The action is ramping up as the first session crews prepare to depart. It seems like 24/7 there are frantic guides and participants running around basecamp making their last second preparations. And then there is the Halstrom/Lain crew, not in any real hurry to do anything. On Monday the 5th annual crew Olympics were held. The events were portaging canoes, paddling, setting tarps, and packing a kettle pack. Our boys did their best with the admittedly little training they had received from us, and I was very proud of their performance. I was pretty ashamed of their dancing skills but I guess those are nonessential.

At Tuesday's meeting we were finally able to distribute the personal gear that our guys ordered. I'd encourage them to look over the packing list and start compiling their gear. They won't officially need it until packing day and that wont be for a few weeks but it's always good to get an early start. Once again we went through our finalized route and found the UTMs(a global location system similar to longitude and latitude) for all of our campsites. These "campsites are of course not where we will actually camp on trail, but each location is a sort of goal and expectation of how far we travel every day. These coordinates will be given to all parents at the last supper so you'll have a rough idea of where we are in the world every day. The boys packed up some more food that was unavailable on food packing day. The first session crews have a nasty habit of stealing our food claiming priority because they leave in 5 days, whatever. Never fear, we'll get everything we need and then some for trail. As an end to our Tuesday meeting we did our longest canoe portage ever!! Three of the guys made it all the way to the highway from basecamp(a little over a mile), While the rest still set new personal bests. I was very proud of their determination and will in this challenge. 

On Wednesday we gave the guys a break from portaging and instead worked to fill all of our spice bins for the trip. After that we spent more time working on our tarp setting and knot tying skills. Some of the guys still need some instruction with the knots but we've been seeing some tremendous progress. After that we helped to get all of the canoes that the first session crews will be taking ready for trail. This means outfitting them with new knee pads, portage pads, PFD holders, fishing rod bungees, and paddle straps, as well as checking for any dysfunctional parts. It seems a tedious and thankless job but its vitally important to have perfectly functioning canoes on trail.

Looking forward, we've decided to turn our meeting on Saturday into a longer meeting culminating in a sleepover at basecamp. TBD if we will be sleeping in tents or basecamp itself. Regardless the guys should bring out sleeping bags and overnight stuff. The ladies of the Lain crew may be joining us for our crew date, as established on jerky day. Hopefully we will be able to paddle and have a bonfire with them(don't worry, the sleeping will be separate and chaperoned). Dinner will be provided. Sunday is the Last Supper and departure for the first session crews. Of course attendance is not mandatory for our guys but they are more than welcome to come out to Warner Lake Park to say goodbye to their friends and get a taste of what our own ceremony will be like. I believe the festivities start at 1 and the send off will happen in the late afternoon. Also next Tuesday is our baking day. This is one of our most important preparation days and we'll need all hands on deck. More information to follow.