Thursday, May 28, 2015

Hiking Trip Reflection

Frontenac Park Hiking Trip Reflection 

Emily Dyck

The three days spent in Frontenac Park were some of the most relaxing and fulfilling days I’ve spent this entire semester. The trip began on the 27th of April and lasted until the 29th. My group (Emmy, Sophia, Caylee and Fatima) and I were very organized, which is the main reason that I believe the trip ran quite smoothly for us. We were successful when it came to preparing and cooking food, setting up our camping space and hiking to our proceeding location. 
On the first day of our trip, we began with the longest hike - approximately 15 kilometres to our campsite. Throughout the trek, we were able to observe many interesting aspects of the trail including the various forms of vegetation and the awakening wildlife that lives within the forest (such as chipmunks, insects, frogs, beavers etc). Although the trail was rather rocky and somewhat difficult to maneuver at times, everyone remained determined and enjoyed the time spent outdoors. These aspects of the trip drew the most inspiration and appreciation from me with regards to the wildlife and the canadian scenery surrounding us. When I was younger, I loved camping with my family and this hiking experience brought back memories of family hikes, campfire stories and canadian sunsets. Although this trip made me nostalgic, it also introduced me to new forms of enjoying the outdoors as I have never hiked/backpacked to a campsite before this trip. I feel that this trip was quite beneficial for us as a class as it gave us a chance to bond as a group and to reconnect with ourselves and nature.
My group of five was very successful when it came to organising and distributing the weight of the food and supplies as well as preparing and cooking meals. The first diner was prepared by Emmy and although we had some food restrictions (one group member was unable to eat pork, another had certain preferences that we were able to accommodate) we were able to work around them and that night we ate grilled cheese and hot dogs. I believe that the group that I was in was ideal as we all shared the load and we worked hard to ensure that our trip went as smoothly as it could. We were all dedicated and took the experience seriously which truly enhanced the entire trip for not only our group, but for others as well. I noticed that our group’s attitude particularly affected the efficiency of the activities that we had to perform (starting a fire, assembling or taking down our tents, etc), it also added to my personal experience. 
Personally, I believe that I was effective in taking initiative, supporting and contributing to my group, however there were many areas in which I would like to improve. I was content with what I had brought in regards to warm, dry clothing, mealtime equipment and sleeping equipment. the second and third days I had brought and prepared breakfast for the group which consisted of croissants, nutella, fresh fruits, oatmeal and hashbrowns. This hiking trip truly allowed me the chance to explore the skills practiced in class and apply them to real life which I believe helped me grow and improve.  There are a few things that I would like to improve upon the next time I take a similar trip. To begin, I would like to push myself to be a stronger and more confident leader when it comes to navigating the trail or directing the organization of the campsite. I would also like to improve on my skills as a hiker when it comes to starting the fire. I believe that I have much to work on in regards to coming out of my shell and taking charge of situations and tasks.
The second day, we arrived at the lookout point at around lunchtime. We did not have lunch and instead had many nutritious snacks such as sunflower seeds, salad, flaxseed crackers and trail mix. The time we spent at the lookout point was refreshing and stunning as it was one of the more memorable moments that we took to sit back and admire the scenery of the park. One thing that I would like to improve on as a hiker is learning to look up from the trail once and a while to admire the beauty of the environment. That night, Caylee, Emmy and Sophia prepared a delicious stir fry using fresh ingredients. This was one of my favourite meals prepared on the trip, as it was healthy and well made. 
Once we had returned home, I took some time to reflect on the experience and came to realize some important aspects of the trip that I would need to remember for the future. The first thing that I would want to remember is the importance of planning your meals and snacks ahead of time. Our group was very successful with this which meant that we had all of the proper ingredients and were fed quite well throughout the entire trip. If you do not make a meal plan, you could run the risk of over packing or running out of food. The second vital task that I would want to keep in mind is not to overpack clothing but to make sure that you have enough of the supplies that you do pack. The hiking packs can get very heavy after carrying them for three days, this is why packing efficiently is crucial. This camping trip we found that we were quickly running out of items such as hand sanitizer and matches. Finally, one of the most important aspects of hiking is ensuring that your pack is not only comfortable but also that all the buckles and zippers are intact. 
Although our group had a rewarding hike, there were certainly some hiccups along the way. The first obstacle faced was that two of our hikers (Caylee and Fatima) were injured. Caylee had a knee injury and Fatima had several blisters. This meant that we had to be cautious with the load that we allowed them to carry. On the final day of the trip Emmy, Caylee and I had to leave earlier as Caylee had re-injured her knee playing a game of man-hunt the night before. The other area to which we could have been more attentive was the amount of garbage that we produced. We ended up leaving with more garbage than we anticipated and as I reflect on the experience, we could have burned some of the garbage that we produced during those three days. 

Overall I believe this hiking trip was a success. Having time away from devices, school and any other distractions was particularly beneficial for our group and certainly had a profound impact on us. My group was well prepared and organized with regards to the meals and set up of our campsite. Although we encountered obstacles, we overcame them with ease and we appreciated the opportunity we were given to practice in-class skills. After this experience I am personally very excited for the next outing which will give me and my classmates a chance to enhance and improve our skills that much more. 

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