Getting Our Feet Wet

The Rau/Fritz Crew has been busy learning several new skills and improving on skills we already know. The guys had a meeting last Friday and the guys did their first portage to the tennis courts on Pine Point, which is a little under a half of mile down the road. We portaged in groups of two and one person portaged to the tennis courts, while the other one portaged back to basecamp. After we got a nice portage out of the way, we headed out to the dock to hit the water for the first time. Taylor and I taught the guys the power stroke, J stroke, C stroke, and draws. We all were partnered up with each other and headed out on the Mississippi. The guys did a really good job for their first time on the water. Taylor and I hope to get the guys out on the water as much as possible until we leave. It is a skill that will get better the more we do it. Before we headed back into basecamp I tipped my canoe, so Taylor and Cole could show everyone how to properly perform a T-rescue. A T-rescue is used to properly flip a swamped canoe in open water. The guys will be practicing those more as we paddle more. 

Once we got to basecamp Taylor and I quick showed the guys two new knots. We taught them the double half hitch, and the taut line. We also showed the guys how to coil the rope up so the rope doesn't get tangled in our packs. The guys will also be working on knots and coiling quite a bit more before leaving on trail.

Contact us with any questions!

Taylor and Zach

Food and Lodging

Last night we had our second meeting as a crew, and our first meeting with everyone there! Zach and I started it off by explaining how the menu works, and how much of each meals we will need. We named Cole as our food manager which means his responsibilities will include making sure we have enough meals on trail, keeping track of what we have on food packing day, and keeping the food we have under inventory, each member of the crew will be assigned a job prior to us leaving. We also learned that we will be celebrating not one, not two, but three birthdays on trail! Nate, Cole and Zach all have their birthday's on trail. Nate and Cole got to choose one cake for their own birthdays and Zach let the guys decide for him. All of the guys worked together to decide what we will bring and won't bring for food. Some foods the guys had to discuss and compromise over, I thought that was really cool to watch how they decided. While the guys worked on the menu Zach and I took down their T-shirt and PFD (personal floatation device) sizes. After we finished off the menu, we began our route planning. To do this we had the boys put the maps together using the trick we showed them in the last meeting, and then showed them where we will start, Lake Mckusker, and where we need to be by our halfway point for resupply, Lake Sasaginnigak. We hoped to plan the first half of our voyage but didn't quite get there due to time constraints. The guys did a good job listening to each other and compromising on what everyone wants rather than what one person wants. We planned our first 4 days so far and I think everyone is happy with the route we have so far. It's really great to see these guys work together for the crew objectives and not being selfish in their decision making. Zach and I are really excited to see these guys grow more and become closer as a group along the way to trail and on trail. 

The Start of Something New

What a day for the Rau/Fritz crew. Today was the first meeting the guys had as a crew out at basecamp. We all met at the McDonald's in Sartell so we could all drive out to basecamp together to reduce the amount of cars our crew brings to basecamp. 

We began the meeting with a brief walk around/in basecamp to go over where everything is and what everything's purpose is at basecamp. The tour of basecamp was quick, so we ended the tour of basecamp at the canoe rack where we did our first day of canoe flipping. The guys did an awesome job!! Everyone of the guys was able to flip the canoe up on their first try-that is a huge accomplishment! We started off the canoe flipping lesson with naming some of the parts of the canoe such as the Yoke, Thwarts, gunwales, bow, and stern. We will begin to use these canoe terms and refresh them, as well as others as we begin having more meetings. Taylor walked us how to flip the canoe and demonstrated it so the guys could see what the final product would look like. Taylor and I broke the flip up into several small steps, while having all of the guys perform each of the small steps before moving onto the next one. Certain steps in the process seemed to be more challenging than others, but they were able to push through them and get it done.The hardest part for most people flipping the canoe seems to be the step of actually flipping the canoe onto the shoulders, but the guys did an amazing job at that. It was awesome seeing the enthusiasm and encouragement among the guys throughout the process. We will try and do canoe flipping as much as we can at each meeting to help the guys master the skill before trail. We will also begin our portages, or walking with the canoe down the road in the next couple meetings. 

We finished out the meeting with a fun map activity. Taylor and I gave the guys a stack of maps and asked them to get them set up in the correct way for us to start looking at our route. There were about 15 different maps that needed to be puzzled together, but the guys eventually got them all figured out......However, It took them much longer than they had expected. The guys did their best to align the maps by using longitude and latitude lines, as well as matching rivers and lakes. This method proved to work, but there is a method of reading the number/map key in the lower right corner of the map to see where it belongs in relation to the other maps. Taylor and I knew the problem as they began, but wanted to see them work through the problem and didn't bring up the easier way of setting up the maps until after they had been completed. It was a great learning experience for the guys. After the maps had been set up, we looked at where we will begin our expedition, where we will get our re-supply half way through, and where we will finish. The guys all seemed to be super excited about doing the Beren's River to end our trip in Lake Winnipeg. Taylor and I were super proud of how the guys did today in our first meeting. Can't wait to continuously see the progress in the guys leading up to the trip. 

Feel free to contact Taylor or myself if you have any questions at any time!

Taylor and Zach

Countdown: 58 Days!!