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!!