As we move closer to the start of camp, we’ll be looking back on some great moments from the last few years in word and image. This week, we get a taste for the Canadian trail from Sam Calian, who details Day 7 of the 2016 Little Churchill trip.
We all awoke cold, and the majority of us wet from the previous days encounter with rapids where we learned that the Little Churchill packed a big punch. With leftover wood from the night before, built a fire to boil some water for a much needed warm bowl of oatmeal. As the pot came to a boil, the Canadian skies darkened and began to drizzle on us. We all huddled under the Tundra Tarp and enjoyed the warmth that spread through our bodies as we quickly inhaled our precious homemade oatmeal. We then packed up the Tundra Tarp, gathered our packs and ventured down the hill to our beached canoes. As we pushed off around noon, the late start due to a long night and the need for a warm breakfast, we were greeted by a stiff headwind. It was an approximately 35 klick day, but the brutal winds made it a difficult paddle. Despite the bends in the river, the wind always seemed to come directly at us. This is due to the tunnel effect. We would have to paddle with all of our might just to keep moving forward, scraping for every inch. Throughout the day, we shot a couple of sets of rapids, none with too much difficulty, learning from yesterday’s mistakes. For lunch we on our last summer sausage and cheese a top a pilot biscuit. As the day progressed, we continued to move along at a snail’s pace, the winds never ceasing, always tormenting us with waves crashing over our bow and high powered gusts that would send us backwards, they were so strong. The day continued to pass and we continued to paddle our arms and shoulders with a wretched pain that can only be described as pure agony. The sun began to set at eleven as it does in this part of the hemisphere, and as it set during our last 7 click pull to our campsite, it painted the sky all sorts of beautiful oranges, pinks and purples. Reflections of the clouds hitting the water during the final stretch made a brilliant array of colors. It was as if God reached down and painted it himself. As I stared at the sky, I forgot about all the headwinds, the rapids and the pain in my arms and I remembered the reasons why we come on these canoe trips. In these remote parts of the world – for scenes like that sunset. The last couple of klicks didn’t seem nearly as bad with the beautiful sky over our left shoulders to look back on, that seemed to get better with time. The canoe kissed the sandy beach of our campsite and we embedded our canoes, pitched our tents, cut firewood and made our dinner. The oranges changed to a rich crimson and then subtly migrated as the sun slowly dipped behind the tree line, taking with it one of the most pristine and perfect scenes I have ever seen in my life.
The Thrill of the Trail is as strong in the reaches of Canada as it is on the shores of Star Island on Cass Lake. Every boy will have the opportunity to taste the adventure of paddling a canoe, sleeping in a tent, watching the campfire, and exploring the nature around them with friends.
Get excited! It’s almost time for camp.