This past May long weekend I had the stupendous pleasure of assisting Jake and Kylie, along with two other mommy escorts and 17 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 from the Timberline Outdoor Club or (if you are really with it, you call it the ODC), on an adventure to the far reaches of the Village Bay Canoe Route. And what an adventure it was.
First of all, let me tell you - 17 teenagers - you would think that would be a real challenge. Not even a little bit, well maybe a little challenging for us old folks to keep up with all that energy - the kids were fabulous. As you may witness from the pictures there was much laughter, all smiles and absolutely no problems; well bar the almost incessant torrential down pour which started the evening of the second day.
The rain did not stop the jovial atmosphere from spiraling into periodic fits of laughter, games of merriment and overall fun from the time we were awaken at the wee hours of the morning, with a gentle tap of a clanging pans at the cookhouse and the whisper of good morning at our tent doorway.
First day started with a meet at Timberline High school for the disbursements, a quick and rather cursory equipment check, then a race to catch the already overbooked Quadra Island ferry, which by some stroke of good luck we all managed to get on.
A 35 minute drive to Village Bay Lakes, the challenge of packing the canoes with copious amounts of gear, then a 1 and a half hour paddle to our destination campsite all the while making sure we were beating the suns rapid decent in the sky, all without a hitch, well a few small hitches but what can you expect?
Then our camp set up, which included selection of numerous tenting sites, outhouse redesign, camp kitchen set up, dinner and the sermon on the mound from the commanders, which is kinda weird for me because our illustrious leaders were old enough to be my children.
That evening was a short one because we landed in camp quite late, so an early bedtime was the order of the day for most of us.
The meals themselves were a bewildered sight for even the most ambitious gourmand, with plate after plate of the most delicious and creative delicacies you will ever manage not to burn on a campfire or camp stove.
Being woken up early to the clamor of pots and pans, or really the truth is, the purposeful banging of pots and pans emanating from the pseudo kitchen. With a high pitched up and atter ringing in the back of our foggy not really awake minds. A quick breakfast of pancakes that looked a lot more like mashed potatoes, a quickly packed and not so nutritious lunch, then a paddling lesson from Jake and Kylie.
Being a search and rescue tech and a river guide Jake's canoe instruction was thorough and rigorous, the practice paddle encompassed an obstacle course and a close eye from both our leaders, along with a few surprise challenges along the way.
It was a gorgeous day; so much so, that the threat of sunburn loomed as the fireball that brightened our sky was more intense than we have seen it since last summer, our destination for the day Little Main Lake, or Little Africa as it was nicknamed.
We never really got to see what little Africa looked like because the narrow channel that was required to navigate was deep but rendered impassible, due to a log jam that was just too dangerous to go over; but no problem, we found a great place to relax, have some lunch and enjoy one of the most pleasant sunny days we have had so far this year.
A couple of the crazier kids even went swimming, you gotta be nuts for that; Tori-Lynn and Ben. I could hardly put my hands in that water for very long, let along dive in like they did.
On the leisurely paddle back to camp that afternoon, a few of the boys dropped a fishing line in the water and came up with a nice sized trout right away. We were also graced with an aerial display put on by a pair of Bald Eagles, I am not sure what they were diving for, but the Eagles were very close and it took them several passes to accomplish their goal, but they did manage to catch whatever it was they were after.
That night all the gourmet food came out, the kitchen was full of clamor as the preparations for dinner began, when appetites were satisfied, the guitar cord was strung, which started a string of chorus and merriment, with some really bad singing that lasted until it was pitch dark and voices began to waver from a long day of good clean exercise and fresh air.
The next morning we woke to the sound of drizzling rain on the tent roof, and the conspicuous absence of a wake-up call. Because of the intermittent torrential downpour that ensued, there was no scheduled activity, so many of us just spend the day playing cards or reading in camp while others ventured (in teams) to the waterfall near the trail head of Yetmen Bay, where they made mud packs for their faces (in order to improve their complexions I think or just so that they could take funny pictures).
When the kids returned to camp they brought back some clay to create face masks to try on the leaders, who were very good sports about it and admitted that it really did feel good after all. Another evening of high spirits, although this time under the much needed protection of two enormous tarps, a rather crowded space, but none the less, workable, but a lot of "excuse me, excuse me" going on as everyone worked around each other.
The next morning we were scheduled to leave, so it was a scramble to eat as much of the left-over food as possible. I personally ate Lisa's previous night's leftover stew for breakfast and it was great, then the packing of all that soaking wet gear, loaded canoes and an extremely wet paddle back to the cars.
Overall the weekend was an enormous success. MOOSE TO YOU ALL.
We are sorry that you could not be with us; Steve Joyce your influence and leadership was with us every minute of every day, we thank you for a great weekend and I personally thank you for the numerous hours of extracurricular time you and your fellow teachers spend with these kids.
You and your fellow comrades have been an enormous positive influence on them and have helped meld them into the well rounded human beings we are sending out into the real world. I suspect that you are probably correcting my grammar as you read.
Riley's sail boat.
Tori for leading the singing parade, her mud faces and rallying power
Lisa for her endless supply of pre-made food
Jennifer for her coffee and hazelnut chemical cream substitute
Megan and Laura for learning to paddle their canoe in a straight line
Jenna for keeping Ben and Dave organized and constantly correcting their card playing
Ben and Dave for letting Jenna boss them around and their guitar playing
Alexis for putting up with me on the canoe trip back
Sr. Lancelot for losing to me at crib over and over again
Kayla for keeping her boys in check
Lindsey for joining us the second day
Tori-Lynn and Danielle for just being crazy
Evan for being the one to help us all if we were ever to find out we were robots
Hunter for always being the first person to help, set up the tarps, build the fire and fix the flat tire.
Kylie for letting us sleep in, she didn't wake us up at 4:30 when she got up herself and of course her MOOSE CALLS
Deiter, well we are not quite sure what he did but he was a great paddling partner and we were glad he was there
Haven and his mom for the brownies, chocolate cake and cinnamon buns, even though I didn't get any.
Jake for everything including bossing me around a few times
And last but not least Lucy for bringing some beauty into our lives. By the way kids from what I have read, it is very likely that Lucy had babies close by, even though it is also very likely Lucy was a boy.
And everyone for doing as they were told, keeping the peace with one another, leaving the campsite in better shape than when we arrived and unconditionally helping each other when the need arose.
Lucy is a sapsucker
The Sapsuckers form the genus Sphyrapicus within the woodpecker family Picidae. All are found in North America.
As their name implies, sapsuckers feed primarily on the sap of trees moving among different tree and shrub species on a seasonal basis. Insects, especially those attracted to the sweet sap exuding from sap holes, are often captured and fed to the young during the breeding season. The most easily recognized sap holes are found in birch trees during the breeding season.
The members of this genus are slender birds with stiff tails and relatively long wings. Their typical pattern in flight is undulating, alternating between quick bursts of wing beats and short dips with wings tucked against the body.
Because sapsuckers attack living trees, they are often considered a pest species.
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