Wednesday, June 24, 2015

XC Ski Trip Reflection

     It was a beautiful day in Gatineau  Park that featured warm enough temperatures for a t-shirt, the shining of the sun, and perfect snow conditions. Not too wet, and not too dry. This was fortunate for me as it was my first attempt at skate skiing. Throughout our outdoor ed classes prior to the trip I was only introduced to classic skiing. The techniques certainly were not the same. However, with a last minute lesson from Emmy, I was able to steadily find my way on the trails.

     It wasn't long before I had to begin removing some of my clothing layers. I guess I misconceived what I was dressing for: not just the temperature, but the action and movement I was making when skiing. I was definitely thankful for bringing my backpack to carry my layers in. Beforehand, I partnered up with Daniel so that we could share the load. For the first half of the trip I would carry the lighter load of clothing while during the second half, I would carry the heavier load of our packed food and water. We did this because we wanted to make certain necessities, such as water, easier to find. It also allowed us to stick together as opposed to one stopping while the other pursues skiing. I found this idea worked well and I would do it again.

     The skiing itself was both uphill and downhill. Literally and metaphorically. In the beginning, I found my strides to be awkward and not very effective. I began to doubt my decision to attempt skate skiing. It was tough to see a lot of my fellow skiers pass me with ease as they classic skied. My biggest challenge was trying to keep momentum while on a flat surface. I had no rhythm or flow to my technique. This was mainly because I had little idea of what I was actually doing. All I knew was I was supposed to stride to the side and bring my heels together. For the first bit my arms were doing most of the work which is not a good sign. This was going to be a long day.

     Over time, I observed techniques of other skate skiers. This helped me realize a few errors made in my technique. I lengthened my stride for starters. This made skiing much less choppy than before were my strides were short and stuttered. Simply slowing down the process actually sped me up. Second, I found my rhythm. This was important as it certainly reduced my effort output by large. I noticed how I should use my poles every time I extend my left leg. After learning these to aspects, skiing became a breeze. Before I knew it, my confidence shot up as I was in the top 3 of the entire pack. (Not counting Mr.Brouwer and Mrs.Trumpower.)

     After conquering a  monstrosity of a hill, we reached the cabin where I considered the half way point. From here, I was given the choice to either ski with a faster group or with a not as fast group. I decided to push my luck with the faster group which was made completely up of skate skiers. As was promised, our trail consisted of some pretty disheartening hills and terrain. With confidence and energy I made the trails nothing but a memory behind me. Never did I gave up or doubt my new capabilities to finish with pride. I was rewarded with an incredible lookout that offered some pretty sweet pictures afterward. It was almost a symbol of how hard I worked to try something I have never done before, and succeed at it.

     The last stretch really began to test my patience with seemingly endless flat terrain, my worst enemy. When it did end, I was so proud of myself that I did not feel the burn in my legs until I got home. Skate skiing promised me a faster trip with harder work, and that it was. I have no regrets about that day or ideas of how it could have gone smoother. Taking the harder route was easy decision that I would make again to continue improving my skiing skills.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Palmer’s Rapids Make-Up Assignment

Outdoor Education
Mr. Sven Brouwer
June 16, 2015
  1. Ottawa River Runners
    1. They provide a wide array of different courses and summer camps for all ages.  They have youth summer camps and programs, junior programs, masters programs, advanced development, winter pool sessions, coaching training and opportunities, recreational paddling, and all sorts of competition options.
    2. The Pumphouse Whitewater Course just next to the Canadian War Museum.
    3. They encourage use of personal equipment, but if people do not have their own gear the River Runners have plenty of their own that they can lend to people in their programs.
    4. The cost is ~$25-$30/hour for private lessons and ~$15-$20/hour for semi-private or group lessons, including all equipment.  Regular adult membership is $48 annually.  There are special rates for students, families, and first time members in conjunction with course registration.

Madawaska Kanu Centre
  1. They offer beginner’s courses, family programs, short camps, weekend programs, advanced & slalom courses, and actual canoe trips as well - they also offer this all for kayaks.  They also have family rafting, all kinds of first aid and rescue training, a resort option for people to stay at their location, and they even do weddings.
  2. Bark Lake, just near Algonquin park and a little ways out from the township of Madawaska.  Closer to Ottawa then Algonquin though.
  3. They provide all gear that people might need - though they don’t sell it.  People are still always more than welcome to bring their own gear to the club and to courses of theirs though.
  4. $55 per person + HST /session.   Or $165 for a private class.   All equipment provided.  This is for their basic canoeing program - prices vary drastically for everything else.

