Monday, September 24, 2012

Day 38, Sep 17, 2012 - Ruby Fernandez

Once upon a time on a beautiful place called Glassy Falls 9 warriors were spending their last day at the Missinabie River. They had been there for 32 days looking for treasures and something majestic called personal growth. The 3 leaders woke up very early and noticed that their ways was going to be difficult. After some time all the warriors woke up and started eating some meals. The orange warriors had gold oatmeal which I have heard gives you incredible strength. The blue warriors ate diamond pancakes which gave them the ability to see the future and plan ahead. As soon as they had their magical powers they packed their ships and left Glassy Falls. The route was hard, on the way they found their two worst enemies (cold and rain). Cold and rain sent their powerful soldiers against them but the warriors had their best armors and defeated them. When they thought the fight was over a huge path of rocks was waiting for them. The warriors had to use their magical powers and crossed their ships through this infested path of giant rocks. Few hours later they did not know where to go but on the way they found a mystical creature that many people have heard of. This creature is a big beautiful animal called “The moose”( wise master). The warriors could not believe what they were seeing and as they approach it the moose did not even move. Some of the warriors thought they were going crazy but as they got closer they realized the myth of the moose was real. The moose told them that their destination was ahead and that they will have a great day. The warriors knew they had to make it, their strength was not the same and they knew a great treasure was waiting for them. After such an adventurous day the warriors got to their destination, Mattice. This place is a singular town some people say is mystical because there is a castle with hot water and gold beds. Other says that there are many feasts and tons of food. Knowing all this, the warriors got to land. Three Canadian friends were waiting for them. They lead the warriors through a path that could lead them to the castle. The warriors did not believe all those stories about this castle but big was their surprise when after crossing a road they saw the castle laying ahead. When they arrived all their faces were lightened up and some of them went to find the fountain with hot water. Others were looking the golden beds that everyone talked about. In the castle they had a great meal full of deserts, fruit and all kinds of meat. After the feast most of the warriors were full and tired. They sat down with Clyde the king and had a long conversation about the next journey. They talked about their fights against the bear bag soldiers, the smelly giant, the branchless trees and the rapid warriors. The warriors are now in their gold beds waiting for the next journey and next treasures ahead. I will keep you updated…. Ruby Fernandez

Day 37, September 16, 2012 - Cody J Presny

We started the day with some free entertainment. To begin with, Sarah found herself in a sticky situation right off the bat. While loading the boats at Big Beaver portage, I walked up to find Sarah calf deep in a pit of mud, and the rest of the group dying of laughter. No hard feelings Sarah, but it was pretty funny. After we all settled, it was time for another round; this time courtesy of Jess… But I digress, today was our second to last day on the river, and I feel like everyone was trying to soak it in (no pun intended). We ran our last CII tech rapids, which made everyone's eyes light up. We made it to our destination of Glassy Falls a little after noon. Today was set aside for one on one evaluations with Jeff. While the evals went on, the rest of us were able to enjoy the beautiful sunny weather and even more beautiful setting. I took the opportunity to bathe in the rushing falls, and relax briefly on the beach. When it was my turn to go to my eval,l I was excited, to say The least. I was very curious to hear what Jeff had to say about me; the feedback I did receive was very helpful and insightful. We ended the night with a magnificent meal of lentils and TVP, followed by a late debrief. what a day. I am excited to see what tomorrow brings as our voyage comes to an end and we reach Mattice.

Day 36, September 15, 2012 - Sarah Welsh

I woke up this morning and it definitely was not like any other Saturday so far. The alarm went off at six-thirty and on a typical Saturday I would snooze it for another two hours, but today I climbed out of my toasty sleeping bag and unzipped the tent door to step into a thirty-nine degrees Fahrenheit brisk September morning. I opened up my crisp dry bag and pulled out my stiff paddling clothes to prepare for another day on the river. We all knew what had to be done to complete the toughest week out here; we had to make it to Big Beaver Rapids. We set out after a hot breakfast, dressed in many layers including wool socks with our sandals (a very strange but efficient method for staying warm). After paddling for about an hour through the rock gardens, layers of clothes were being peeled off as the sun warmed our bodies fast. We came to one small set of falls and got to use our painters to guide the boats for the first time. We arrived at camp and got a little free time which I used to do a little fishing and take senior pictures with Kelly, Jeremy, and Jon. After doing the typical Saturday evaluations and LOW debrief, Jeff assigned new tent groups. Ruby got put with the three guys (bless her heart). And Dalton got stuck with the presence of us three girls. Well, he has it pretty good if you ask me. We finished the night with a cake made from scratch by Jessica and some popcorn as well. As I ay here next to the giant hole in the Taj and freeze my little nose off, I realize that we only have a day and a half left on the river. It’s all a little bitter-sweet, so I am going to try to soak in every last moment of it. I’ll miss my temporary home in the Canadian wilderness, but I am ready to head west soon! Sarah

Day 35, Sept 14, 2012 - Jon Manuell

Well our journey in Canada is coming to its end, there were many animals, sights, and accomplishments that helped us feel at home. Wolves howled across from a lake, a nurturing mother bear with three cubs at her wake, most saw a moose, although some only the caboose, many a frogs, some in water and some in trees. Angry squirrels were noisy, chattering away; chipmunks were sneaky, stealing our food away. Hard working beavers were seen floating by, a family of otters were having a good time, a hungry bobcat was hunting to start our trip, silver northern pike were eaten after a fight, and even a giant rabbit that’s called a snowshoe hare. The birds were bountiful, the loons were our first, followed by countless belted kingfishers seen at each bend, red necked grebes were diving, what a sight to see, bald eagles so high, flying effortlessly, and also some osprey with wings spread wide, also a calliope humming bird hovering above a tree. Yellow virrios and tit mice were also in the mix, a night hawk and barred owl were friends when sundown. A pilliated woodpecker put on a great show, sand hill cranes gave us a woody call as well as assorted ducks were seen each day, sandpipers on stilts were caught walking away. A ruffed grouse was seen on an island, didn’t expect that. There were many others that I have let out but they have definitely helped me make it feel like home. The pictographs on canyons and going through a bog, the beautiful night stars so far above, the challenging portages and miscellaneous tracks, as well of an array of boxes that caught our scat. The rock gardens were tricky just to say the least, followed by rapids, some were definitely a beast. The sunsets were pretty as well as the falls going through the stages, our group has become stronger. Canada definitely has grown on me, feeling at home once again. -Jon

