schweady.
 
08/01/2020 08:12AM
Having done cpr in instances where you knew the outcome from the start it is traumatic in itself. You are a great person for sticking with it and enduring... The tribute is a touching one and I would hope it stands for Mother Nature to remove in her timing.
 
08/01/2020 08:28AM
Very moved by your story.

RIP John.
 
Zwater
distinguished member(537)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/01/2020 10:44AM
Wally13: "Very moved by your story.


RIP John. "

+1
 
Boppasteveg
senior member (55)senior membersenior member
 
08/01/2020 06:53PM
I'm feeling a bit torn with this one - but leaning toward it being ok. This is so different than someone who leaves garbage, etc...
I'm sorry for your loss. I often wonder how many other times something similar has happened in our beloved wilderness. But you know what? We all have a time to go and I couldn't think of anywhere else I would rather meet Jesus.
 
JackpineJones
member (6)member
 
08/01/2020 07:41PM
A trace well left. A fine tribute to your friend.
 
08/05/2020 02:04PM
Hey Schweady,

I was just through this portage on Sunday and I don't recall seeing your memorial. I was carrying the canoe, however, and possibly I missed it.

Lovely idea, and sorry for your loss.
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
Listening Point - General Discussion Sponsor:
Tuscarora Lodge & Canoe Outfitters