TLA-Turtles Linger Afterwards

by Katie Lamke

Obviously TLA stands for “Turtles Linger Afterward” and nothing more…maybe.

As our crewmembers arrived to Ely, MN, whether by plane or car, we were all introduced to a world of Triple Letter Acronyms that we would become part of our summer. A majority of our CMO, or Corp Member Orientation, consisted of activities that allowed us to begin the formation of our team. A group favorite was a game called Thunderbutts; each person grabbed their own wrists behind their knees and we tried to knock each other over by pure gluteus maximus power. We also added one member to our team, Uncle Electra Sparklepants (UES). She/He, depends on the day, is a stuffed unicorn that travels everywhere with us.

After our three short days together, which felt more like a month, it was time for us to fly out to Seattle, WA for CMT…any guesses on that one? Corp Member Training. We had some free time before it was time to board, and decided to take Uncle Electra for a walk. We ran into our pilot by chance, he was kind enough to take a picture and even let Uncle Electra into the cockpit later on (legit).

At CMT, we had spent our week going though various trainings and getting to know other corps members. We all received training in CPR, you should know that TLA, WFA (Wilderness First Aid), and some of us achieved training in LNT (Leave No Trace). There scenarios involved in these, and occasionally some fake blood. Learning to make splints out of sleeping pads, sticks, and other readily available resources was very interesting. We were also introduced to SCA’s safety policies and how the organization runs, including Take 5’s, FOS, JHA, and ERPs. As our service project for that week, the Native Plant teams collaborated and pulled out some of the invasive blackberry and restored the area with ferns and fresh mulch.

Back in Ely, after having a few days off, we began our On-Site Training. We had met up with Jack Greenlee, the Plant Ecologist for the Forest Service, at the Superior NF Ranger Station. He gave us the background of the area and what to expect this season. We also went over the types of plants we’ll be removing, like Orange Hawkweed, and learned about the Pagami Creek Fire.

Then it was finally time for our “trial hitch,” which we had been eager to go on for quite some time. Once all the canoes were loaded, we headed off to Low Lake and launched. After paddling and portaging, we had reached our campsite in Bass Lake and set up camp. Then it was time to switch gears for work, so we all threw on our heavy Carhartts and boots and did some plant inventory/removal around our campsite. We also went over a few native plants, like the Wild Rose and Star Flower.

After that, we changed wardrobes yet again, and went back out on the water for some canoe lessons, or in other words how to make a canoe go straight! Jumping in the water was the great award of achieving some canoe skill; the next challenge was getting back in the boat. When we got back to camp, dinner was started and there was chance to relax. For dessert—prepare for your mind to be blown—brownies in a skillet, highly recommended!

In the morning, we had packed everything up and went to a neighboring lake to pull invasive species, and practice portaging on rough terrain. After canoeing back to Low Lake, we loaded everything up and headed home.

The next morning we woke up and had our USFS Water Safety Training. Here, we focused on types of strokes, portaging techniques, and of course the classic “what do you do if your canoe capsizes?” This was probably more fun then it should have been, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Our final task was to get our canoes back to the dock without help, after swamping it. We all had a great time coming up with a solution for that one!

All in all, our team is going to have a great season, and if you’re curious, you have been exposed to 12 TLA’s, welcome to the world of Turtles Linger Afterward.