Day 34, Sept 13, 2012 - Jessica Sauer

This is a story told by the haunting spirits lost on the Missinaibi River: The group this year is stronger than we expected. They have been able to get past the challenges we have put in front of them. When they first arrived they seemed like the groups we had seen in the past. They were weak in the first portage, struggling to even get a single bag across without gasping for each breath. We thought we would have them beat in no time. If we were not able to make it down the Missinaibi, we definitely weren’t going to let a group of inexperienced students make it through without putting up the fight of their lives. It didn’t take long to realize we were mistaken when thinking this would be easy. The lake caused frustrations yes, but instead of the waves we forced upon them causing screams, we still heard laughter each night. In the past we have found an individual that seems weaker than the rest and used what we had to put the group against them but this year that individual could not be found. As the days quickly went by we realized that they were growing much stronger, and the forests we see as our home were now seen as the same for them. Was it possible that we were being too nice in these previous weeks? The rapids and long days would not be enough to break the spirits like they had in the past? We hear them joking about “a week from hell,” but wait until they see what we have in store. 75 degrees in sunny, you enjoyed that didn’t you? Won’t be having fun in the when its 50 degrees and gloomy. Nine miles a day too easy? How about 18 that should tire them out. 600 meter portage turned into a walk in the park, make it 1500, we’ll see who’s singing then. Our plan might be working, we can see it in their eyes they are longing for their tent each night. How much more can they take before this group actually breaks? No way they can make it to Mattice. The last day is here from this “week of hell” and man do I have to say, through all of the miles and bumps on the path we never thought they’d make it to the end. We’ve seen strong in the past but never like this, they are making our canoe breakers seem like a slide in the park. These final days will work them no doubt about that, but we’re starting to think they may actually have what it takes to beat the river that we could not. Jessica Sauer

Day 33, Sept 12, 2012 - Kelly Bauer

Day 33 of our journey together and day 27 since beginning our backcountry trip on the river. It seems so long ago that we sat across from one another in Currens listening to each other tell about ourselves in three minutes. It seems like years ago when we stood perplexed at the impossible knot and all of Jeff’s other mind tricks in the classroom. Remember our first team building challenges together? The hula hoop pass, the wild woozy, and how we failed at the TP shuffle but were able to succeed with better communication later. We saw each other’s fears emerge on the high ropes and some of us broke down but we also learned that we are there for each other in times of need. Then came the summer; we worked and tried to make the most of the time left with our friends and family. We were separated by time and distance. I wondered if the spark we had ignited would still be burning come summers end and on day 33 of our expedition, this week I think it burns stronger than ever. It may be hard to see sometimes on our worn out bodies and our wind-swept faces, but we are stronger than we have ever been. We spent over two hours our first night hanging bear bags…now it gets done by one or two people while the others prepare dinner. We couldn’t even scat in the woods when we arrived…and even though we’re lucky for the boxes, I still see sticks and stones on the bottom of it. We knew little about maps and compasses let alone navigating a group and now we plan routes a week ahead. At Spring Lake we were quite the sight bumping into one another and now we ride rapids with relative ease. What I’m trying to say is that we’ve come a long way. And with only a few more days on the river, we should take the bad with the good because we’ve had an amazing time together. We’re past the storming so let’s keep moving and be the first group to reach the transforming stage! -Kelly

Day 32, Sept 11, 2012 - Sarah Welsh

We woke up this morning a little past six, Pot of water boiling, need my coffee fix. Loaded up the boats for another day, Navigator boat had Jon and a Ru-bay-bay. On Brunswick Lake we were getting broadsided, Back and forth at times the boats collided. We made it through, back on the river we went, It would be six hours before I saw my tent. We ate a quick lunch on the side of the river, More humus please to put on my nature burger. We paddled on not knowing what came next, A bunch of rocks, some glass, we were perplexed! Quickly thinking we made an assembly line, A few bloody ankles, some bruises but heck we’re fine. We paddled on not knowing how much farther it would be, We learned to measure kilometers more to a “T”. We portaged later 50 kilometers no big deal, We’re starting to get tired don’t ask us how we feel. Almost twenty miles today and I feel the burn, Meaty-Mac tonight makes my stomach churn. Looking up and down from head to toe, Crazy hair, suntan lines, hairy legs fo sho. Then comes the ankles covered in leeches, Who woulda thought we would like dry peaches! I’m going to sleep tomorrow brings another day, ECOEE, ECOEE, ECOEE paddle on we say!

Day 31, Sept 10, 2012 - Jeremy Naberhaus

I awake the morning inside an oh so warm embrace of a sleeping bag, my ears cold from the elements. That is not how I normally wake up. Most days I wake up in a warm bed with soft clean sheets. I got out of my tent to see the sunrise over pines. The sun glowed through the thick fog as it loomed over the cold rocky waters. I then went to the stream to get water, instead of flipping a faucet. I packed my equipment and food into two oversized dry-bags, instead of putting books into my book bag. I grabbed my paddle instead of a pen. I put on a PFD instead of a WIU hoody. I hopped into a boat and flouted down a vigorous class II rapids instead of walking to the smelly class rooms of Currens Hall. Back at WIU my friends complain about walking to another dorm to get food. My friends here…….. Well my friends here eye’s wide up when you mention a 1500meter portage. My friends here smile and laugh as our bodies get engulfed by the beast that we call the bog. We shrug our shoulders when dirt gets in our food. We talk about our lives, about anything and everything, we actually TALK instead of text. Right now as I write we look at the most beautiful star lit skies I have ever seen instead of watching TV. We get high off of rapids and trees that look just right for bear bags instead of beer. My life is so much different from last year. This is the life for me. I can’t think of a place I would rather be. - Jeremy

Day 30, September 09, 2012 - Dalton Schaller

Today we were able to sleep a little later because we didn’t have to leave until 9. My group woke up, made some hot drinks, and following Jeff;s advice, made the best cocoa wheats of the trip. After that we portaged our stuff the rest of the way across the trail and loaded the canoes. The paddle today was rather uneventful since there weren’t any animals or rapids, but many members of the group still found it fun by having conversations and even a race. Once we arrived at Thunder Falls there was a little confusion about how we were going to get to the portage trail. Finally, the LOW’s decided that we would carefully run the rapids and use the main portage trail. We hurried through the portage and across the pool so we could set up tents and tarps quickly to beat the possible rain. After that we ate lunch and then received a lesson on the Authority cycle from Jeff. Immediately following the lesson was the ECOEE fashion show put on by Ruby and hosted by Jeremy. Next, we ate dinner which for my group consisted of nature burger, pepper jack cheese, and some really good bread. Finally, to end the day we had debrief and brief and then cleaned camp and hung bear bags. Now I am going to bed to rest up and prepare for a hard day head. -Dalton Schaller

