On the 25th of August, in the year 2011, a group of students from Western Illinois University, woke up on a cold damp morning in the middle of the wilderness in Ontario, Canada. Deep inside the Boreal Forest, surrounded by trees and next to a root beer colored river, the group starts off yet again on an expedition that will test their metal. The river called the English river will provide this group with many challenges but will be the path towards their final destination. The group starts off late and is reminded by the fearless leader Jeff that it is un-expectable and if it continues there will be consequences.
After Jeff and other fellow group member teach lessons to the rest of the group to give them the knowledge and skills needed for this trip. The canoes in the crisp root beer like water glide through like a knife going through warm butter, while each person puts the blade of their paddle into the water pushing ahead. For the first time the group gets to experience going through rapids, they get to experience the rush of being pushed through fast waters that surge past and over big boulders. Each canoe filled with two paddlers and their gear must navigate through using team work and communication to ensure their safety. Everyone a little nervous but more excited than anything is eager to topple the obstacle and gain this amazing new experience. The group makes it through with ease, smiling ear to ear, adrenaline coursing through their veins ready for more.
On their way yet again, they meet two more of these obstacles and make it through one by one safely. They paddle to their next camp site, which is a massive granite rock, looking like a giant blunt spear protruding from the earth into the river. They land there and start to set their camp up, one by one the groups’ tents pop up, and bear bag ropes are slung into the air to rest on the best branches they could find.
The group starts to cook, and the aromas of food fill the air, busy as bees they work. Then it’s time to learn some more after their bellies are filled. After some discussion on leadership, personal stories filled with laughter and some tears, then a lesson on fire building its time to debrief the day. With their first camp fire filling the circle with orange light, filling the air with the wonderful familiar smell of camp fire smoke, the group is content to discuss the happenings of the day, and what’s to come the next. All tired from the sun beating down on them, a long day of paddling, one by one they finish some homework and last minute chores they disappear into their tent and slowly fall asleep in their warm sleeping bags.