Posted by: csdailyblog | December 7, 2012

My paddle’s clean and bright flashing with silver

Mei-Jing

Mei-Jing

~This blog entry is brought to you from the electronic portfolio of CS5 student Mei-Jing Bernard. Conserve School electronic portfolios connect student experiences to the school’s 17 learning goals. Mei-Jing is from Atlanta, Georgia where she is homeschooled.~

This weekend, I went on a truly awesome canoeing journey with Jeff and eight others into Sylvania. The day dawned crisp and slightly chilly. We were all dressed up for a blustery overcast trip in our coats and mittens. Before we left, we had decided to start at Big Bateau Lake, portage over to Cub Lake, paddle across, and explore Deer Island. We set out in our canoes excited for the paddle across the lakes not knowing what lay ahead.

Early season ice

Early season ice

The paddle started out smoothly with Kaia in the stern steering, Maeve in the middle duffing, and I in the bow, the canoe trucking right along. Right as we set out, we passed a portion of Big Bateau that had frozen. We grouped at the edge of the sheet of ice and started banging on it with our paddles and throwing chunks from the water across the surface. It was a sparkling novelty at this point in our trip. We were excited that it had been cold enough for the lake to freeze and jokingly said it would be cool to paddle through some ice. Unbeknownst to us at the time, we would have to hack our way through half inch ice to get to the cove that contained our portage path to Cub Lake. Mattie and Jeff were the first canoe to test the ice at Big Bateau. It turned out that to break the sheet of ice; you had to bang your paddle all along the surface to create cracks that you could force the canoe through. Though it was relatively thin, the ice made loud crunching and scraping noises. We had to be careful when we whacked the ice because we didn’t want to break our paddles. We also were incredibly conscience of how much the canoes rocked because if one of us were to fall in it would be a very cold bath! Needless to say it was a pretty slow journey. By the time all of us had reached the portage route we were quite invigorated and very proud of ourselves. We emerged over the hill on the bank of Cub Lake only to see an almost completely frozen lake. By the time we had battled across Cub Lake, the shiny glass surface had been crunched into a million pieces. The sound of the crackling ice was music to my ears. This foreign music was something that I am quite un-used to hearing because down in Georgia we never have frozen lakes! In addition to the cracking ice, when you swung your paddle over across the water, the droplets of water hit the water was frozen balls of ice. This created hundreds of sparkling spots all over the surface of the water. This combined with the glassy ice, the water was an absolutely gorgeous sight.

They always say:

Big Bateau

Big Bateau

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” ~ Greg Anderson

I think that this quote applies to my expedition that day. The majority of the time, I find myself only focusing on the destination and rushing through the actual journey. The canoe trip into Sylvania with Jeff was a different story, and it reminded me that I need to pause more often and soak in the surrounding beauty along the way and not always focus on my destination. While I really enjoyed scouting around Deer Island, I would have to say the ice was my favorite part of the entire day. I believe that by being here at Conserve I have learned to make time to stop and absorb. Though our noisy battle through the ice was rough at some points it captured the sheer beauty of the beaming smiles, the laughs that rang across the lakes, and the crystal clear fracturing of the glassy ice. A memory that will last forever.

~Mei-Jing Bernard, Conserve School Semester 5

You can use the map below to explore the area that Mei-Jing describes above.

Additional pictures from the weekend adventure that Mei-Jing describes above.

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