Day 29, 09/08/12 - Jon Manuell

Today our group had a much later start being a Saturday with lots of free time to look forward to. The day before was quite exhausting for most and my tent mates and myself enjoyed a fire under a crystal clear sky with starts that exploded from the sky. As I awoke, muscles I forgot I had were reminding me of the big accomplishment the day before. We started the day with a quick breakfast followed by filing out our tent mate evaluations. Once evals were finished, then our lunch of chocolate cake with banana pudding was ready as we read aloud the evaluations to each other. The evals were very constructive and all parties left with a better sense of what we are doing well and also places for improvement. In the middle of the day it was time for the LOW evaluation of Jeremy, Jess, and Dalton. After a lot of feedback, advice, and things to work on, new LOWS took over as well as new tent mates were arranged. I was excited to finally be paired up with Sarah for the first time as well as Jeremy and Kelly being paired up together. Kelly was then able to give her Real Talk Canada which was great hearing why and how she grew up to be who she is today. We then were able to ask her questions which she was more than happy to answer. Once completed, we were free the rest of the day. Everyone spent their time in their own way and were able to relax and get ready for the intense week ahead. The day ended with a good Mexican dinner and hanging bear bags, for an uneventful day, I for one really needed it. -Jon Teapot

Day 28, 09/07/12 - Jessica Sauer

I woke up this morning much earlier than most. The sky was still dark enough that I needed my head lamp to get around camp. I knew it was going to be a long, hard day and I wanted to make sure I would be ready on time with my things packed and a hot breakfast eaten. Everybody was ready to get started at 8 o’clock (we really are getting good at this efficiency thing). We started off the morning more exciting than most and we road Wavy Rapids down to our site to fill our canoes before our long journey ahead. The rapids were short, but they were fast and fun and got me ready for the rest of our day. We began down the river and quickly got to the very long Greenhill Portage. It was a long hilly portage, and the two hours that went by were sweaty and exhausting but when we finished it, our group was excited about our huge accomplishment. After a quick lunch break we were back on the river and ready for more rapids. The weather was much better than I had anticipated but I was still expecting some rain. Clouds were coming in, the temperature had dropped, and the winds were changing. With all of this in mind, we started our final portion of our paddle with some force. We were happy that the weather cleared up again and we had time to slow down and even pick some ripe cranberries. Split Rock Falls quickly arrives and the group was anxious to see where we would be staying. Excitement quickly turned into fear when we disrupted an angry hive of hornets. Jon and Kelly were the first two to get stung, followed by Jeremy and myself. The group was instantly concerned knowing that Jeremy is allergic to bees and he was the one that was hit the hardest by the swarm. After seeing his reaction wasn’t too bad the group unloaded the canoes and split up into separate sited. Our tent had a very nutritious dinner consisting of cake and pudding and got ready for debrief. The day went by quickly and before we knew it we were in the tent with a pan of cinnamon rolls to look forward to. Today showed how much our group has improved since week one and I am hoping we are all ready for the long hard week ahead. -Jessica Sauer

Day 27, 09/06/12 - Ruby Fernandez

At 6:30 am the blue tent woke up with an unusual alarm, Jeremys beautiful voice. He told us that the day was uncertain and that we could have breakfast and wait for a decision. After eating some delicious oatmeal we went to shore to debrief. Jeff told us a good story about a guy in Alaska that had to overcome different obstacles to remain alive in difficult circumstances. That story remind me how in this expedition we have to think before we act so we don’t have problems such as sleeping on a wet sleeping bag/tent. After debriefing we were all happy because the Leaders of the Week (LOWS) told us that we would stay. Most of u used our time to dry our stuff and make the campsite bombproof. Later on Cody made a good impression with his professional outfit and concise lesson about water filtration. The afternoon went by with some Jeff’s lessons about judgment traps. We had some tiem to reflect and prepare lessons. Dinner was great!!! Main dish veggie burgers and for dessert peach cobbler (burned peach cobbler). Lesson learned for Kelly, you should not go and take pictures while baking cakes hahhahah The night finished with expectations for the next day. Can’t wait for another paddling day and a 1500 meters portage. One week to go. HASTA LA VISTA ECOEE!!! Ruby Fernandez

Day 26, 09/05/12 - Cody J Presny

What a strange day it was today. Because the tent groups were separated yesterday, half the group started atop Swamp Rapids and the other down below. I myself belong to the former, and was able to begin my day by paddling the class 1 rapids. After reading journal and doing some quick stretches, the group was ready to paddle downstream towards Dead Wood Rapids. Deadwood Rapids wasn't as menacing as the name would have you to believe. These rapids were much like the ones we have seen before, except that they were significantly deeper. I was paddling with Kelly today and these rapids proved especially exciting for us. You see we were maneuvering splendidly, until we were blindsided by an enormous rock. I swear it came out of nowhere. The rock halted the bow swinging the stern 180 degrees around. We looked at each other, and I could tell we were thinking the same thing, “well I guess were riding this one backwards.” The excitement was unmatched. as we continued down the River we could hear a storm a’brewin, so we kicked it into high gear. We were making great time until a great log jam jammed us up. The rain began to roll in as we begin to portage around the jam, and by the time we finished the sky had cleared. We took only a few more curves then landed at our Wavy Rapids campsite. We ate lunch then met Jeff at the water for a very hands-on lesson. After studying the workings of the class 2 rapids, we were told to grab our PFDs and meet at the mouth. Here we were shown just exactly what can happen if we fall out of a canoe. We each took turns getting into the water, and practicing proper safety techniques on the way down the rapids. Long story short, my butt may be a bit bruised in the morning. Just before everyone had their chance, a bolt of lightning struck above and we were sent to our tents. We set patiently for 3 hours waiting out the storm. When it cleared, we cooked and hung bear bags. It wasn't long however, before the rain started back up. It rained steadily for about an hour, and in an unfortunate turn of events everything in the blue tent, including sleeping bags and note books became wet. Oh dear! I hope tomorrow is a dryer day.

