Peta is a hero. And I mean this in the truest, most literal sense of the word. If you’ve read the other testimonials, you’ll see all the glowing reviews of her stellar, customized menus; of how she’ll help you feel empowered – pushing you to meet your fullest potential, and balancing that with when you truly need to rest; of how she’ll teach you about conservation and history of the area, about map and compass navigation, about gear, about knots, about proper paddling form to avoid injury… Yes, all these things others have said were absolutely true. And that makes her a figurative hero and role model, for sure.

But the true, literal heroics came the final night of our five-day excursion when we experienced a “perfect storm” of two converging weather systems, which brought heat lightning, thunder and lightning, torrential rain, and 70 mph straight-line winds from 2-4 am, downing a tree in our campsite that narrowly missed crushing our canoe and Peta’s tent, devastating trees along our latrine trail and crushing the latrine, and turning a 3-hour paddle and portage out of the Boundary Waters wilderness into a 7+ ordeal of sawing and chopping our way out while her husband, Dean (another incredible hero), chainsawed his way in on our last portage outside the BWCAW. Three different groups of campers came together to work our way out of the Boundary Waters, and Peta was a strong, capable, determined, and empowering leader the whole way – from the first felled tree to the parking lot over 14 long, harrowing hours later.

That night and the following day could easily have been traumatic, and in some ways, they were – but would I go back? Yes. And would I go back with Peta? In a heartbeat. She left me feeling strong and capable, and ready to do it again.