The theme of our last few meetings has been paddle, paddle, paddle! This is one of the more important skills we will learn before trail, and the more practice we get the better. We’ve had a grand old time getting out on the water and practicing the new strokes. Saturday night marked our first official paddle – after attempting to make a straight line across the river and under a bridge we came upon a nice calm bay. We spent some time here learning how to turn the boats, travel sideways, and propel ourselves forward in a nice, straight line! I was duly impressed with how well everyone caught on to the strokes. Though we can all agree that the J-stroke is a little difficult, especially at first, I’ve seen great progress. Being able to turn the canoe in flat water is an awesome start!

Our Sunday morning paddle took place on a lovely calm morning, complete with geese, ducks, and a plethora of jumping fish. We traveled a little further this time and found another bay and a few islands. It’s great to be able to explore, and as we become more comfortable with our strokes we will go farther and farther! We have another optional paddle tonight, and we will get more practice and possibly learn how to rescue tipped canoes.

In addition to paddling, we also finished up our route plan and practiced setting up our tents. We will be meeting with Fred on Thursday to talk over our route and see what advice he has for us. After this, we submit it and are officially finished with our plan! It’s really exciting to have our trip planned and picture ourselves at the various locations. It’s hard to believe that in a little under 3 weeks we will be embarking on our journey. We’ll have a busy few weeks up until we leave, but hang in there everyone!