Day 25, September 4, 2012 - Kelly Bauer

-Missinaibi River Song - Down on Missinaibi River So silent thick and black I stared into the water and the water it stared back The nights were filled with wonder As we gazed up towards the sky Where Gods were born and Gods lay down to die Down on Missinaibi River A group of nine we traveled by day Eight students and one instructor, we clung to every word he’d say He’d guide us through the rapids Every twist and turn we’d make Filled with knowledge so we took all we could take Down on Missinaibi River We learned to live among the trees The land around us so humbling that it brought us to our knees We would wake up with the sunrise But the days too quickly fly We were helpless as the weeks passed us by Down on Missinaibi River We watched each other grow O’er a month we spent together but there’s so much more to know We started in Lake Superior And would head north to Mattice But soon these winds will turn our river to ice With a hand upon my paddle Wind whispered in my ear You’ve come from way down south To find yourselves here And with a compass in my pocket And a canoe to call my own We have found a place that we can call our home Down on Missinaibi River So silent thick and black I stared into the water and the water it stared back So our journey continues onward Or hopes and dreams held high For there’s nothing more majestic than the northern sky -Kelly

Day 24, September 3, 2012 - Jessica Sauer

Waking up this morning it was unusually dry outside. Being pleasantly surprised I thought it would be a perfect day for shorts but I that was quickly shot down when Jeff let us know that a dry morning means that rain is on its way. Leaving later than usual, our group ate some hash browns, got a quick map and compass lesson from Jeff, did some morning stretches led by Cody, and we were on our way down the river. Sun rapids came much quicker than I had anticipated, and with a quick glance at the CII white water, I wanted to hop back into my canoe and ride those rapids. Sadly, the decision was not that easy and being a Low, Jeremy, Dalton, and I had to try and make a safe decision for the whole group. Of course, Jeff was right about the weather and rain was quickly approaching and the decision had to be made fast. After consulting the group, and going back and forth between our options the group decided that the portage would be the better idea and we quickly unloaded our canoe’s and headed up the steep dirt hill. Just as we were finishing, the showers started and we began paddling again in the rain. After a few bends down the river we realized the rapids were not over and from what I saw, the group was enjoying the bumps and waves that the river had to offer. I said to Sarah that I can’t believe I hadn’t done this before, riding the rapids was a blast (even if I did ride more with my butt than I had anticipated). Barrel Rapids was next on out schedule, and after scouting those out we felt more than comfortable letting the group take on the challenge. The rapids were over quickly and our group continued to paddle hard through the water, taking on some wind and the miles we still had ahead of us. It wasn’t too long before Peterbell arrived and we did some exploring to find a nice place to sleep. It was our longest day on the river so far, but that didn’t seem to effect the excited attitudes of the group. Debrief was early and the rest of the night was free. I made some corn bread and rice for my tent mates, and we were ready to hang bear bags and hop into our tent. After a long, but enjoyable day I am ready to wake up and continue our journey down the Missinaibi River. Jessica Sauer

Day 23, Semptember 2, 2012 - Jon Manuell

Today I awoke with a lot of excitement due to the fact that we would finally have a full day on the Missinaibi River. It has taken twenty-two days from Horn Field to now that we arrived for a full day on the river. The morning was slightly chilly but it felt great knowing fall is fastly approaching. The group is becoming much more efficient which relieves a lot of tension once beginning our day on the water. I was quite anxious to hit our first rapids today and once we arrived, Jeff gave a quick lesson on rapid riding techniques and how to let the current take us right in. There were several struggles at first with some tough first hand lessons on what not to do but overall I was very proud of how we took on the challenge. Being in the back of the pack today, I couldn’t help but think about how hundreds and even thousands of years ago different Indian tribes and traders were using the same river we were on today and throughout the rest of our journey in Canada. It also amazes me how little of a difference the river has changed and such a small impact of years and years of travel. As we traveled down towards our campsite, an osprey greeted us which was a fantastic sight. At the end of the paddle, we were able to navigate the last rapids of the day with slightly more confidence. All canoes successfully made it down the Long Rapids and our camp was at the bottom. Once at camp, Jeff gave a lesson on participant risk management and also complimented our group for being on schedule and being up and ready to go in the morning. After lessons, the LOWS gave us some free time for people to hopefully be productive, Sarah caught her first fish and the rest of us took our time as needed. Dinner was next, followed by Real Talk Canada with myself as the special guest. It was really good being able to voice my reasons and background of why I am and where I came from. During the real talk I was asked what my favorite bird was, which I replied an owl. Moments later an owl flew overhead which was an experience I won’t soon forget. Great day overall, excited to see what tomorrow brings. Jon

Day 22, September 1st, 2012 - Sarah Welsh

I am sure you are expecting to hear a rap and I’ll start out saying I am sorry to disappoint. I guess there is a time and a place for that, and although we all know I got the beat, I’m going to get a little more serious. I just finished up my second week of being a LOW and I am using this week to reflect. I think I am beginning to understand the big picture of ECOEE. I am sure that some of you can relate, but I have always been someone who gets very caught up in grades and papers and speeches on thing I could care less about. I came out on this adventure to gain some insight into what I want to do with the rest of my life. Although I have not quite figured that our like some others have, I am getting to experience firsthand what it is to be in any leadership role; hard, yet very rewarding. As I am sitting here watching the new LOW team get in their canoe to head back to our campsite after another great episode of “Real Talk Canada”, (possibly the best one yet…) I can only hope that their week can teach them as much as mine did. That being said, LOWs, prepare yourselves for the “what do you think?” and “well, you’re the LOWs, what are you looking at me for?”. Believe it or not, this will help you to be more confident in your own decisions. I guess we’re all here for our own reasons. I am just glad this group of people is the one I get to experience this with. I should probably bookmark this page and still see if I feel this way on day 119. Who knows, maybe Sarah can storm too! Sorry I got a little mushier on this one. I think after a couple weeks of sabbatical I’ll be rapping again. Paddle on! Sarah

Day 21, August 31, 2012 - Cody J Presny

I heard those kids again this morning. It must have been 6 or 7. They kept running back and forth from the beach. Skeptical, I popped over to see what all the fuss was about. When I got there the little Cuban girl was singing of hearts in her native tongue. I saw the canoes loaded, and then they were on their way. They headed east on Missinabi Lake, hugging the northern shore. They paddled and swayed through wind and rice for most of the morning. I watched them closely from high above, perching at times for rest. They move steadily and paced, like the explorers and traders I remember from long ago. Silently their paddles slice through the darkened waters of Missinabi Lake. Not knowing why, I follow them still as they headed towards the mouth of the Missinabi River. The water lied calm today, as they passed through the gate. They stopped only a few meters into the river at the campsite just before Quittigene Rapids. For a minute I saw hesitation in the faces of the paddlers, though I could not hear what they were saying, I saw two gather their things and cross the river towards the portage. When they came back, the group split into two. The more handsome and beautiful travelers stayed at the site before the portage, and the others made the cross. After a long day on the water the two groups retired to their separate quarters, to rest for the day ahead. Cody J Presny

Day 20, August 30, 2012 - Ruby Fernandez

Hi everyone here is my song: Today was a good day we woke up right at 6:00 am And eat some pancakes with syrup and coffee Then the lows told we won’t leave today Since the wind was so hard it was difficult the way Ay ay ay ay ay ay ECOEE AY mi ECOEE de mi corazón After eating more pancakes we ran to the beach But first we had to do some lessons in outdoor skills We started learning and studying outdoor lessons on the beach Kelly Jessica and Jon were almost falling sleep Ay ay ay ay ay ay ECOEE AY mi ECOEE de mi corazón We learn about flowers We learn about scats We learn about trees And also med plants I know there are birds high in the sky But now I know what to keep on mind Ay ay ay ay ay ay ECOEE AY mi ECOEE de mi corazón This journal ends up with a cook out for the night That made us feel that we will explode that night After eating some cake and some pineapple rice I was grateful that the bathroom was next by my side Ay ay ay ay ay ay ECOEE AY mi ECOEE de mi corazón The only last thing that I have to say Is that I cannot wait for another paddling day There might some difficulties and some wind on the way But I’m pretty sure that we are high on calories today