  1. Paddle Canada
    1. They offer introduction, intermediate, and advanced level courses for canoeing, river kayaking, sea kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding as well as instructor training and a store.
    2. They operate out of Kingston, Ontario.  But, they are also connected to many smaller groups - which means that courses can be found with them in many places all over the country.
    3. Gear is provided for participants of all of their programs.
    4. Unfortunately I was unable to find programs costs for the individual programs on their website.
Boreal River Rescue
  1. They provide 2-3 day outings for beginner, intermediate, or expert level paddlers on which people learn whitewater paddling skills or further their current knowledge.
  2. The programs they conduct all take place on the upper Gatineau river.
  3. They don’t provide participants with any gear; they must provide all of their own, including canoes and paddles.  These programs are strictly more of opportunities to better your skills with instructors while on a camping trip.  Although you can rent all of the gear you might need from their company at individual item costs separate to the program cost.
  4. The cost for two days  is $279/person.  The cost for three days is $399/person.

  1. Palmer Rapids
      1. Class II/Class III
      2. Pool-Drop
      3. 8-12 Km depending on putin
    1. Equipment can be rented from a number of different canoe companies closeby.
    2. From what I could find it does not seem to be so.
    3. The main putin is at Aumond Bay but you can also putin at Hass Hole - no shuttle required.
Rideau River: Hog’s Back Falls

    1. Class II/Class III OR Class IV+ if running Hog’s Back Falls
    2. Continuous (the falls)
    3. 600 metres (the falls)
  1. Equipment can be rented from a number of nearby canoe rental places.
  2. No costs.
  3. Putin either above or below falls depending on desired start location.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Palmer Rapids Reflection

Palmer Rapids Reflection
Before the trip
I had a little experience with white water before. I once went on a trip with my family and we decided to try white water kayaking, it was just a one day trip, no skirt, no wet suit, pretty basic. The kayak’s were also not proper white water kayaks and were ones that you might expect to see at a cottage. However the rapids at the time seemed large and scary at the young age that I was, it was nothing compared to what I saw here. I had no idea what to expect for this, and what a challenge this would be. As the trip approached I was equally excited as I was terrified; I knew from the start it was going to be an interesting trip.
Day 1
After the long bus ride and the endless rounds of president on the bus, we finally arrived at the campsite. The first thing that caught me off guard were the sheer size of these rapids, and how quickly we were going to be thrown into this unfamiliar territory. As soon as we got in I was fairly excited to get started, I wanted to try all the tactics we learnt in the real situation. The training from the river kicked in almost automatically, allowing us to get into the current and soar down it. That was our first problem, I knew that getting into this part of the rapid was going to be fairly challenging, what I didn’t even consider was how difficult it would be to get out of it. I was really excited for the following few days, where we would have the chance to try the larger rapid, and get a chance to swim the top one.
Day 2
As Spencer and I got more and more practice everything started to get more and more automatic, I could feel how things before that used to be challenging quickly became a walk in the park. However as soon as this confidence gets to your head, it starts to really slow your progress and hinder your skills. I was already tired from the lack of sleep of the night before, and the heat and uncomfort of the suit and shoes. So before lunch I quickly felt myself losing control over the canoe. I started thinking about all the actions I was doing instead of running them on automatic. This quickly became problematic and lead to me tipping on nearly every run. At this point I entered the rapid with the mentality that we were going to tip, and this of course led us to. As soon as I felt the imbalance I would switch into the mode that we were tipping and would push myself away from the canoe as far as possible and prepare for swimming. After lunch I started feeling better and got more comfortable about staying up. However this time my partner was quickly becoming exhausted and found himself in the same predicament that I was in. It was a bit of a mess, but fun none the less, I always like swimming. After the lower rapids I spent as much time as I could in the top rapids, jumping in and out, swimming down them, and playing around with the moving water. It’s the kind of thing that only a handful of people in the world will ever have the chance to try, and I wanted to capitalize on this opportunity.
Day 3
Spencer and I decided immediately that morning to take the rapid a little more seriously and really try not to tip as best as we could; and to my surprise it worked extremely well. We went down the rapid flawlessly and quickly, without problems. Although, I honestly enjoyed tipping over and swimming it a little more, but the sense of success and achievement when you made it all the way down still upright made it worth it. I felt everything come into play, the braces, the tilting, the adrenaline, the draws and prys; it was automatic and it felt amazing. I really felt like I was one with the boat and everything was intuitive, like riding a bike, it seemed to just hit me. We started taking the harder routes, and would try and hit the largest waves and take the biggest challenges, we wanted the full experience. This added more challenge and just made everything more worth it when you finished right side up, I was even happy that I got to experience getting stuck in a hole and was able to push my paddle deep to catch the undertow of the water. The last few runs really made me understand what the appeal to white water canoeing was, and why it has such a large following.

