Monday, August 23, 2010

Apostle Islands trip c/o Wilderness Inquiry

Just back from an inspiring five day sea kayaking trip around Lake Superior's Apostle Islands.

Group observations

1. Wilderness Inquiry . What a great thing it is that Wilderness Inquiry facilitates quality outdoor camping trips for people of varying ages and abilities. Our group of 15 bonded better together in five short days than many other groups I've camped with during much longer trips. We had a range of folks, including university students, a university professor and retirees. The most common camper expectation was to "have fun", which was accomplished by all ;-)

2. Good attitudes make for great trips. One of our group members had MS and needed considerable assistance throughout the trip. Yet he inspired us all with this steady comments of "COOOOL" or "WOW", and was always appreciative of help received. We were all appreciative of his great attitude.

3. Team work. Considerable work was involved with packing up the gear, loading it into the kayaks and paddling across the lake. All pitched in as needed. I don't recall hearing one complaint, other than about the quality of jokes, for which I can rightfully take much of the criticism.

Natural observations

1. Nature's diversity There must have been at least a couple of dozen types of mushrooms on the hike we took through the woods on Stockton Island. Simply amazing the different sizes, shapes and colors.

2. The amazing Monarch butterfly. This seeminly frail butterly is amazingly fast. While putting some muscle into our kayaking across a stretch of Lake Superior I witnessed a Monarch butterfly leave us in its wispy air current as it fluttered by. These butterflys can cover up to 80 miles a day.

3. Tenacity and audacity of trees. We observed trees that were rooted on Lake Superior's slopes of sandstone that seemed to have little if any depth of soil for nutrition and stabilization. Yet they were hanging in there. What role models they are for us all when we think we've got it rough... thriving despite adversity!

Additional observations

1. Cowboy coffee is a hoot. To makc this coffee on the trail one simply adds a heap of coffee grounds to some boiling hot water in a pot and gives it a quick series of windmill like rotations to separate the grounds from the coffee. Bonus points for yelling "Yeee Haw" during the process.

2. Sleeping pads. Pads should get thicker as the camper gets older.

3. Expanding comfort zones. I went on this trip never having been in a sea kayak and not knowing any of the participants. Yet within a few short days I felt close to all of the group members and started to get the hang of sea kayaking. Great risk, great reward!

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Dan. We really did have a great time with an impressive group! - Jymme