Day 19, August 29, 2012 - Dalton Schaller

This morning like any other morning I woke up and started packing to leave for another campsite. However, on this morning a couple of new things happened. The first thing was that we all heard a pack of wolves howling around 8 o’clock. That was really neat. It made it all the more special when Jeff said that they don’t get to experience that very often on these trips. The second relatively new thing that happened this morning was that we were ready to leave on time for the second morning in a row. I feel really good that the group is doing so well in the mornings. After a quick double check of bearings we were on our way towards the Missinaibi campgrounds. We didn’t have it so easy paddling today though. Instead of having an easy and calm 7 mile paddle, we had to deal with some pretty good sized waves the whole way there. Along the way there were a few conflicts and some pointers and lessons from Jeff. After a small paddle we arrived at the campground and portaged out stuff from the beach to the campsites. At the campsite we ate lunch and then while the LOW’s headed towards the ranger station and a well needed garbage disposal. Everyone else went to the beach for some fun and relaxation. Next, we met up and had a couple of lessons from Jeff before dinner. After dinner was a debrief where a few people vented their frustrations and we all worked it out. Then came the monkey hat nominations and I got it because it was believed that I would never get it otherwise. O well. I will still wear it with pride. Finally, we ended the day with popcorn and a brief. Now it is time for me to go to bed and rest up tor the long day ahead. -Dalton Schaller

Day 18, August 28, 2012 - Jeremy Naberhaus

-I’m about to tell you how the day went down woke up in the morning on the ground. -Where we going north or south? Jon’s first time with oatmeal , couldn’t get it down his mouth. -Sarah read us about ferry point couldn’t wait to check out the joint. -What’s that a jelly fish or an U.F.O? Took some pictures and it was time to go. -Cody and Kelly singing without a care. Dalton and jess hit a rock, who put that there? -Came to the camp site and pitched our tents, So much better than an apartment , no land lord collecting rent. -I want to thank Imodium for holding in the sludge and Jeff for teaching us how to judge. -took some time to reflect I did some mediation, I feel clam and collect. -Told these cool cats about my life Didn’t know what to say so I had to think twice. -Told them things I don’t tell everyone but them I trust. To understand me them things were a must. -While hanging bear ropes Jeff told me and Jon not to die. But then we tried to make Jess fly. -Before we went to bed for our nightly nap we as a group pull out the maps. -Got to hit the hey I am feeling cashed can’t wait for the morning to take out trash. -EEWW what’s that in the bottom of my bear bag? I can’t tell! All I know is it really smells. -Got to keep it in my bear bag because I don’t like to litter. Watch for the toilet you don’t want a splinter. -I can’t wait for the morn because I’ll put my fanny pack in the front and I’m not afraid to show it I am Jear Bear and I know it. -Watch out thermArest, I’m heading your way I can’t wait to start a noonway day. Jeremy Naberhaus

Day 17, August 27, 2012 - Kelly Bauer

Today was a pretty normal day. We padded to a new campsite, portaged, and saw a moose along the river. The fact that that’s what I consider a normal day is pretty indicative that we’re growing accustomed to living in the out of doors. We had a good start this morning…except for the slug city that established itself beneath our canoes. Early in our paddle we had a new sighting, a moose! (but for some of the group, only a moose caboose). Shortly after that we arrived at our fourth portage of the expedition. We’re all getting stronger and more efficient because we completed it in under an hour. I tried to carry a canoe solo and made it most of the way but I was happy to have Jon and Jeremy behind me to assist at the end. We arrived to our new campsite on Missinaibi Lake a little after noon and were given time for lunch. Luckily I had a big ‘ol chunk of delicious sun-dried tomato bread that I had won from Jeff to satisfy my appetite. We got another couple lessons from Jeff in this afternoon. Today’s lesson on group development was fun because the inner actors were brought out in all of us. Cameron Diaz, Leo, and Brad even made guest appearances. All in all, there were a few Oscar worthy performances. I don’t know though because after “Last Breath”, written by Cody and I debuts, I doubt there will be any Oscars left. For dinner Cody made some bread, or should I say hot dough. It was delicious though and I can’t wait to try the one he’s baking now. I think the other tent was still in a food coma from lunch. I performed an interpretive dance for the group after debrief for leaving a certain item out last night but I think the highlight of the night was Jeff being nominated for the banana hat for not completely bomb proofing his campsite last night. I can’t wait to see him paddle with that all day tomorrow. I’m getting sleepy and we have an early departure tomorrow so goodnight moon. Oh yeah, how could I forget Jeremy’s catchy tune this morning… I wear my fanny pack on the side, what! I wear my fanny pack on behind, say what? I wear my fanny pack on the front, why? Cos I do what I want! I do what I want! -Kelly

Day 16, August 26, 2012 - Sarah Welsh

I woke up a little past seven, Turned on the stove, cowboy coffee heaven. Then I went out to visit Jon, Not our Jon, but the one we sit upon! No walls here just a Folgers can, We need an occupied sign. That was Kelly’s plan. The day started out with a lesson at eight-thirty, Leadership styles but I couldn’t hear no birdy. The forest got quiet and the clouds blew in, The tarp went up and the students all flocked in. The rain came down but no one got wet, Best decision made by LOWs, but we’re not at decisions yet! Next lesson taught us about conflict resolution, We’ll complete these stages and complete a revolution. It won’t be easy but we must confront, The person who is bugging us we’ll be upfront. Lunch came fast and we ate under the tarp, Cody found something to make Dalton’s fishing hooks sharp! He has been scavenging and even found a bowl, It’s not too shabby just a little bit of mold. We then set out to lean what to do if the canoe flips, And there was Jeff to give us a few tips. I mean that literally he flipped our canoe, If you saw Dalton’s face you would be laughing too! Kelly then set up her WEA Evac. Lesson, We learned what to do if there is a danger session. Then we went off to our tent groups for dinner, Kelly made chili and it was a winner. The other camp group made their first lasagna, I’m not sure what rhymes with that so I’ll leave it on ya! We finished the day with a long debrief, The topic was slightly morbid and may have caused some grief. But that being said it had to be done, And now that it’s over we’ll have some fun. Tomorrow we’re back on the river again, A six mile paddle a few portages and then, We’ll sleep on an island just like Gilligan did. This monkey hats for grabs, I look like a little kid. I’m fallin asleep and that’s my warnin, Gotta wake up early and do some munging in the morning! Sarah