Off water
Luckily there isn’t much to say in this segment, the way I like it. No drama, no issues, just genuine fun and happiness between friends. I felt that everyone in the group was enjoying themselves and everyone was smart enough not to ruin it for others if they had a personal problem, I really like the group that way. Sadly the first night I didn’t get much sleep. I’m used to a much more quiet environment, and I found the constant sound of rushing water really ‘got to my head’, so much so that I had trouble ignoring it and just falling asleep. I also felt dizzy and waterlogged from all the swimming I had done, I woke up extremely early, just before sunrise. I found wood, started a fire, got into some comfier clothes, made some tea, and snacked on some food while carving my marshmallow stick. It was peaceful, and just as I was walking back into my tent Mr.Brouwer called breakfast and woke everyone up, I wasn’t too pleased about that much, but it happens. Other than that, the bugs, and the feeling of slight seasickness while lying down, the trip was perfect, and totally enjoyable. It’s a trip that I will soon miss and will jump at any opportunity to do something like it again. Just hanging out with a whole group of people that I loved, before we all leave our separate ways, was enough of a reward already, the rapids were just an extra and incredible bonus. What an incredible venture, stunning.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

hiking trip

Frontenac Hiking trip report gabe mcdonald

The frontenac hiking trip was a great learning experience for me. I learned so many new things, while having fun with my friends.

The first day of the trip started with the hardest hike of them all my legs were hurting and my back was killing because of my humongous bag. When we got to camp we quickly set up our tents and then started a fire to make dinner. We learned a very valuable lesson as we ate most of our food. This meant that we had to ration our food for the rest of the trip. Which left us very unhappy campers for the remaining two days. This could have been prevented if we stuck to our meal plan.

Day two started with me waking up and going for a swim to wash myself off. The water was cold but at least I didn’t stink as much as the other boys.  After that we paked up our tent and collected our garbage. Now since we all did not have enough room in our packs I was foolish enough to throw all our garbage down the outhouse. I did not think about the impact of my actions and for that reason I got in a considerable amount  of trouble. Since then I have definitly learned from my actions and it has truly taught me to think about my actions before I do something as stupid as this incident. Also for the second time I would like to apologize for my actions as I know that I put your program in jeopardy. After that we set off and hiked to our next camping ground which we ate lunch and dinner then stayed for the night.

On The third day we all woke up pretty early  and started a fire for breakfast. We then scavenged through our bags to find some food. We found some granola bars and that was our breakfast. We then headed out and walked about 3k to the bus. Throughout the trip I was very tired and I should have gotten enough sleep at night and that is something that I will improve on next time.

This hiking trip was a real eye opening experience for me and also a real learning curb. I have taken these experiences and will use them next time I am in the outdoors.

Menu Evaluation

Monday lunch- ham sandwiches
monday dinner- hot dogs and nachos

tuesday breakfast- bagels and fruit
tuesday lunch- hummus and vegtables
tuesday dinner- soup

wednesday breakfast- bagels
wednesday lunch- granola bars

This was our meal plan and unfortunately we did not really follow it as we ate most of our food the first night. We probably should have taken more food as we are growing boys. I did enjoy the taste of all the food as i give an A+ in that department. All of our food was quick easy to make and there was never any leftovers after our meals.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Menu Evaluation

Hiking Trip Menu Evaluation

Food eaten throughout the trip:

Chicken stir fry
  • Pre cooked chicken
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Thai sauce

Scrambled eggs
  • Cartoned eggs with veggies and cheese pre mixed

  • Spaghetti noodles
  • Marinara sauce
  • Ciabatta bread

  • Pre mixed pancake mix

  • Oranges
  • Cliff bats
  • Apples
  • Bread
  • Granola bars
  • Trail mixes with yogurt
  • Peanut butter
  • Dehydrated mangoes

I’m not sure I can say that our meals included something from all the food groups however we did try our best to make them healthy. Everything we ate was absolutely delicious and we made sure we had something different every day. To answer the question on if we had any hot meals, the answer is yes!!! I guess you could say that every meal we had was a hot meal. The only thing that didn’t involve heat were the snacks that we had packed.

