We are back at the field school after our first expedition of the Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester. It was challenging. We encountered cold air and water temperatures, strong and unyielding head winds, and a few long days of paddling. But everyone got better and everyone got stronger. On our final day we paddled 28 miles. The winds were gusting to 45 mph, and it alternated between being a headwind and a tailwind. We saw two mature balsam fir trees snap under pressure from the wind. By the end of the day fatigue levels were high, but fatigue is a great teacher with regard to maximizing energy efficiency with paddle strokes; you learn to eliminate unnecessary movements. And although it was challenging, morale remained high and we came together as an expedition team.
After a day off, we will be back at it for the final trip of the course. Tomorrow we head to the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. We have more skills to perfect in order to be prepared for practical exams at the end of the trip.
So today is about preparing for the next trip and resting tired bodies. Planning meals, getting safety gear and items needed for course instruction ready and packed. And a good night’s sleep to rest tired muscles. I’ll check in again when we return.