Day 15, August 25, 2012 - Jessica Sauer

Woke up this morning, With Jeff as our alarm. Still seemed early for our tent, We aint livin’ on no farm. Left our sight a mess, Feelin’ full from my corn bread. We were in a food coma, Couldn’t think straight in the head. Didn’t bomb proof the kitchen, Thought we’d clean it in the morning. Had no idea the main man’d see it, Without a warning. Finally working on evals. By 10 o’clock, While Kelly’s munging in our “kitchen” which is really just a rock. Ate some cheesy hash browns, Man those were good. Why am I even rapping? I don’t think I’m from the hood. Had a great time with the girls, Didn’t want the week to end. But the boys will be fun too, I’m not meaning to offend. All rushing to debrief, We thought we would be late. Didn’t let that happen, Couldn’t miss our weekly date. The group debriefed the LOWs, Got some things off our chests. We know you worked your hardest, Didn’t mean no disrespect. Finished up week two, now preparing for week three, New LOWs gave us some free time, Gosh you should have seen us flee. Give us time to bathe, That’s all we ask. Just a moment in the river, Such a simple task. It really brightens our spirits, Puts us all at ease. Sunshining in our faces, With that Canadian breeze. I had an early dinner, With my new group. Delicious Asian pasta, Hope it doesn’t make me poop. We practiced orienteering at the bottom of the hill, I’ve really gotta get this, I know I need this skill. I made my way through, Different barring’s and degrees. Even got a Jolly Rancher, Wow, are we easy to please. Jon and Jeremy were upset, When they saw Dalton with some fish. A hot fresh meal, Was one thing they didn’t want to miss. Finished up with debrief, An easy relaxing day. Our group got through it quickly, Didn’t have too much to say. Got our bear bags up, And headed down to the fire. Where Jeff made us some popcorn, A salty snack we all desire. He answered all our questions, About his wilderness life. How did he end up with these rascals, I might be searching for my knife. The night came to an end, With a story filled with scat. Now my eyes are getting heavy, Time to hit this orange mat.

Day 14, August 24, 2012 - Dalton Schaller

Today started like every other day except the guys’ tent woke up a little later. The reason for that was because we had breakfast made already and everything packed up. After finishing packing the canoes, the group got together to map out our route and we received a refresher course on map orientation from Jeff. Once finished with finding the bearings on the map we set out on another canoe trip. Along the way, there were some frustrations and people were getting upset. We might be getting to the storming stage, but then there are always people to lighten the mood. For example, we had the majority of an interesting sounding musical planned while we canoed. Having key characters like the old tree, played by someone who is apparently old yet still looks good; a river nymph, played by Zoe Saldana; and a lumber jack, played by John Goodman. There were also some smaller roles like the head grebe, played by Jeremy and a rock, played by Jeff. I definitely noticed that the whole process of creating the play kept some people in good spirits. After paddling for a while, we arrived at our third portage for the trip. It was a short and flat portage which was nice. However, getting started on the portage was a little muddy. It all got done pretty quickly though and we had a nice lunch break before finishing the trip. The next leg of the trip was a long one time wise. We spent a couple more hours paddling with the wind blowing and the boats running through some shallow water. It was all worth while when I witnessed a couple of really cool animals. First, there was a young bald eagle in an eagle nest and then in the same area I accomplished one of my animal sighting goals. There was a mother black bear with three cubs. I was really excited to be able to see a black bear in the wild. We spent a good 15 minutes there watching animals and then left to finish the paddle. It was a little harder to find the campsite than we thought it would be but once we got there it was nice. We unpacked the canoes and set up the tents upon arrival and then held debrief right after which gave everyone a good amount of free time to end the day. I’d say that is a pretty good way to end a hard day of canoeing. -Dalton Schaller

Day 13, August 23, 2012 - Ruby Fernandez

We started our day pretty early and got everything packed for our paddling day. Before that we had some delicious biscuits made by Sarah, yeah girl!!! After eating we started finding our bearings in the map and loading canoes. Everything was packed and we started heading to Fifty Seven Bay which was our final destination. The start of the paddling was a bit confusing but after looking at the map several times and with the help form others we started heading to the right way. After crossing Hay Bay and going to Fifty Seven Bay the Leaders of the week thought it would be a good idea to spread the group and find spots to camp by our own, not the best idea because the group spend too much time trying to find a spot and finding each other. After paddling some more Jeff decided that we should stay at one inhabited island. When the whole group got together on the island we were very surprised and happy to have a bathroom and not having to hang bear bags wohooooo!!!!! Everyone felt happy to be there and some of us did “laundry” at the lake. Jeff gave some lessons about feedback and expedition behavior. Oh also Jessica is wearing the monkey hat for her unicycle hahahha. Oh also the boys had a black tie dinner with Jeff, not sure how It went….. Overall was a good day, some bumps in the road but the debriefing helped us to solve our problems and keep going with this great experience. First week of shakedown over!!!! Three more to go. Btw Jeff should write a book with all his stories they are pretty cool. Specially the unicycle one. Ruby Fernandez

Day 12, August 22, 2012, Jeremy Naberhaus

What’s up What’s up y’all J-Bear here, about to give a recap of my awesome day. So this morning I woke up and had a tickle fight with Cody and Jon, what a way to start the day. I learned many things today, first lessons was how to carry a canoe by myself. I am trying to think of more to write but I just can’t. I stepped on a bee hive while hanging bear bags in the dark. I am allergic to bees so I am feeling a bit groggy. I headed in to my tent after my battle with the bee and for five minutes it was nice to have a smell free, cool tent as the beautiful sound of the beaver song fill my freshly cleaned ears. Now I am in a tent with hot, smelly, sarcastic men talking about dingle berries. This is my life right now….. and I would not have it any other way. I am going to bed now to chat with mates and sleep Jeremy J Naberhaus

