Pukaskwa National Park, Part 1: Bimose Kinoomagewnan at Halfway Lake
This trail is more commonly referred to by it’s English name – Halfway Lake Trail – but it is also named Bimose Kinoomagewnan, or Walk of Teachings. Created in collaboration with the Pic River First Nation, the trail is marked with plaques which include stories of the seven Anishinaabe teachings told by tribal elders, and a representation of the animal that embodies the concept. Known also as the Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers, the principles are designed as a guide for living in harmony within human communities and in the larger world on earth – for ‘living well.’
When hiking (as opposed to visiting a historical site) I often choose to not read signs of historical or explanatory nature since I feel like it detracts from being present and interacting with the world around me; I feel like pausing to read something removes me from experiencing the place in addition to giving my mind fodder to analyze. However, I not only read each of the signs rather than just taking a photo to read later but actively thought about the words and stories and principles while I was hiking around the lake – and it made me feel far more present and connected to what I was seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and feeling. It was a beautiful way to experience the land.
The trail itself is a 2.6km circumnavigation through the boreal forest and wetlands that surround Halfway Lake. Walking counterclockwise, we first hiked up glacially-striated volcanic rock of the Canadian Shield, descended to where the rounded forms of the rock slid into the water, climbed up smaller cliffs on the opposite side, and finally walked through forest and wetland on the far side before returning to the trailhead. The lake is beautiful and is breathtakingly framed by white pine and rock. From the highest points the views continue a half mile past the limits of the inland lake to the light blue waters of Lake Superior and their dissolution into the horizon.
The photos below appear in order and are grouped following the Teaching encountered.
Respect (for all living things)
Truth (in your words and in being yourself)
Wisdom (as cherishing knowledge and continuing to learn from experience)
Honesty (with yourself and with others as you live with integrity)
Courage (to have faith in your inner strength, to face your fears, and defend your convictions)
Love (for yourself so that you may unconditionally love others and be at peace)
Humility (as having compassion and caring for your fellow creatures while living selflessly)