The reality matched our menu plan somewhat. We were originally planning on making scrambled eggs for our first breakfast however with the way the pan was and the consistency of its cooking, the eggs became easier to just scramble. Also, when it came to making the pasta, we ended up combining ours with the other 2 groups because they were also making spaghetti that evening. We didn’t boil water for ourselves like we originally planned to. Other than that, things went pretty much according to plan.

The meals were actually very easy to make and didn’t take much time at all. I think they ended up all being quicker than expected. Because the chicken for our stir fry was already cooked, we just had to heat it up and warm the veggies so they softened. Pancakes took no time at all to cook. They actually burned very fast if we didn’t keep our eyes on them. The pasta was a group effort so it was very easy and involved little effort.

Looking at the portions, we managed to make the right amount every time. For the eggs, we all got 2 bowls and if someone couldn’t finish theirs, there was someone else who wanted more. We made 2 batches of stir fry so we all had plenty and since we are all girls that eat an insane amount, there were never any leftovers.

For the most part my group worked very well together. There were a few issues with people avoiding some of the cleanup and responsibilities however when things were really needed, they always got done. We took turns cleaning the dishes to try and be faire. We split the food up so we all had a job to cook something. We all equally helped when it came to packing everything up and making sure all the food had a place to go. We tried to get everything done as quick as possible so it would be out of the way and it wouldn’t be a worry. I think I worked well in my group. I did my part and tried to help along with others. With the way we all worked, most things went along very smoothly.  

Quinzhee Analysis

Quinzhee Analysis
View from the outside      View from entrance

I imagined that the quinzhee would be bigger than the actual outcome

The night i stayed it was very cold and cramped and even though we were supposed to have 5 people sleeping in it we only had 3 which even then it was cramped.

The thing i would improve is making the quinzhee bigger and a better heat sink since my feet were cold in the night do to my feet basically being in it

PAD3O Risk Management Interview

PAD3O Risk Management Interview
By: Neal Macfarlane

If I would get this job my main two priorities is that everyone is safe and that everyone is having a fun time. I would do this by planning ahead, taking leadership roles, and making sure there is no chance of risk problems.

For the first week before the campers arrive the first thing I would do is learn the weather and fire safety on the days we will be there. I will need to know this if we need to bring more wet gear if it will rain the whole time and if the fire risk is high that we will need an alternative to cooking our meals and keeping warm. Another thing to look at is the medical sheets the parents gave me of the campers. I will see if anyone has any major medical problems such as asthma or diabetes. I also check for food allergy so I can change the menu plan so that there are no problems with it. My final thing I would do is go through the route with the assistant guides so we make sure that route we are going is first easy to do if there are lower skilled level campers. Second if it is even possible to complete meaning maybe something changed in the map so we cannot go that way anymore. And third finding where we need to portage and the campsites so that we have an idea. I also will pack extra essentials if not provided such as first aid so if an injury occurs while canoeing we can prevent it from being a big problem.

On the second week the main thing I would be doing is learning the campers’ skill levels in all fields. I would see if they could put up/pack tents quickly, what cooking levels they are at, if they know what type of firewood to collect and most importantly the canoeing skills such as paddling, steering and drawing. And if there are difficulties such as one camp is not as good as paddling me or another assistant guides could help him/her with that so that when we are on the trip there will be no problems. Also we will make canoeing groups so that on the morning of when we leave for the trip we don’t have people by themselves or people having too many in one canoe. I will also tell all the campers and assistant guides the route we are taking and which campsites we will be staying at so if by any chance a person gets lost they can find where we are staying and come meet back with the group. Another thing I will be looking at that every person who has a medical problem has a medication and enough to last the week and if any has any physical problems such as knee brace so if we are going up a steep portage they are ok and don’t hurt their knee any farther.