Day 11, August 21, 2012, Cody J Presny

Twas a great day. I woke up from the wackiest dream to find myself smack dab in the middle of one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The sunrise was like a beautiful dove taking flight over a veil of draped silk. We packed the canoes then Sarah and I set sail into the foggy abyss that is Manitowik Lake. I started in the bow, and Sarah in the stern. We done seen some real pretty rock formations as well as a butt shaped land mass. We aimed for the butt, and made it. Score! Ruby and Dalton were in the lead and they killed it. Swell! We came to our first portage, Little Stony. Man, I'm telling you it was tough, but so invigorating. Neat! It took us a while to carry the four boats, the bear bags, the red bags, and our personals across the 650 meter trail. We trekked on, continuing a little bit down the river, where we found our next portage and campsite. Raw! I ate some food, then I swam with Kelly, then I ate some more food. Yum! Now I am quite sleepy and my brain is wandering. I just can't wait to cruise on to Rabbit Island in the morning. I'm pumped and stoked, like the time when mankind was to wrestle in his final match. If I recall correctly, it was a cage and weapons match against Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Undertaker. It was an intense match up, with tons of blood and high altitude excitement. Mankind lost that fight, but still came out a winner in my eyes. So to summarize, ECOEE is getting me pumped, and ready to wrestle in a cage… well maybe not, but you get the picture. Now I am brain dead and gots to sleep. Sorry about writing this ridiculous journal entry, but hey what don't kill you makes you stronger. P.S. saw some Canadians today. Was pretty righteous. Fin. Cody J Presny

Day 10, Aug 20th, 2012 - Jon Manuell

This morning the group was able to catch some extra sleep since we decided to stay at our campsite an extra day. People were a little disappointed at first not getting back on the water but the plans and lessons were a necessity especially if it rained. Looking around at all the nature surrounding me, I couldn’t help but smile knowing the rest of WIU were in artificially lit boxes most call classrooms. The breakfast was light and we all arrived at our meeting site anxious to start our lessons. Everyone seemed to be in high spirits as the lessons began and eager to learn. Jeff began by administering an IP3 test. Once completed, we grouped up in the leadership style that fit us best. I felt like I didn’t really fit but after a great explanation of each style, I learned a lot about the people in my group and why they lead in certain ways, especially for Kelly how it matched her perfectly. Sarah also made a funny for the second consecutive day! The second lesson was judgment and this lesson the assessment, technical knowledge, and experience was analyzed and we gained a better sense of what to do during given situations. Once completed, it was lunchtime. After a nutritious lunch we met at the Go Girls eating quarters and learned how to construct tarp hangs that protect us from different elements. I am very happy how it went, not only did I learn the techniques, I also learned several knots. Once concluded, Jeff went into his third lesson which was about risk management. We talked and discussed the three cycles of how to successfully manage and maintain different types of risk. The last lesson was how to read the map and the seven colors that they represent. After the fact, I believe we are much more confident on how to read the maps and use them properly. We had a hearty dinner after that then debriefed Jeremy on his tarp hang lesson. Lastly, we debriefed the group which had been very productive lately as well as some good ‘ol belly laughs. Got 16.4 miles tomorrow and excited to get back into the water.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Day 9, Aug 19th, 2012 - Kelly Bauer

I am so happy to be laying here with the “Go Girls”, we’ve accomplished so much today and if only we could stop giggling, I know I’ll sleep well tonight. We had a moderate start this morning, both campsites were a little late to the put-in time but we got into the water and headed into the misty river in good spirits. There were some difficulties in communication and navigation on the river, but after discussing in debrief, I think we are ready to get some miles behind us. With a quick campsite selection we were able to get a lot done today which is good since it’s “shakedown week”. We got an invaluable lesson on personal hygiene from Jess and by the looks of it later, the boys had a great time putting it to use. I heard Jeremy even saw a river snake. They seem to be having a lot of fun with their “man time” in the boys tent. Today I learned there are many “manly fruits” – something I did not know and did not get much clarification on except that kiwis are definitely not manly. The girls tent had a special guest for dinner. I don’t quite know who Sarah was hoping for but our dinner guest was Jeff. Unfortunately, we got stage fright and the rice wasn’t up to par. We can only hope he’ll join us another time. I thought our last campsite was great but this one is even better. We’re all spread out on the beach and no one is in the woods. By the looks of the beach it seems like we’re on a hot sandy beach about to enjoy an iced drink after a dip but it’s in the fifties and we’re dressed in insulating layers and enjoying our hot drinks instead. Though the dip today in the icy bay was refreshing! Canada truly is a beautiful place. I look around me and want to work as hard as Mother Nature to keep this Earth a beautiful place to live. I can’t wait for another day at the campsite tomorrow, I’m antsy to get on the river but I am enjoying all this bonding time. If only Brian was here…. -Kelly

Day 8, Aug 18th, 2012 - Sarah Welsh

Today we woke up on our own, Alarm goes off we moan and groan. Rolled our bags up in the tent, We’re homeless now, we pay no rent. Made oatmeal with peanut butter and fruit, I ate so much I thought it would come out on my boot! The other group ate hash browns and flap jacks, Gotta broadcast our water so the bears don’t think we’re snick snacks. Did some tentmate evals and read them out loud, Some feedback was harsh but some made me proud. I noticed many evals gave me fours, You all must be crazy. My only skill is sewing tent doors. The other group had lots of ones and twos, But what about dump school? Any five star poos? And speaking of scat, I haven’t found much, There are wolf tracks on the beach, and beaver chews and such! We debriefed the LOWs from last week, And Jon taught us the difference between a duck and greeber beak. Then Jeff taught us how to bake in the backcountry, Pizza is way better than TVP. We learned to not wear sandals in the cooking spot, One cook in the kitchen the stoves are hot, hot, hot. Sarah gave her lesson on how to sleep warm, We’re back on the river tomorrow and we hope it doesn’t storm. What a long day I think as I’m lying in bed, Another day has come and gone, Enough said! Today was really nice getting up and having breakfast with our tent groups. It sounds like they were both good except for me putting way too much peanut butter in my oatmeal. On the positive side, there goes my peanut butter craving for life. Some are saying the days are long and it feels like we have been out here for years, but think about how much we are learning and how many stories we will have for life. I really could not have asked for a better group to go through this experience with and I am so excited to continue on down the river again tomorrow. The journey continues and the beauty remains. Don’t forget to soak in where we are and the beauty that lies right in front of us. ECOEE, ECOEE, ECOEE -Sarah Welsh

Day 7, August 17th - Dalton Schaller

Today started off as an exciting day because it was the day that we finally got to go out on the river. It was a little hectic to start with because everyone was repacking their bags and loading everything else. However, once that was finished we were in the van and on our way. Along the way, we were blessed to have camp songs sung by Kelly, Jeremy, Ruby, and occasionally Cody. After a short drive we arrived at the location to get the permits. While there, Jeff went inside and the rest of us stayed in the van and admired Kelly’s 3d cat cards. We were also blessed to see many cool things while we were there. The first was a unique witnessing of a bobcat and the second was that it was chasing a rabbit. The chase was unsuccessful for the bobcat but really cool to see. Next, we went to Hawk Junction where we were set to paddle out from there. The first thing we did upon arrival at Hawk Junction was packed the canoes and trailer. Next, we ate lunch and had multiple teachable moments. All of which were about loons except for 1. Finally, after that we got a lesson about packing our canoes and we were ready to head out. Right off the bat we encountered a small section of white water and I recall someone saying it was like a roller coaster. We also ended up paddling through a lot of shallow water and an area with a lot of large boulders near the top of the water. There was another neat animal sighting where Kelly and I saw a couple river otters. They took off before the rest of the group could see them though. Another nice thing today was that we found a campsite much closer than expected. We got out, were taught a lesson on campsite selection, and then were set loose to set up out campsites. After that we were taught many more lessons consisting of using the stoves and cooking, dump school, and water purification. I personally found the dump school lesson helpful considering the fact that I used it later. Then we were shown how to hang our food to keep bears out. That process seemed a lot more stressful but it was accomplished. And like usual we ended the day with a debrief of the day and a brief of the next day. - Dalton Schaller

