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Langskib Coulonge River – Day 9

We woke up and paddled a few clicks or so to eat breakfast. While eating we saw a muskrat and an osprey. We paddled through a shallow creek, did a little portage and a lift over. While paddling through the creek we say a big momma moose and it’s son or daughter (no one was sure). After the creek we applied some man juice—we paddled, did a portage and afterwards had some good old beans and bannock. We then paddled with a very relaxing tail wind and sailed about five kilometers. We did a portage, then another, then we carried over into the Coulonge River, yeah buddy! We paddled about a kilometer and arrived at camp. We are now reading Endurance. Most are anticipating the adventure the river will bring and some just want to go to sleep. Personally, I am feeling both. I hope all goes well on the river.

– Dylan, age 15

Northwaters Makobe River (all girls) – Day 15

We busted through 3 ‘tages today with no problems. By the way Carster and Liv made yummy muffins for breakfast. The sun shined all day today. We saw lots of other people, but we were the most hard core. Everyone got really cracked out (even without juice crystals). It was hilarious! The stars are out tonight and the moon is glowing golden. We had chocolate cake for dessert and then Ashley, Jen, Fern, and Izzy played the laughing game. Now we’re all lying in our sleeping bags and everyone has very itchy legs. Itchy….scratch….scratch. I’m so tired. Oh now Ashley is reading her funny quotes again. This feels like it has gone on forever, but not a bad forever. I mean it feels normal. I can’t believe we’ve been out here this long, but even more unbelievable, I think is the fact that we’ll be back at basecamp in a few days. I’m too tired and Ashley is too amusing!

– Choloe, age 15

Langskib Bay Trip – Day 12

Today we left the river. After many rapids and swifts we reached the point where we now sit; a small camp surrounded by the Harricana, swelled by high tide. As we paddled today with a glorious tail wind under a ferocious sun, the bay taunted us with scents of ocean. We saw a black bear cross a shallow part of the river in front of us. I know I’ll remember it’s loping stride for a long time. Just seeing its power and determination was amazing. We also spotted several eagles—very reminiscent of Native American paintings. The bay awaits. With tobacco we gave an offering of thanks to the river for our safe passage. I asked for a safe bay crossing. Something this powerful should not be provoked.

– Alex, age 17

Northwaters Coulonge River – Collective Thoughts

Within a canoe trip there is a lot of learning that runs deeper than the techniques and routines we set for ourselves. The deeper learnings are focused inwards and help us fuel our souls and understand ourselves better. The rewards of such learnings are great- if we have the courage to accept them into our lives. We learned the importance of being ourselves as well as being true to ourselves and to each other. We learned about the value of rigor and risk. We learned how to open our minds, to voice our weaknesses, and to allow others to help us. We learned that we don’t have to be perfect, but always to strive for excellence. We learned to appreciate the small things and beauties. We learned how to celebrate life through laughter and struggle and pain.

– Oriane, Tanguy, Annie, Remi, Andrew, Julia, Laurence, Graham, ages 15 to 17

Langskib Lost Lakes – Day 16

Today we woke up on Obabika Lake. We had a really good baked breakfast before hiking up to Conjuring Rock (Bob Lake). Up on the higher trail, we stopped and did a medicine wheel circle. I felt really really empowered, glad and many other things I have a hard time expressing—by the way, every single guy opened up and spoke from his heart to everyone; without hesitation what so ever. Later that day at lunch, Jake caught a small mouth bass. She was pregnant so we let her go. We did a portage today that was so flat and smooth you could almost run with a wannagan all day—it went from Obabika Lake to Obabika Inlet. The sunset tonight was spectacular. We had an amazing dinner tonight; extra-cheesy tuna glop, tomato and penne soup and date bars. I am now very full and very content.

– Stuart, age 14

Northwaters Dumoine River Trip, Collective thoughts

We began, paddling, portaging our way to the Dumoine River. To begin a journey within ourselves, with each other. Why are we here? What does it mean to begin…

Everyday when I wake up I begin again. Whatever happened yesterday doesn’t matter, each new day is a fresh stars. So I begin each day by waking up and just trying to make each day complete. – Alex G.

I am here because I want to forget some things but also I want to get a lot of stuff clear in my head. I’m here to stay away from my usual life and try something totally different. – Bernardo

I begin at my first discovery. I don’t know what it was, but then I started making sense for myself and the first time I found I fitted a piece of the puzzle, the start of me is at the heart of my mind. – Alex P-L

For me there is no beginning, nor end, I am a working progress to nothing but happiness, but that isn’t the beginning or the end for me. It’s the journey that I’m on. I’m here because I made a decision. – Carly

I’m here to truly challenge myself. – Sarah

I begin in my head. I begin in the thoughts about the places and people I haven’t seen. There is so much more to learn and know and experience,

I’m here to sort things out in my own head and outside it. – Tzega

I think I begin in my fingertips. They are the ones who touch everything; they bring all my emotions into my body, making my decisions and teaching me all they can. I’m here to learn from the world, its people, and its creations. – Liana

I begin in my soul, because that’s the meaning of my whole existence.

– Bernardo

I begin outside the firelight. I begin behind the stars. I begin alone. I begin in a womb of water waiting for the tide, for a full moon to pull me to the land where I am wanted and needed. I begin where someone ends. I begin because I have to. I begin as a friend. – Claire

I am here because I remember how good it feels when I leave and the connections I make – Alex G.

I begin in a loving and caring family where I am supported in everything I do. They are the rock, my hard place, and the one true constant that I can always depend on. I come from a place of compassion and love; and with this I can do anything. I begin my relationships with trust and honesty. I want to connect with people and I want to get to know them on a deeper level. It is so important for me to do this. – Colby

I’m here because I love this, I begin at the beginning. Start where my body tells me. – Mollie

Northwaters Sturgeon River Trip, Collective thoughts

We grew, muscle-by-muscle, paddle stroke upon paddle stroke. We were women, no longer afraid of the river or the land.

I used to lack confidence. – Judith

I used to be afraid. – Lily

I used to be uncomfortable. – Claire

I used to be uncomfortable with myself. – Isabel

I used to be timid and shy. – Mandy

I used to be mean to other people. – Natalie

I used to lie. – Emily

I used to believe in everything. – Sam

We made promises, to face the obstacles in our paths: friends and family, fears real and imagined; those things that keep us from being the best of who we are. We promised to let go of the past, to commit to the future. We promised to meet our goals, be ourselves. We promised, I promise…

To live everyday to the fullest. – Sam

To try my best. – Isabel

To give and give and give. – Claire

To have a fun time. – Natalie

To be true to my friends. – Judith

To keep going. – Mandy

To live forever as much as I can. – Lily

To be good to myself. – Emily