On Sunday we kicked off the day with a portage. Canoe flipping the very first time was no walk in the park, but one week later when we tried it again, all of the girls were able to get it up on not just their right side, but their left side too! Awesome job ladies! Over time as the girls get even better at this, the spotters on each end of the canoe will not even have to touch the canoe. They won't need them anymore!
Now on our 3rd meeting flipping up, we went on a portage. The goal was simply to "go as far as you think you can go." Our bodies are capable of so much more than we realize. That is the beauty of portaging. What makes an individual a good portager is not necessarily physical strength, but rather, mental strength. If the girls can break through these mental barriers, they will be absolutely amazed by what they can accomplish. —"Because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion."
After our portage we reviewed our knots and then did a team building activity. I gave the girls eight rolls of parachute cord (known as P-cord) and told them to tie all of them between two trees, with all bowlines tied on one and all cinching knots on the other. From there, we adjusted the heights and angles of all of the cord until it looked like a spider web. Next, the challenge was to get every girl through each of the holes in the spider web without touching the web. Some of the holes were higher up and the crew had to hoist each girl up and pass her through to the other side. We had some good laughs during this activity! Haha
Before we knew it, it was lunchtime! We got to break out the stoves and learn how to hook them up to our fuel bottles, light them, and adjust the heat of the flame. The girls filled up our cooking pots with water from the river. Once they made it to a rolling boil, we made macaroni noodles with Alfredo sauce and tuna, plus our magic ingredient — trio cheese! Then Lauren started up our second stove to make our baked beans — a fan favorite that day — for the side dish. We found that if there is too much water in the pot, adding cream soup base helps to thicken it up. We were all stuffed and we didn't even cook the full bag of noodles! No trail stomachs yet! Haha
To finish off our meeting, we learned paddling strokes. The job of the person in bow is to provide the power. The job of the person in stern is to do the steering. Bow can use the power stroke and the draw (as well as the cross-draw, which they will learn soon), and the stern uses these strokes, as well as the j-stroke, c-stroke, and pry. All but the power stroke are corrective strokes. The main pieces to remember when paddling are: 1) keep your bottom arm straight 2) Lean forward with every stroke, and pull back using your core so your arms don't get tired 3) Practice makes perfect!
Once we'd learned the strokes, one by one we jumped in the stern of the canoe while I held on to the bow and they got to see how the strokes feel when they're in the water. I can't wait til Saturday when we can get on the water to paddle for real!
P.S. 17 days until we leave for trail!!! The countdown is on!