W.I.L.D. 2011: Thursday- Water, Wildlife, and Warmth7 min read

Going upriver

Thursday’s Journal Entry:

“Long day today, but probably my favorite so far (with the exception of solo day). We ate breakfast, had devos, packed up camp, and headed out at about 9:00am. We had to cover a lot of ground today so that tomorrow will be shorter. Our goal was to get into camp no later than 3:00pm so we’d have plenty of time at camp to relax. However, Chris took all watches from anyone who had them, and we set out with a destination, a goal, but no way to monitor our progress toward that goal. I liked it and was eager to see how we did.

Ethan and I in our Canoe“We spent the first few hours paddling across the lake and up a river. Ethan was my canoe partner today, and we enjoyed some good conversation as we paddled along. We talked about our families, our churches, our ministries, and the things we were learning on the trip. I was encouraged by his openness and his willingness to share his thoughts and opinions on various topics.

“Meanwhile we approached the mouth of the river as a slow drizzle fell down on us. Thankfully there wasn’t a strong wind today as in previous days, so it wasn’t cold. I actually grew quite warm as we moved along.

“We were moving along through a marshy area when Chris called at us from his canoe a couple hundred meters back. There, on the shore behind us stood a moose getting an early morning drink. As Aarin and Lance moved their canoe in closer for some pictures, I stared in amazement at a beast I had been hoping to see all week long. It was a fascinating sight.

Wild moose“After the moose disappeared into the woods, our leader canoe began to experience some difficulty. We got to grassy bay and we were presented with three possible directions, each of which looked like a river. The map wasn’t as specific as we had hoped, and we followed our leaders into an inlet that eventually proved to be a dead end. It took an additional half hour or so of our day, but it was worth it. On the way out, we once again saw a moose, and this time Ethan and I paddled up to within about 10 meters of it as it got a drink from the lake. Chris said it was one of the biggest bull moose he had ever seen.

“We found the river on the second attempt and headed up it to our first portage. Along the way we saw several beaver dams, one of which was directly in our path. We paddled up to it where Ethan hopped on top of it, pulled the canoe onto it, and got back in. I then got out, pushed the canoe rest of the way over it, and got back in, and we continued on. We later passed over two other beaver dams farther up the river.

First portage of the day“My first portage in two days felt great. It was 735 meters (the first of 2170 on the day), but it was perhaps the most scenic one of the trip. The rapids that we were portaging around could be seen from the trail and the trees were so beautiful and green. Yes, we saw trees on every portage, but something about these was strangely more enjoyable. The portage was also a lot easier because Ethan steadied the back of the canoe so that I could carry it hands-free. Surprisingly, I realized that so much energy goes into carrying a canoe on your shoulders when you steady it with your own hands! Suddenly portaging wasn’t so wearisome when my friend was helping me out by simply holding the back.

“After the second portage of the day, we ate lunch, and I tapped into my creative weirdness. I stuffed a pack of fruit snacks into one pocket and a bag of trail mix into another…

“We were halfway to our campsite. A thunderstorm appeared to be approaching and Chris gave us instructions on what to do if there was lightning. But the storm eventually subsided and the sun came out. We paddled across the lake to the wrong portage, but our leaders quickly redirected us and we never got off-track again.

“We came to the third of eight portages on the day, and it was my turn to carry again. It was then that I put my sneaky plan into action. Ethan steadied the canoe on my shoulders, and with his approval I reached into my pocket, pulled out the trail mix, and snacked while I portaged. Multitasking has always been a love of mine. The next portage of mine was the longest of the day- 1030 meters. I age my fruit snacks on that one, one every 50 steps, and I finished off my serving of trail mix on my last portage.

“We reached our campsite at about 4:50, so we fell well short of [the goal] we had hoped [for]. But we were in good spirits after a fun day.

“Wearing bug nets for the first time all week [because it had warmed up quite a bit], we pitched camp, cooked supper, and a few of us went for a swim. The water must have only been 10 degrees, but I swam for about 10-15 minutes in it. It was so refreshing!

Rainbow“After supper we played a few games together. Ninja was the favorite, and I won for the first two times in my life. Then we got a short sprinkle of rain and a gorgeous rainbow came out and stretched across the sky.

“The res of the evening was spent talking about the day. We relived the events that had taken place and noted our successes and failures. Both Chris and Lance challenged us to put more effort into building relationships. Our group is more of a quite, analytical, introverted one, and we have struggled all week simply to build relationships. We tend to take care of our own needs, listen when Chris talks, and only talk or answer questions when we are directly asked to do so. We all realize how selfish we often are in life. This trip has definitely shown us who we are and challenged us to change in that way.

“Before bed several of us guys went out on a massive rock at the edge of the water and drank in a sky free of clouds and artificial light. So many stars to look at, and their reflection off the glass-like water was just as breathtaking. I also saw a couple shooting stars, and Cody and I talked about God’s promises to Abraham, and we recited Psalm 19:1-3 as well. Such a beautiful night and a perfect way to end a great day.”

Evening skyAdditional notes:

-We were not the only group to go the wrong way on that river. Two other of our W.I.L.D. groups had gotten lost already earlier in the week in that same area.
-The day started out cold, windy, and rainy and ended hot and dry.
-When there is lightning and you’re in a canoe, the safest place to be is at a 45-degree angle down from the tallest trees on the shore. So if the trees were to fall into the water, you want to be the length of the tree away from the shoreline to avoid getting struck by lightning during a storm.
-When I ate the fruit snacks on the 1030m portage, I noticed that the package said a serving size was 10 pieces and the package had 2.5 servings (25 pieces). So I figured that 1030m divided by 25 was roughly over 40 meters. Supposing that each of my steps was slightly less than a meter long, I figured that 50 steps was about 40 meters. Hence, I ate one piece every 50 steps. It was actually fairly accurate, and I ended up one piece too short to go the full distance (yes, I was homeschooled).

Read about rest of the experience in these related posts:
W.I.L.D. 2011: A Wilderness Experience
W.I.L.D. 2011: Saturday/Sunday- Framing the Experience
W.I.L.D. 2011: Monday- Into the Wilderness
W.I.L.D. 2011: Tuesday- The Unforgiving Tim River
W.I.L.D. 2011: Wednesday- Solo Day
W.I.L.D. 2011: Friday- The End of the Adventure

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