Finally on the last week when we are canoeing my main priority will be keeping everyone safe and make sure that we stick together as a group. When portaging I will make sure everyone does their share of work with carrying canoes and packs so that we can do the portages fast and efficiently with no problems. Another thing I would be doing is making sure everyone is hydrated, if the weather is going to be extremely hot I need to make sure that the campers are drinking water and staying hydrated and not pushing too much and having a heat stroke. Also I’m guessing we will have food for when we are canoeing so I will make sure people are eating and not starving. Another thing is also time management though it isn’t crucial it still is a big factor for canoeing to campsites for lunch and dinner, and on the final day where we have to reach the bus. That’s why I will make sure we don’t spend too much time sitting around so that when we get to the campsite it isn’t 9pm and on the final in the morning we will wake up early the normal if the bus leaves early also.

If I get this job has head guide for this camp there is no chance have any risk not being solved. If the trip goes successful with no problems it will be done efficiently and quick while still having a good time.

Sorry for this being late sir just end of semester hecticness

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Cross Country Ski Reflection

Cross Country Ski Reflection

The cross country ski trip was probably one of the most exerting yet enjoyable trips I’ve yet to take part in. I had never tried XC skiing before outdoor ed and I think I picked it up quite fast. I was extremely excited to be going on the trip although I do have to say that skiing 11 km did seem quite intimidating.

Seeing as I had only really tried classic skiing during outdoor ed and I knew that there was going to be no chance of me surviving the day if I didn’t learn how to skate ski, I was quite nervous. There were a bunch of people in my class that learnt how to skate ski so fast and they were skiing so far ahead of me. They kept telling me that I should be able to pick it up easily considering I figure skated and that it was the same feeling, however I just kept having difficulties. Finally, after many failed attempts and my confidence being lowered, Mrs. Trumpower took the time to teach me proper technique. Once I finally got the feel for it, I was speeding ahead of many others and caught up with my friends. Looking back now, I would’ve had a horrible trip had I not properly learnt how to skate ski.

I enjoyed the trip very much, especially all the downhills. I struggled at the start but ended up pulling through. I got the chance to really work on my leg muscles and my technique and if given the chance, I would absolutely go again.   

Gatineau winter overnight reflection

The Gatineau overnight trip was my second favorite trip, following the grade 11 portage trip at Algonquin. I found this trip to be a lot of fun because we got to play hard during the day and then cozy up in a nice cabin in the evening. I felt i was well prepared for this trip which also added to the enjoyment.

The trip started with a great departure from our school. It went great since we had organized the menu through a google doc which gave everyone easy access to the menu. We then arrived at parking lot 17 where we quickly snowshoed to our cabin. After we got settled in the cabin, we went for our first excursion. We snowshoed across brown a carman lake and up the side of a mountain. This was very tiring since the snow was very deep but it was well worth the climb. On the way down we ended up taking a quick route and jumping down multiple steep cliffs with tons of fluffy snow at the bottom. This was by far the best outdoor ed moment i have ever had. After that i was pumped with adrenaline which made my walk back that much more fun. When we got back to the cabin we had spaghetti, garlic bread and cesar salad which was very filling.

The next day of trip began with a great breakfast of bacon, eggs and fruit. After that we collected water and began our long day of skiing. We skied a large loop that was about 20 km. Half way through the loop we stopped at a cabin where we had some grilled cheese and other snacks for lunch. After that we skied towards the lusk caves. When we got there the whole caves were iced over and it looked incredible. We explored the caves for a while and then headed back towards our cabin. That day of skiing was fun at first but then got worse as i developed a blister on my foot. When we got back to the cabin i was relived because supper had been prepared and i was starving. For dinner we had a fantastic meal of fajitas.

The next day we had some pancakes for breakfast and began our short snowshoe back to parking lot 17.

Overall i think this trip was very successful apart from the power going out multiple times. It was fantastic because we had lots of time for activities as well a lot of time for relaxing in the cabin. I hope to go back there again someday.

