My fellow students and I started our Outtatown adventure with a three night canoe trip with Manitoba Pioneer Camp on Shoal Lake, located just past the Ontario border. Fortunately we all arrived back to camp safe and sound with only some sore arms, a slight chill and heads full of unwashed, greasy hair.
On Monday afternoon, we began our paddling adventure, stopping each evening at a new island to set up camp and cook supper over an open fire. Having only met each other the day before, this canoe trip helped us get to know each other, breaking down barriers instantly.
Over the four days, we experienced a range of conditions from glass-like water, to billowing waves that threatened to tip our canoes. We had days we could paddle in a T-shirt, and others when we needed every jacket we packed.
Being split into two groups, our experiences were very different. My group was given the opportunity to explore some old mines and do some hiking. The other group got to experience portaging. They carried everything they had 500 meters across an island.
Both groups, although separated and sent on different routes, had many positive stories and experiences to share.
Something about peeing in the woods together, sleeping shoulder to shoulder in cramped tents, and seeing each other after four days without a shower bonds people together very quickly. Although we hadn’t known each other long, we overcame challenges and faced fears together as a team. It’s not easy getting into a canoe for the first time(way to go, Hunter!), or getting thrown into a group of 30 people you’ve never met before(way to go, all of us!), but we’ve all come out of it with stronger character and friendships. As scary as that first day was for all of us, we’re glad we made the decision to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.