May 23

Left Rose Lake at 9:00 AM arrived at the "Height of Land Portage" at noon.  I have researched the history and significance of crossing this point when traveling westward, but I was unsure how I should perform the proper initiation ceremony myself.  I am sure there have been other lone travelers that have gone across the height of land by themselves.  Crossing the height of land was important to the voyageurs and each time a new hand was to cross this Continental Divide another voyageur (that had already done so) would perform a special baptism ceremony.  This ceremony consists of being sprinkled with a small cedar bow dipped in a ditch of water while taking a solemn oath to "never allow any new hand cross this same spot without going through the same ceremony, and to never kiss a voyageur’s wife without her permission."   Then one is officially a Nor-Wester or North Man.

When I arrived at the start or East Side of the height of land portage there was a group of people (5) standing on the portage.  Bob McWilliam was the elder and leader of the group and was very interested in my trip to Hudson Bay.  Bob was here with his sons to perform a baptism ceremony for 2 of them as the other two were already properly baptized.  In addition to Bob being fully authorized (by tradition) to perform the ceremony.  His one son Rob brought bagpipes and would lead the march across the portage playing the pipes.  Bob asked me if I would like to join their ceremony and I surely said yes.  Now I could be properly baptized.

We all portaged across the height of land westward with the bagpipes in the lead with myself carrying my kayak next and Bob McWilliam and his sons right behind.  What a perfect and proper baptism this was.  You could hear the bag pipes so clearly in the woods.  When we reached North Lake Bob performed the ceremony for me and I was officially (and correctly) baptized a Nor-Wester.

I paddled away from the height of land portage towards my supply drop point at Chuck and Jean Oleheiser house on Gunflint Lake.  Allen Logelin would meet me there to re-supply and paddle with me for 2 days to Saganaga Lake for film and photographic purposes.  When I arrived at my destination at Gunflint Lake at 6:30 PM, Chuck and Jean were outside planting lilac trees.  I met Chuck and Jean a couple of weeks earlier during one of my stops on Lake Superior.  They invited me to stop by their house when I went through.  When I got up to the house Jean asked me if I would like to meet with Justine Kerfoot.  Justine (for those of you that do not know) is a 92-year "young" lady that has spent most of her life guiding, paddling, and dog sledding in the Boundary Waters.  She has written 3 books and is a legend and I was going to meet her.  When Jean said "Justine wants to meet you", I was pleasantly surprised and of course Justine drove over to Chuck and Jean’s house at 7:00 PM.  Justine and I walked down to my kayak at the lake and I showed her the video equipment, but she was the most impressed with the seat that flips over and turns into a portage yoke.

Back in the house away from the mosquitoes we talked about some of Justine’s great adventures in the Boundary Waters.  What a pleasure and honor to spend some time with this wonderful lady.  Justine left at about 9:00 PM and shortly after that my supplies arrived.