Taking advantage of warming temperatures and ice-off on campus lakes, history teacher Michael Salat recently led a one night camping trip on Black Oak Lake. Student Julia reflected on the experience in a recent e-portfolio entry:
“We left on Saturday morning and it was absolutely beautiful outside, even though we all knew the water was freezing, I think every one of us was dying to just jump into the cool clear lake. We only had one portage, so the way out to our campsite was easy breezy, and the whole thing took probably only two hours. One really cool part about the way out is that near our destination, there was still some ice on the lake. The sound of the water rushing under it was amazing, like a thousand little waterfalls. We paddled over to where the ice was thin and continued on, breaking up some mini ice sheets. The whole lake was colder over here, and I immediately thought of the book we read in History, Endurance, where Shackleton and his team had many difficulties with ice throughout their expedition; we had it a bit easier, but still it felt adventurous.
“We arrived at camp and we immediately started setting up our temporary living space. We set up tents, some people strung up their hammocks, and people got the kitchen together, while others collected sticks or water. Even though it might seem like these are just chores, I really enjoyed this part of camping because we all worked together, and even though many of us were doing different things, it seemed like we were all on the same page. After every thing was set, we decided to get back out on the lake. Gaby and I went out together (Ava was my partner before) and it took us a while to get used to each other’s rhythm, but once we did, we were cruisin’. We just paddled around, soaked up the sun, and sang songs until we got cold and returned to the campsite. We noticed one amazing thing- that more than half the ice that was so solid earlier in the day had already melted! Spring was definitely here.
“The rest of the night consisted of spaghetti for dinner, brownies for desert, a night paddle, and stories around the campfire. Something I really value is being able to have intelligent and interesting conversations with people, and with this group, they just kept going. I noticed that about almost everyone here at Conserve; everyone is willing to talk to you, and they always have something intriguing to talk about. At then very end of the night Benny T. said that he thought we should all go around the campfire and say one nice thing about each person. A lot of people thought this would take too long, but eventually everyone got on board. I really liked this part because you could tell that it was making people happy and that made me happy. Having ten people saying nice things about you definitely makes you feel good, and saying a nice thing to ten other people, and watching them bashfully smile, has the same effect. We all went to bed sleepy and content.
“I am really glad that I was able to participate in this activity because I think that it gave me a fresh idea in my head of the whole gist of camping. Before then, it was a while since the last time I went into the wilderness overnight. This trip also gave me an idea of how sometimes, things just don’t go as planned and how you just have to look for new routes to get to your goal. This experience left me feeling a lot more confident about being alone in the woods for solos.”
Director of Enrollment and Student Support