MISSISSAGI RIVER ADVENTURE
BY HAORAN SUN August 3, 2008
Canoeing down the mighty Mississagi River was an exhilarating adventure. While it was supposed to be a simple 21 day camping trip, it tested me beyond anything I have ever done before. After we arrived at our starting point, we were overwhelmed by pouring rain and swarming bugs. We were unfamiliar with how to build our own fire, cook our own food and set our own tents. The instructors explained everything once so anything we missed we'd have to ask our new teammates. We became nomads, constantly traveling and never staying in one place for more than a night. This new world we entered was nothing like the world we had back home. The first few days were filled with learning and coping.
The thing that kept us going was the canoeing we did everyday. Whether rain or shine, it was so much more peaceful and relaxing compared to the busyness of daily camp life. But canoeing was only one of two ways we used to travel during this trip. When we had to get pass rapids or go from lake to lake, we had to do a portage, which was to carry all of our equipment from one place to another. But the packs were heavy and the metal canoes were impossible to do alone. This dreaded task also became the main building block of our teamwork. After a few trails, we learnt to work in pairs, helping lift packs to put on each others' shoulders. The people in front would graciously point out footholds or ways to get over fallen trees. Usually we had to make three or more trips, taking our packs and canoes, while only one trip would tire us out. Even when we passed our physical limits, we knew that we had to keep going and there was no one else that would do it for us. So we clapped each other on the back, and lifted the canoes over our shoulders again.
Eventually, the routine dug itself into our minds. Everyone pitched in with the camp chores and they became easier. We were proficient in setting up and taking down tents and...