Friday, November 2, 2012

White Water Reflection

I’d like to say that I was very prepared for this trip, I was for the most part, but a lot of my timing was off. Let me explain. The week before the trip we had a substitute teacher; I didn’t know when the trip was and when I asked him he said “I have no clue. Do your worksheet and stop playing 5 cup” (5 cup is a game me and Ryan Best came up with to entertain ourselves during class, it involves 5 cups). On the Friday before the trip I realised the trip was on Monday and panicked because I hadn’t packed at all and I had to do a presentation the day we’d be leaving for the trip (this was kind of in my favor because the presentation wasn’t even complete). Watershed event #1: not knowing when the trip was.
I was a little out of the loop when it came to food planning, I’m in the afternoon class and most of my food group was in the morning class so they’d finish all the planning and we’d be left to say “This is a good food plan” and not do anything. However I did shop; I messed up by buying wraps even though we already had some and apparently I didn’t buy enough sandwich meat. I compensated my mistakes when buying snacks, it wasn’t on the shopping list but I bought it anyways. It was just two bags of raisins and a bag of pretzels; it was really nice to have. Jesse Spicer told me she didn’t like raisins while we were on the trip, I probably should’ve brought some chocolate to increase the variety of snacks, women love chocolate. There were other snacks so she was fine. I also had a personal stash of candy which I ended up sharing with my entire group. We ended up using it as poker chips one night. Watershed event #2: not shopping properly.
The last mistake I made during preparation was being late. I made sure to pack everything I needed the night before and this time I packed everything I needed. I forgot my water bottle and flashlight last year and was not going to make that mistake again. I also packed these extremely useful water-shoes that comfortably encased my feet with water; it was like walking on a water-bed. They were also very warm, I never had cold feet. And lastly I didn’t need to wear socks in them so none of my socks ever got wet. I didn’t wake up early enough the day of the trip, so my mother and I were a bit late heading onto the road. We could’ve made by 8 o’clock with maybe 20 seconds to spare, but I really wanted coffee. Like… I really wanted coffee. I thought I missed the bus when we got there but I made it just in time for boarding. It was 8:15 when I got there. Watershed event #3: being late.
On the trip I was really glad how co-operative everyone was, there was a good vibe going and everyone was sharing. John Ignacz didn’t have an extra pair of shoes so I said he could use mine, they didn’t fit but he said thanks anyways. Everyone was sharing flashlights, no one was greedy about food and everyone pitched in. It was the best camp group you could ask for. Only thing I was a little disappointed about was the amount of candy people took from me, but I had it coming bringing that much. We ended up gambling with it.
Everyone took a turn getting water for the whole group which was really nice, I felt bad because I only went once. My lack of help with getting water motivated me to find a large tall stick to hold up a tarp we were going to put above the main section of the camp (in case it rained, it also contained some of the heat from the fire). I wondered off and found a large collapsed tree, it was probably 500 years old, this to me was a sign that more dead trees were near. I ended up pushing over a tall and straight dead tree. I brought it back to camp just in time to realise we didn’t need it but Matt McKay decided it would be a good idea to go back and gather firewood, Dusty Summers ended up tagging along. We found so many dead trees in that area for firewood that we couldn’t bring it all back at once so Matt sent Dusty Back for some string to tie it up and carry it back. We offered to share our firewood with the other camps but they kindly declined.
Whenever I tried to put my wetsuit on in the morning I’d lose all motivation to canoe, it was very cold. Putting damp clothing over my bare skin didn’t make me any warmer. After like 2 minutes of wearing the suit it warmed up and felt as comfortable as a morning robe. This is where my water shoes really came in handy, I was so happy to have those, but I’ve already talked about them so let’s move on.
I had 2 rowing partners over the length of our trip, Dusty Summers and K.J. Crane. Canoeing with Dusty was very difficult, if I was in the stern he would still try to steer in the bow. Our communication was really bad as well. I tried my hardest to speak in the most calm, clear and encouraging voice and was very careful to say everything I was doing and everything I needed dusty to do, but he wouldn’t listen. I’d try to go straight and he’d make a left (from the bow believe it or not). I thought since Dusty had a very aggressive style of canoeing that he’d do better in the back so we switched halfway through the day. He still paddled like he was in the bow and was asking me to pry a lot, because he didn’t know how to steer. By the time we were at the rapids he was much better, I was able to follow what he wanted to do much better in the bow. We made a lot of mistakes going down the first set of rapids, Dusty steered us down the wrong side so we ended up hitting a rock and twisting sideways. Surprisingly we didn’t tip and continued down the rapid like nothing happened. Basically, once I figured out Dusty worked better in the stern everything went much smoother.
Second day I had K.J. It was much easier to communicate with him, he listened to me when I was in the stern and I listened to him when I was in the bow. I liked K.J. as a partner better, I really didn’t want to canoe with Dusty. One thing though is I never tipped the boat with Dusty. Every time K.J. and I tipped the boat it was my fault. I kept telling myself not to gunnel grab but I’d do it anyways (and so would K.J.). The first tip was because I leaned too far into the turn; luckily the morning water was surprisingly warmed (warmer than the afternoon if you’d believe it). The second time we tipped the boat, we didn’t sink; the boat just filled with water… a lot of water. It was when we were surfing, everyone was relaxing on the wave and we came in awkwardly and somehow squeezed in. The angle of our boat was off and the wave pushed us back, with no room to slap the water we had this weird balancing act of leaning back and forth. The boat filled with water and we drifted backwards to the beach with a canoe full of water. It was pure luck that we didn’t sink.
Third day I had Dusty again but we worked together much better than the first day. This was the best day of the trip (in terms of canoeing). We went down the rapid backwards! Oh my lord, freaking Blusty. It was his fault, he did it on purpose. He suggested we outdo everyone by going down backwards and I kindly declined and asked that we go forwards. He said “okay” and we portaged the canoe up to the top of the rapid. I was in the bow and he was in the stern. When we were about to go down he said to me “oh by the way, we’re going down backwards”. At this point there was no stopping it so I sucked it up and tried to steer us backwards through the big tongue of the rapid. To everyone’s surprise (especially mine) we made it. Oh my lord, we made it. Ryan came over to me and said “Me and Shannon tipped the boat going forwards but you and Blusty make it without tipping by accidentally going backwards? I hate you.” Made my day.
I had more fun on that trip than I expected and I’m even gladder I got coffee and made the bus. I had my cake and ate it too.

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