Now that the majority of the Voyageur participants are done with school, things are picking up around basecamp! Each day, there are often many crews, learning and improving many different things and skills needed for trail! As for the Fritz/ Wensman Crew, we have been busy learning new skills also! 

One of the things that the crew has been able to do within the last two meetings was get out on the river and practice our paddle strokes in live action in canoes!! :D Although much different than just practicing the strokes on land which we had done at a previous meeting, the girls are catching on to the paddle strokes while actually paddling a canoe in the water, quickly. Soon the girls will feel extremely comfortable with them; this is essential as it is something we will do everyday up in Canada! Paddling is something that we will continue to do at meetings quite often in preparation for our trip. Soon we will be able to go on longer paddles as an entire crew, and will even get to learn some fun canoe games! :D

Two other skills that will be used up in Canada everyday are portaging and knot tying. We have began many of our meetings with portaging as far as the girls can go in order to get their body more comfortable with carrying a heavy canoe on their shoulders in preparation for our longer portages on trail. With each meeting, Kenna and I are thrilled to have seen and continue to see the improvement each girl makes in their ability to go further and show more confidence in portaging. Additionally, we have spent a lot of time learning and reviewing different types of knots. Each not has a specific purpose in the Voyageur world, so it is essential that all the girls are comfortable and able to do all of them. This is also a skill that we have seen improvement in and are confident the girls are able to do all the knots we have taught them correctly and know their purpose!

Additionally, at our meeting yesterday we were able to learn how to properly pack a pack! Packing our packs properly is essential as we have lots of equipment, with limited space. The pack that we practiced packing is called the "Kettle Pack." This pack contains many things that we will need such as our pots and pans, saws, fuel bottles and stoves, tarps, ropes, cooking utensils, buckets and sinks for water, repair kits and much more! Because of how much equipment we have to pack in there, it is essential that the Kettle Pack is packed methodically in order to fit everything in it, but still be neat and organized. In addition to packing the Kettle Pack, the girls will soon need to use their methodical packing skills to pack the food packs and personal packs in order to fit everything in them. 

Finally, one last thing that we were able to begin within the last two meetings was dehydrating. Thanks to the Deal- Hansen's we have a perfect dehydrating site where the girls will spend a lot of time dehydrating and bagging our food from now until we depart! As a crew, we went over to the dehydrating site and were able to show them the ropes of how the dehydrating process works. The first thing that we are starting with is peaches. As a crew, we drained the peaches, dried them off a bit, cut them into smaller pieces, and then placed them on racks and into the dehydrator they went! Once the peaches are done, the next few foods they will dehydrate will be pears and pineapple. Because the food is done on the dehydrator at a certain time, the girls will be going to the dehydrator site at all times of the day and night to ensure that the food is on and off when it needs to be! The dehydrating process will continue from now until a little before we leave, and the girls will dehydrate several different fruits, vegetables, meatballs and beef jerky!!

As the days count down until we depart, the girls will become more busy with Voyaguers to ensure that we are prepared for our trip! Kenna and I appreciate the time we get to spend with your girls, and are so excited to watch them continue to grow and learn both before trail and while we are up in Canada! 

Only 37 DAYS until we depart!!! :D

Excitedly,

McKenna and Mackenzie