Thursday, March 12, 2015

Winter Camp Reflection By: Dylan Jesso

This year the grade twelve class was brought to Gatineau park for a two night stay at the brown cabin to enjoy some snowshoeing and skiing. There were a few ups and downs, but for the most part the trip was successful. I would however change a few things that happened on the trip, mainly my knee.

On the first day of the trip we were sitting in the outdoor ed room, packing our gear, and getting ready to head onto the bus. Before we even left for the bus I learned my first lesson about trip planning. Make sure that everything is purchased and packed on time for your departure. We had a last minute shopping trip and had extra things that we hadn’t yet packed. It was all sorted out thanks to an extra food barrel and a sled. After a long and tedious ride to p17 we hopped off the bus and started embarking on our first snowshoe. The hills were a little steep at some points, but all in all the walk in wasn’t so bad. A few people had issues with snowshoes falling off, but nothing serious. One tip I learned was to really keep a good pace going down hills. The faster I went the more out of control I got and it was very stressful on my already injured knee. When we got to th camp it was unlike any camping I have ever done for OE. The cabin was large and luxurious compared to a quin-zhee or tent, and it had electricity. Shortly after arriving however, electricity was a thing of the past. The lights turned off and we were forced to sit under headlamps and candlelight. Although it was very cozy, it would have been nice to have the benefits of lights. This is why it’s important to b prepared for anything. We brought some flashlights and candles which was very helpful without and electricity. Once we were all settled in and had everything unpacked, we loaded up a few gym bags with snacks and headed off on a snowshoe across a few lakes, in and around some slopes, and down a steep hill. The walk was long, but so worth when at the very end of our hike up we got to scale the side of a steep hill and slide down on big piles of snow. Although quite dangerous and risky, it was incredibly fun. We got back safely and cooked a nice supper of spaghetti over a gas stove. The meal was satisfying to say the least after a hard days work. The night was quite cozy as we sat around the wood stove and lounged on the couches before heading to bed.

The next morning we had planned to take a very long ski out to Lusk caves. After injuring my knee during a basketball game I was a little hesitant, but decided to head out anyway. Another member of our group had decided to stay back because they were feeling a little ill. No more that 5 minutes into the ski I could feel my knee start to shake and I knew that I would never be able to keep this up for 22km. I turned back and helped out at camp instead. It worked out very well because I truly believe I would have injured my knee if I had tried to push through it. At camp I gathered snow to make about a barrels worth of water, I chopped fire wood for a big bonfire set up, I helped prepare the supper for when everyone returned, and I took a nice walk to get some fresh air and also marshmallow sticks. If there was one thing at camp that I realize took a lot of work it was gathering water. We spent all day gathering snow and melting it on the stove and after all that work we had just enough to get us through the rest of the trip. If nobody had stayed back we would have been extremely short on water which is not very good in a cold environment. The time spent back at camp was quite satisfying and left me feeling like I made the best out of a bad situation. Upon everyone’s arrival we served up the supper and spent another relaxing night inside. Once supper was all done and it was starting to get dark outside we decided to head out and light up our bonfire. Only a few people were brave enough to come out and enjoy a fire in the cold rather than sit by one on a comfy padded couch inside the cabin. Those who did come out enjoyed nice marshmallow roasting and bonding time. The best thing to do after a hard days work is have a nice nights rest.

On the third day of our trip we packed up and had a quick breakfast and head out on snowshoes to get to the bus. The sight of seeing the bus for most was incredible. It felt great to be able to sit down and have something shuttle you from place to place rather than walking through thick snow and dense bush to get to where you need to be going. The bus was so warm I was able to take my jacket off and sit in my seat without any sleeves. When we got back to school I decided I would rather go home and take a nap than deal with trying to learn while extremely tired.

The trip was very fun, but it would have been nice to ski on the second day with a fully healed knee. Other than injuries I don’t think I would have changed anything else about the trip. It was a really great experience and I am glad to know that so many other students get to do something like this every year.

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