Wow have the past few weeks been hectic. Sorry for the delay in blog posts but this one should get us all caught up. Our dehydrator has been set up!! This is a huge step in our pre-trip preparation process. Thanks again to the Lenzen's for allowing us to use their garage space. Our boys have been checking the food routinely and sometimes at odd hours. So far we've burned our way through pineapple, applesauce, vegetables, and beef jerky. More on that later.
We have our route finalized!! Both Brady and I are extremely excited for it. There will be some challenging parts and some easier ones. The boys have taken us North out of Lake McCusker down the Keeper River. We will resupply halfway through in the First Nation village of Pauingassi on Fishing Lake. The second half of our trip will largely follow the Pigeon River west from Family Lake to our end point on Lake Winnipeg.
Our busy week kicked off on Tuesday with Beef Jerky day. Our jerky is a vital piece of our diet on trail as we will be eating it every day for lunch! The guys got started at 8am trimming the fat of of sliced of beef and cutting it into thin strips to be marinaded. We made it through the day with a few grumbles but thankfully no bloody fingers. The jerky was then dehydrated and bagged as mentioned before. Thanks to the Lenzens again for providing the lunch.
Wednesday was an unplanned busy day as we scheduled a last moment trip to Savers and the Boot Shack. Savers was primarily to get our outfits for food packing day, but some guys also picked up some of their trail clothes. At the Boot Shack we got our leather boots which we will be wearing every day on trail. The boots will still need to be oiled but only after we break them in a little. Wednesday night Brady and I got to meet our newest crew member Khalid.
The rest of the boys met Khalid the next day at Food Packing. Again we got started at 8am bagging all of our non-dehydrated food for trail. We were looking great and feeling great in our pink outfits. The guys went until 3 or 4 bagging everything from spaghetti to granola, powdered eggs to brownie mix, and mangos to toilet paper. This is one of our most vitally important days of the year and our food manager Talon did a great job running the show. If were missing any of our food in trail its his fault. I was very proud of the way our guys handled themselves. Thanks to the the Schriefels' for the lunch on Thursday.
Between Friday and Saturday we managed to get everyone our for our first real day on the water. Just over the course of the hours we were out there everyone's paddle strokes improved immensely. Paddling is the most important skill that we teach and we were very pleased with the boys' first efforts. I can't wait to see how they progress with more practice. In addition to our powerstrokes, j-strokes, and draws, we took advantage of the how weather by getting in the water and practicing t-rescues. A method of righting a capsized boat in the water. The guys on Saturday also had some fun swimming around the dock. We also got in more practice with flipping, portaging, and tarp setting. Every time we portage from now on we push the guys a little bit farther and I've been impressed with the resolve and toughness I've seen from them.
Looking forward we have very few new skills to teach, it comes down to perfecting our skills that we do have. On Monday the fifth annual crew olympics will be held at basecamp. This is a chance for our guys to show off their abilities in paddling, portaging, tarp setting, and pack packing against other crews. Just 33 days until we leave and I couldn't be happier with the progress we're making as a crew.