I awoke early in the morning to a bright sunrise over the far end of the lake. The waves lapped against the rock as the loons sang a welcoming tune. I was at home. Slowly but surely the world came to life and soon enough we were all back in our canoes beginning the day’s paddle.
Our paddle took us through both lakes and swamps, which was a nice change of scene for the end of the trip. The swamps were calm and peaceful while the lakes were large and growing rougher as the day went on.
Upon reaching our final lake crossing for the day, we met a good challenge. It was the longest lake crossing we had scheduled and we met the strongest headwind thus far. For every three strokes we made we only moved forward one. It was hard work, especially for the petite members of the group as their muscles were not accustomed to as much as was expected from them.
I kept my canoe in the back of the group with the students that were struggling with the crossing so the other leaders could cross quickly with those who were able and then be able to start setting up the camp. By the time my group made it to the camp site, the others were unpacked and enjoying their leisure time. We quickly joined them in their leisure after unpacking our own gear and pulling our canoes on shore.
We played games in the campsite before making dinner. Our favorite game was taught to us by one of the group members who had been the captain of the improv team in high school. The group would create a scenario and the student in the scene could speak but it was my job to move his body in accordance with the story. It turned out to be a very funny time in the camp.
After several games, it was time to build a fire and cook our mac ‘n cheese dinner. We gathered wood and made a fire. In the process of cooking, one of the leaders burned his hand pretty well in an attempt to remove a pot from the fire bare-handed. We felt bad but were excited to try out the “second skin” from our burn section of the medical kit. The effectiveness of this product was astounding. By the following morning there were no signs of his skin having been burned so badly and he had no pain where the burns had occurred.
Following dinner, we had some more group bonding time before the leaders went to bed early. We planned to break camp at 3:00 AM and drive back to Calvin College (about 8 hours away) the next morning, so we made sure to get some rest. The students stayed up late as they enjoyed their final night. Everyone slept on the ground because we did not set up tents. We were not going to be in camp long enough to need tents and we didn’t want to use extra time tearing them down when we broke camp at three.