At Corner Rapids, on the Churchill River, in Saskatchewan’s far north, there is a plaque that reads:

To the memory of Naomi Heffler,
who never missed a chance to surf here.
“Naomi’s Wave” Thank God!
There is always a Land of Beyond,
For us who are true to the trail,
A vision to seek, a beckoning peak,
A fairness that will never fail."
…...The Land of Beyond, Robert Service

I first saw this plaque in 2008, and became intrigued with the story of Naomi Heffler.

The Naomi Project is Born

In 2012, I posted pictures of my most recent trip to Forest House trip on my website.

Coincidentally, upon viewing my pictures, Sue messaged me, saying that it was the perfect setting for a musical collaboration. I relayed this to Ric. Ric agreed, and the initial seed The Naomi Project was planted.

Forest House can only be reached by canoe, involving five portages, or by float plane. However, the lake is so small that it is necessary to land on Hutchings Lake, one portage away. All gear and supplies must then be carried in on foot or transported by canoe to the lodge, which is situated half way down the lake. Power is generated via solar panels.

Thus, there were many logistical considerations. Studio equipment would have to be as compact and light as possible, and transported in sturdy, waterproof, floating cases, which were heavy, but completely necessary. Recording component power load was also a huge factor. 

Sue and I decided, for efficiency's sake, to create five or six "scratch" tracks in advance, as our instrumentation would be limited to  a small, 61 note keyboard. This process  began in January of 2013.

The months leading up to the trip also saw me facing some unexpected hurdles, including a cancer scare during the winter months, and a heart attack, eight weeks previous to our excursion. My cardiologist strongly recommended that I cancel, but I was determined. Soon after leaving hospital, I began walking daily, starting with just going around the block, culminating in the ability to manage 6-10 km a day. I was ready!

Sue and I met in person on August 25, 2013, when she arrived in Saskatoon. The next day, we had plenty of time to become acquainted, on the 500 km drive to Missinipe, home of Churchill River Canoe Outfitters. There, we were met by owners, Rick and Theresa Driediger, and soon, we were on a float plane, headed to Forest House.

Following, were five fantastic days!