PAD20 Hiking Trip Menu Evaluation

Frontenac Park Hiking Trip Menu Evaluation- Foster Johansson

     An essential part of hiking and camping, is always food. A lot of campers eat like royalty while camping, but for my group, not so much. On the first day of our three day trip, we ate snacks for lunch which were mostly provided by Gabe, and then dinner that evening we ate a tortilla filled with chicken, some vegetables and some salsa provided by Jeremy. The next morning before we continued hiking to the next camp, we ate a not-so nutritious snack of Nutella on toast, with some vegetables and some flavored water. After a long afternoon hike, we arrived at the lookout and ate a grilled cheese sandwich, with some crackers and snacks provided by Emad and myself.  Later that night, we ate some smoked beef sandwiches. Next, we ate some more beef sandwiches and bagels because we began to run out of food. In total these meals were alright, but not the best and they weren't healthy.

To begin with, these meals were not very nutritional or balanced within all the food groups. Some of the meals were tasty but most were not very filling and lacked taste, one of the best meals was the tortillas filled with chicken, because it was a hot meal, and filled us up to keep us warm throughout the night. Our whole group understood the importance of nutrition, especially while hiking and camping, but we did not plan meals that would help us and give us energy throughout the day, we planned easy and relatively tasty meals, but we didn't bring enough of it to fill us up on every meal, which was very inconvenient. When we planned our meals, we thought that there would be enough food to last us the whole trip comfortably, but unfortunately we ran out of food, and thankfully some of the other groups were kind enough to share some of their extras with us. Our meals were very quick to make, all we needed was a fire for most of them. It was a little bit of an inconvenience that my stove stopped working, but we just used our fire either way. Overall our meals were not so great, but we had lots of fun either way. I felt like my group and I performed alright but we definitely were not the best together, we fooled around way too much and didn't get much done, but we also didn't do a good planning job because we ran out of food. There was always left over garbage on the ground that needed to be picked up but overall we were alright. 

All in all, camping was great, but we could've brought more food, and planned healthier meals to better prepare ourselves for the long hike those days. Also my whole group and I could've performed better overall. 

Palmer Rapids Reflection

                                   Palmer Rapids Reflection   

As someone who has done white water canoeing before, I knew what to expect when heading off to this camp but nonetheless, I was still excited. When we arrived on Friday, we put our stuff down and immediately got on the water. I found I was a little rusty when I was having trouble doing eddy turns and ferrying. We started to get the hang of it after doing it a few times. My partner and I started building our confidence as a team and things where coming a bit more naturally. When we went down the upper set for the first time, we were doing fairly well, until we hit the second standing wave at a bit of an unfavorable angle. Ryan saved us at first with a good correcting stroke, however, we had taken on too much water to be saved and we dumped. In all, I feel like our first day was a good beginning and I started to feel more comfortable.

The second day started off similar to the first one, with practicing out eddy turns and ferrying. Things were going well, until we flipped on an eddy turn. I can say that one was my fault because I did not give enough of an initiation stroke, meaning we got caught on the eddy line. After this, we switched partners and did the upper set again. This second time was much better then our first as we stayed upright and hit the second wave at a much better angle. After playing around a bit more we moved on to the lower set. I was familiar with this set of rapids, meaning I had a pretty good idea for a route to take. We took this route and managed to stay up, but we still got a bit wet from the hole at the bottom. After lunch, we hit the lower set again. I was able to make it down numerous times with out flipping, by taking the same line and not really catching any eddies. Looking back, this is something I should have tried more as it is good practice and can make the river more interesting. For the last run of the day, I switched back to my previous partner, only with him in the back. I had assured him that I would give him directions on our route and how to get us to the bottom upright. This did not happen. I think it would have helped the situation by just letting my partner choose his own line, as me shouting directions probably did not help him make decisions on which maneuvers to make on time. Overall, the second day was a blast and it reminded me of why i love white water.

On the final day, we mostly ran the lower set again. We only dumped once, and that was because I insisted that we should try to plow straight through the hole at the bottom because I wanted to see if we could make it. Unfortunately we dumped, however we were able to tip the canoe back the right way, albeit full of water. This was probably the most exciting part of the third day, as again I did not take huge risks with eddies, which I think was the only thing I regret about this trip.

In conclusion, this was probably my favourite outdoor ed trip for the last three years. It was a good wrap up and I had a blast, even though I got wet a few times. I hope that someday I can go back so that I can do a bit more exciting runs with new and more challenging routes.

