The following is a reflection of the 1st ever Adult Trekkers Expedition at Chet’s Camps in the Grandlakes region.
Sat Oct 08, 2005 Day One
Today is the day we are leaving for the 1st ever adult trekkers trip. We met at gvhs at 7:00 a.m.. It was exciting to know we were going to be able to experience what our children have experienced, what we, as the parents, have heard so much about, as well as the fact, that no adults (other than don, jack, and chaperones) have ever done before, “ride the one and only trekkers bus!!” we loaded our backpacks, and duffle bags aboard the bus, said good-bye to our family, and were off. We were priviledged with reading the sacred journals written by the kids from many years of journeys, truly amazing the impact these trips have on these kids. It was about 4 hours before we arrived at chet’s camps. Our 1st question to each other and one we had asked our kids before we left was “will don really have us do all the hiking, canoeing, and kayaking if it is raining?” the kids replied w/ a laugh, “oh yeah”!! Guess what is was raining, not a light rain, but raining raining. We met al & sue laplante (owners), and settled into our comfy cozy cabins and lodge. Then don appeared, we were going hiking. We put on our rain gear and set out for the hike. We went along a river and through woods, saw flyfishermen & women, beaver dams, and just the beauty of nature. We learned alot from al, our guide, about the area, and survival in the woods. It was fun, all of us in our rain gear, walking, talking, and exploring.
Then we all went back to chet’s camp and loaded our wet clothing in the dryer, yes we had a dryer, and got comfy, cozy, and warm in the lodge, in front of, yes, the fireplace. It was such an awesome atmosphere, all gathering for dinner, and the fireplace and table talks. After dinner, the big game of turbo cranium, (the kids know this game), we had so much fun, laughing, being a kid again, and the memories and jokes playing the game we will all remember. A perfect end to an eventful day.
Sun Oct 09, 2005 Day Two
We awoke to jack’s bugle, better than an alarm clock. Tom took a swim in the lake, brave soul. We gathered for breakfast, and learned don’s plans for that day, a canoe trip. Also known by those who were there as “the extreme canoe trip”. It was of course still raining. We, again, got on our rain gear and loaded up to head for our destination. Some of us had never been on a canoe trip, so that made it more interesting and exciting. We paired off into our canoes and set out on the huge lake. It was windy and raining, but tolerable. As we paddled along, we took in the beautiful landscape of the lake, we saw more beaver dams, a bunch of, we believe beaver poop, on a rock in the middle of the lake, which we named “poop rock”. As we went down this river off the lake, don yelled “look a moose”, we were so excited, everyone paddled like crazy to get to the moose before it left. The anticipation was great, and then there it was, a tree stump. “good job wilderness don”, it did look like one, i guess, from a distance. We fondly called this “the moose stump”. We then had a great laugh over that and headed back towards the main lake. There in the distance was the lake, are those white caps, and waves we asked each other, “oh yeah, and oh no”. Our plan was not to cross the lake, but to backtrack along the shore of the lake to get to our destination. Didn’t happen that way. The wind and current was so strong it pulled our canoes into the lake. We were, whether we wanted to or not, going across the lake. The 4 canoes (containing tom & laura, mary & craig, tammy & jack, and al & holly) were in the front. The other 2 canoes (containing don & shelly and trina & jill) were a little behind the others. The further into the lake we got the worse it got. We all were nervous, and some of us petrified. The rain felt like hail at times, wind blowing, waves, the current, and water coming into the canoes. The strength it took to paddle against the waves and wind to keep the canoe upright was very difficult, and exhausting. Even with the support of life jackets and fellow comrades it was a challenge some of us were not sure we could accomplish. The strength it took to paddle, some of us thought our arms would fall off. The 1st 4 canoes made it to an island 1/2 way from our destination to rest, and then set out to our original destination. The 2 other canoes eventually made it to the island to rest where al & holly were still waiting, then set out to meet up w/ the others. As the last 3 canoes struggled to make it to the beach, the cheers arrupted from the others who had allready made it. When we were all on land, there were hugs, thankfulness, and congratulations to each other for an accomplishment well done. We had been challenged and scared for ourselves and each other, but we did it, and that was an awesome gift and experience. “when you think you can’t do it…you can!” after reflecting on what we had just done, the adrenalin was sooo cool. Wish our kids could have seen us in action.
We then went back to the camp, dryed our clothes, again, got comfy and cozy, again, fireplace and table conversations, again, but with even more bonded relationships. We then had dinner, and a conversation about being parents today, and our concerns about issues that kids have to deal with. It was truly enlighting.
Then it was time for fun again!! We played scrabble, and al introduced us to the coin game, and electricity hand game (awesome games). We again, laughed till we hurt, and were so relaxed with each other, we had definately formed new relationships/friendships. Jack blew his goodnight bugle, and another perfect end to an eventful day. Pictures and more to come….
Mon Oct 10, 2005 Last Day
the last day, sad but true!! We gathered for breakfast, and during our morning conversations, learned of don’s tea bag dip, (as tom called it), in the lake, not as brave as tom’s don, but admirable as well. We then learned we had the choice of kayaking, a motor boat ride, or whatever. The “women gone wild group” (including jill, trina, sue, holly, shelly, and mary) went kayaking, don, tammy, craig, al, and jack went on the motor boat, and tom & laurie decided to grab a few moments alone (woo-woo) and go for a walk. Sue was awesome in teaching us the rules of kayaking, and we got to try out a lake kayak, as well as, a sea kayak. It was beautiful, peaceful, and so much fun. We talked, laughed, and felt so peaceful, and reflective on the entire weekend. We of course developed the group “women gone wild”. A group that entails all of us women, and the guys too, that have made a pact to challenge ourselves together to experience future endeavors. 1st to all buy kayaks, and then go on trips. Sue was an incredible teacher, as well as a sincere and fun part of our experience, and true member of wgw, she is a true outdoors woman.
We then had lunch, with the upside down pineapple cake cooked in the pit, a tradition, and soooo… Good. We then reflected on the trip w/ conversations, and don’s big survey. We all agreed this was a tremendous experience, and one that should continue.
We then had to pack to leave, a bittersweet task. We wanted to share with our family our new accomplishments and experiences, but truly were not ready to leave such a wonderful place yet. None of us were ready for everyday realty!!!!
We took our group photos, said good-bye to the camp and lake, as well as, sue & al (truly wonderful hosts and now friends), and loaded the bus for home. We waved to sue & dorothy(her mom) on the way out, stopped to take another group picture by chet’s camps sign, (which jill broke (ha-ha), and headed out for the ride home.
We were all talkative about the weekend, and also quitely reflective of the trip. Then jack pipes up, as we are going up a hill in the bus, “come on bessy give, baby’s gotta live”, then we all said it. Something the kids say on their trips, it does slow down alot going up hill, another cool experience.
We then arrived at gvhs, there were our families waiting for us, don, as we requested, made several trips around the parking lot honking the horn, true trekkers tradition you know.
We all unloaded the bus, feeling sad but happy, and truly blessed, and closer to our children for having had the experience. And an even greater belief in the trekkers program. Our children were so excited that we had had the same experience, and could share with them the trekkers inside traditions and activities.
For the next 2 weeks, we were all e-mailing each other, and missed the camp and each other. Only we new truly, what we had just experienced. We did have a reunion @ don’s, and again the feeling of true lasting relationships.
Having had this experience, helped us as individual people and as parents, become better people. To connect with our children better, and remember we as parents can not forget ourselves and our goals. If we are happy and healthy our children are as well.
P.s. on info. For women gone wild, and if you would like to participate call don or jill @ 594-5095 for info.