The whole crew spent Friday and Saturday morning at basecamp for our crews basecamp sleepover. We started off the meeting Friday by setting up the maps in the meeting room. The guys were able to set up the maps way faster than the meeting before. The guys also learned the trick for how to set up the maps quicker by using the square map key in the lower right corners of the maps. Once the guys were able to get all the maps set up, we began drawing out our route on our maps. It looks like the guys were able to get quite the variety of things within their route such as fishing, cliff jumping, pictographs, whitewater, and big named portages. It will be exciting for everyone to see what the route actually is like once we are up there. We plan on starting at Wallace Lake, resupplying food/care package letters on Lake Sasiginnigak, and finish on McCusker Lake. Gavin was assigned to being our crew maps manager. He was in charge of drawing out the route and making sure everyone was having a say in where we are going. He will also be in charge of putting in our campsite UTM's into the computer before we leave. 

Once our route was finished, everyone was starting to get pretty hungry so we headed down to the river to have a bonfire. We started a fire and began making our hot dogs and smores on the fire. We also started up a stove, so we could make hot chocolate to go along with the food. We had a good time talking to each other around the fire and learning everyones favorite tv shows/music. The food had no chance with the crew and it was eaten pretty quickly, so some of the guys decided to take a swim in the river and warm up by the fire before we headed back up to basecamp. Before we headed into the meeting room to get ready for bed, I taught the guys a fun trick for if you ever forget to bring a toothbrush anywhere. The trick was to use charcoal as your toothpaste and clean your teeth using that. This was a super funny moment for the crew to laugh at everyones ridiculously black teeth/mouths (check crew photos for more). This was a good way to lighten the mood before bed. We rinsed out our mouth's and headed into the meeting room where we stayed up a little later talking with one another before bed. 

Saturday morning was an early, but gorgeous morning. The crew got up at 6am for our first paddle on the Mississippi River. The guys seemed to struggle to get out of bed, so I'm curious to see how that will go on trail;) Everyone grabbed a life jacket and paddle and we headed down to the canoes to portage them down to the dock for loading. I showed the guys how/ the purpose of each stroke. We learned the power stroke, J stroke, and draws. Everyone was paired up the night before, so we headed out onto the water to practice paddling in straight lines around the river. I alternated boats so I could help everyone with their J stroke and paddling Stern. This typically seems to be the hardest part of paddling for most people, but with some more practice the guys will be pros. The guys seemed to be able to paddle in some pretty good straight lines by the end of the meeting. I was impressed! We will be trying to get on the water as much as possible between now and the time we leave. Before we left the water I had Jared and Blake tip their canoe, so Devon and I could demonstrate how to properly perform a T rescue. A T rescue is a open water rescue that allows one boat to re-flip the capsized canoe over. The guys were successfully rescued and everyone portaged the canoes from the dock back to the canoe rack. 

The guys successfully finished their routes and first time on the water paddling. There will be plenty of paddling before leaving, so I'm excited to see the progress before trail. Blake will be in charge of setting up our next meeting where we will work on setting up tarps, tents and getting the dehydrating process going. 

Zach 

Countdown: 21 Days!!!