Monday, June 15, 2015

PAD 40 Palmer Rapids White Water Rafting Excursion – Reflections
Spencer Knowles – June 2015 grade 12 trip to Palmer Rapids was most likely my favourite trip and event throughout my years at Outdoor Ed at CW.  This year was especially awesome because we were able to pack more comfort items because we got dropped off right at our campsite.  I was especially happy to bring a comfortable pillow and an extra-comfortable sleeping bag on this trip.  Packing at home and in the Outdoor Ed room went very smoothly and I cannot recall any problems that came along with it.  Once we arrived at our campsite ewe set up camp very quickly and got into our wetsuits to get as much time as we could in the water.  The rented canoes were very comfortable and the knee pads and knee straps were very secure.  At the start, it seemed that everyone was hesitant to fall into the water even though it seems that everyone knew that it was inevitable.  I started in the bow and me and my partner, Cameron, started off by doing “S” turns and ferrying across the rapid and falling in the water in the process.  However once in the water, I felt a sort of adrenalin rush and I soon began to love capsizing, by accident, of course!  After scouting and canoeing down the first rapid over the massive waves, we were then allowed to swim down the rapid which was amazing!  I could have done it all day, but we had to go back up to camp and have dinner.            Similar to the packing, there were also no conflicts related to cooking (except one pack of expired ground beef).  Our first meal of shish kabobs and chili was delicious and was easy to cook because everyone helped out.  Similarly, the dishes were also not a pain because at least half the group took on the task of getting them done quickly and efficiently.  After dinner, we relaxed around camp, hung up our wet gear to dry and eventually crawled into bed.  

The next morning we woke up early to go paddling once again.  However, at that point, I started to realize the massive amounts of insect bites that I and almost everyone else had started to accumulate.  The bugs seemed to be the only problem on the entire trip which is great because that is not even a significant inconvenience.  


We had a great breakfast and were soon back on the water.  However, once on the water we were told to change positions from the previous day, meaning that I had to go to the stern.  I was a little nervous at first, but all the strokes and movements soon came back to me and I think I ended up being more confident in the stern than in the bow.  We paddled in the first rapid for a while longer then went down to the second rapid.  After scouting the second rapid, we learned that it was a little calmer than the first rapid, but had many hazards and was considerably longer.  We were still extremely excited to paddle it and wanted to get going right away.  We paddled down the rapids successfully the first time, but fell once or twice on our other attempts to go down the rapids.  At one point, we ended up in the middle of the lake at the end of the rapid in a completely submerged canoe.  It was hilarious trying to paddle back because we kept flipping because it was so hard to balance.  We ended up popping the canoe out of the water and I climbed in on one side while Cameron climbed in the other side.  We managed to get into the canoe with little to no water remaining in it and we were quite happy with our small victory.  We portaged the canoe back to the top of the rapid which was actually a little harder than normal because the rented canoes had no shoulder pads.  Then we paddled back to shore and ended up swimming down the first rapid and having a lot of fun on some paddle boards.  After a day of fun on the water, we headed up for dinner.  However, before dinner, we were warned that there was a possibility of rain, so we set up tarps and made sure that our tent was rainproof.   Dinner was quite simple because we decided not to have spaghetti because it seemed that no one was that hungry, however, we still had a satisfying Caesar salad and garlic bread.  Once again, dishes were quickly taken care of before we sat down around the campfire to relax.  (This was a big improvement from our previous skiing trip when we relaxed first and the dishes were neglected.)  We then had a fun game of Liar’s Dice around the campfire before heading to bed.  


The next morning we woke up to our final day of the trip.  At this point, I think that we were all getting tired and we were covered in bug bites.  We had a great breakfast of pancakes and bacon before heading down to the water once again.  This time, however, our gear was quite cold because it had not been given the chance to fully dry because of the small amount of rain overnight.   When we got on the water, we pretty much started going down the rapids right away because we had practiced our skills for the first two days and at that point, we were pretty comfortable with what we knew.  The final day was an awesome mix of paddling, swimming and of course, tipping.  We had to leave the water and put away the rented canoes and gear earlier in the day because it was almost time to leave.  We took down camp efficiently and were ready when the bus came to pick us up.  


This trip had no flaws and was pure fun with many friends and a great adventure.  Not only would I do this trip again, I hope to plan something like this over the summer.  I am very happy that I can end my experience of Outdoor Ed at CW with such an amazing trip that leaves me with memories that I won’t soon forget.  Thank you, Mr. Brouwer for this amazing class and experience! (I would be very willing to be a chaperone on any future trips!)