Yesterday I shared how our journey began over the weekend during our first ever Spring Women’s Retreat. If you missed part 1, please read it here it will help you with some of the contexts.

As I shared yesterday, my friend and I headed up to the Ma’ayan Chalet through the muddy trail. During this time there was only she and I. We finally made it up the hill and then back down the hill to get the Chalet. By the time we reached it, both of us had very sore thighs and hips. What a workout that was, especially after “hibernating” for the winter!

Although my process of preparing wasn’t the same as it is every time I go and prepare for a Women’s Retreat, the goal of arriving the day before everyone else is to become grounded. I really do try to practice what I preach. Finding moments out of your day to simply just BE.

The week leading up to the Retreat was more chaotic than usual making it more chaotic for me to prepare. My mom usually comes and helps me pack a few days before. She got sick. I have two children before and after school which we were still trying to get acclimatized to and one of them was with me because he had the sniffles all day Wednesday, while the other missed the bus Thursday morning.  

However, this time I was able to get more of the food prepped before I left. I cooked the potatoes and the macaroni for the salads, I prepped the meat, and was able to freeze all the things that remained frozen for part of the weekend. The last time we were there the fridge wasn’t working properly and some things went bad before the weekend was out.

This is what a typical day would look like. I would arrive at Nature’s Harmony Ecolodge. Check-in. Drive up to the back of Ma’ayan Chalet. Unpack the vehicle, a little at a time into the livingroom. And the bins that were too heavy to carry, because I am typically there alone, I would take out the items and place them where they need to be. The ones that are light enough wouldn’t get emptied right away. I would then drive into Mattawa to pick up the fresh fruits, vegetables, and bread that I need for the meal plan. And on Friday, I would go back if there was something that I missed.

Instead, what it looked like. Drop everything into a trailer attached to the four-wheeler and hope my pillows and blanket do not get wet. And of course, many things were just put in the car last minute because I added a few things that were not yet packed. Oh, what a mess!

As we got there, Jessie had emptied most of the trailer but the cooler and the one bin were too heavy to move on her own. She’s pretty strong, mind you. I admire her strength. More about Jessie, in particular, on the last day of this experience. I went back to the owner’s home with Jessie to get the rest of our stuff. We managed to get everything into two loads.

While I went back to get the next load with Jessie, my friend stayed behind to bring things in and get the fire going because it was very damp with the rain we had. I was really thankful that I wasn’t going to be hauling back the groceries today. I just needed time to breathe.

And it was funny! Just before we got to Nature’s Harmony Ecolodge, I had said to my friend. Perhaps we will just go in the morning to get the rest of the groceries. Let’s just kick back and relax tonight. By the time we got everything there, I was glad I did. As much as I am flexible, I sometimes struggle with the change of things that I have set in stone. I can manage, but I sometimes will struggle with that shift when it comes to timelines. I hate feeling rushed. I’m okay with rushing if I know it will be a rush, but shifting into rushing is very stressful for me.

Now let’s go back to our initial walk up to the Chalet. Fortunately, I had already started walking twice a week, otherwise, I would have almost died, I’m sure. My friend, on the other hand, had not. Here’s where the first part of the “stuck in the mud” occurred. We were not prepared for this at all. We knew it was raining and would be a little muddy. We figured we wouldn’t be able to go on any trails that would be the main roads only. All things we could visualize and anticipate.

So here we are thinking we will trek up to the Chalet, no biggie. We are walking along and some spots were not as soft as others so we were walking and then at one point my friend is now in some deep sinking mud. I’m still in the harder stuff than I am in the mud but not too bad. She’s sinking in deep and trying to pull her feet up out of the mud so she can get to harder ground.

As she was walking we could literally hear the suction of the shoes in the mud. I can’t even type the sounds that would do it justice. As she was pulling up her feet at one point she thought was going to lose her shoe. And we heard slurp and pop (again not doing the sounds any justice). Once she was out, we started walking in the tree line to stay away from the main road. We both had our hands full of things we thought would be easiest to carry, like the bag with my laptop in it. That terrain is not the best either but it was 100 times better than the main road. This was not the relaxing start we were anticipating.

We made it there and when we arrived we helped to unload the rest of what was in the trailer. My friend takes off her shoes only to find out that the “pop” we heard was the soles of her shoes coming apart. That was the first part of the adventure. We have no cell service out there, but I prepared a group chat message that would send out when we connected and the top of the message said IMPORTANT MESSAGE. I warned them to bring rubber boots.

Slowly we went back to getting things set up and leisurely put away. Here’s our end result.

PS this is what it looks like the night before everyone arrives. I always set up all the lights and create the calming ambiance for myself before everyone else arrives. And this time I had someone that I could share it with. I do enjoy that time alone.

I will share Part 3 of this journey tomorrow.

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