Day 6, Aug 16th, 2012 - Jessica Sauer

After a long night of tossing and turning, it was a struggle to move from my warm sleeping bag. I soon remembered our plan for the day quickly found the motivation to pack up my things and help load the van. After a delicious, but quick breakfast we said our goodbyes to the Gates’ and Jeff’s mom and dad and our journey began. After a very nice nap in the can I felt like I was waking up in a dream land. Seeing cases of beer sold in 9’s and 15’s, and carpet stores named “Just Walls.” Our excitement grew the closer we got to the border, and we all anticipated our first time in Canada. We were lucky enough to smuggle Ruby through the border, and I think we were all a little surprised when greeted with strip clubs and steam baths but we had finally made it. Our eyes were peeled, as we traveled deeper into Canada and our usual U.S.A. deer crossing signs were now moose crossing signs. The scenery changed drastically the more we kept driving and I was amazed by the beauty of Canada. Jeff mentioned to us before that the weather has been much different than the drought we were experiencing in Illinois, but I didn’t process it until we were heading further into the dark clouds and the rain began to fall. It was then I realized that we may have a very wet and gloomy 32 days ahead of us. Finally arriving, setting up camp was a bit of a challenge due to the rain but we worked through it and didn’t let it bring down our spirits. With not much planned for the rest of the evening, we were all very excited when we were invited to an interpretation on Lake Superior. This was the lesson that I was most confused about so we could not have been offered a better opportunity. After a good brief and debrief we headed towards the lodge not quite sure what to expect. The interpretation could not have gone any better. It was 45 minutes long and it had our group engaged and interested the whole time. With stories and facts, and singing and music, it was better than I could have imagined. Overall, the day had its ups and downs but after today I can fully say that there is nowhere else in the world I would rather be than here on this journey with this group of wonderful people. This was an amazing first day in Canada and I cannot wait to continue our adventure and grow as the 2012 ECOEE family. -Jessica Sauer

Day 5 - August 15th - Cody J Presny

We left Horn today. It was a pretty early and hectic morning, but everything seemed to run its course. After a delicious but late breakfast, we found ourselves on the road. The cabins were scrubbed, the lodge looked better than we left it, and we were all stoked to embark on ECOEE 2012. After getting settled in the van, we saw some corn, then some soy beans, then some more corn. Then I saw the backs of my eyelids for a while; that was nice. When I came to, we were passing into the lovely state of Indiana. We stopped for snacks, gas, and fireworks… wait scratch the fireworks. We left the gas station and I took shotgun, Jeff and I shot the scat for a little bit, and I got some vital information that will help me teach my WEA lesson. We crossed into Michigan and I gave Carol Gates a call to inform her of our ETA. She related some troubling news to me about her husband gator. She told me that he had been experiencing some blood abnormalities and that she was going to take him to the hospital. The news didn't sit well with me, and I knew it was sitting worse with Jeff. We didn't get relief until we received a call from Gator himself, reassuring us that everything was okay. When we arrived a few minutes later we were introduced to the lovely Carol Gates, and the infamous parents to Clyde Jeffrey Tindall. What a gas! After our hellos, the group and I explored the forest a bit. Sarah told us that she harnesses the uncanny ability to hypnotize frogs. I was able to climb a few trees, which happens to be a major stress reliever for me. After enjoying a lovely dinner and movie, we were privileged to a very informative lesson on biodiversity by the intelligent Ray Gates. We debriefed Ruby's WEA lesson, and all gained some important insight on what our lessons should look like. And here I am writing a journal, I feel like an eighth grade girl, this is all so new. Peace Love goodnight, day 5. -Cody J Presny

Day 4 - 8/14/2012 - Jeremy J Naberhaus

Today was overall I thought was an awesome day. It was hard to get out of bed and even harder to get Cody out of bed. But once he got out of bed he was singing and dancing. I was still in zombie mode. But after a great breakfast, coffee and getting to talk to everybody I was ready for the day. Mindy came in and talked to us, it is always such a joy to talk to Mindy. After Mindy talked to us Ruby did her very informative lesson on what to wear in the back country. I did learn a thing or two from her and enjoyed her activity. After that it was time to pack. Jeff went over what we needed then we packed it. Many people were flustered and had a hard time. But I had fun, each thing I packed was one step closer to getting to the river. It was also a nice change of pace to pack with people that I really like and no kids fighting or yelling. The people that I am about to embark with on this trip are amazing, smart, competent, determine and not lazy. Today was also the awesome because I have a bit of ADD and there was always something for me to do and I got to do it to music throughout the day. Another highlight was itinerary. It made me nervous at first, but once I got started I loved it. I got to network and make connection around America. (only 45 more days till we get to see Brian!!!!!!) I am not going to lie I am as giddy as a school boy. I have wanted to do something like this sense I was a child. I wanted to do ECOEE when I first heard about it from Stephen Gilbert when I was 18… I am 22 now. As corny as it may sound it is kind of like having a dream come true. I can’t wait to tell people that I spent 7 months in the woods. As hard and as hectic as today was I was nothing but excited and happy I have not been this overjoyed sense I was a kid on my way to the greatest place in the world… camp Shaw. The trip has just started but I already feel a connection with the group it’s very noonway. Something else that has been pretty noonway is the food, lunch was great and so was dinner, I loved that salad. After dinner Cody, Jon, Jeff and I went to campus to drop off stuff and pick stuff up as well. On our way back to good old HFC was the best part of the day because after all what goes better with tacos then DQ. Then we picked everyone up and went to Wal-Mart. I love going to Wal-Mart as a group, I just wonder what everyone thinks when they see us. Ok it is late and I need to try and sleep the sooner I sleep the sooner I wake up, the sooner I wake up the sooner I get to see everyone’s smiling faces. -Jeremy J Naberhaus

Day 3 - August 13th 2012 - Jon Manuell

Today started very early with a delicious breakfast cooked by cody and Jess. With spirits high we left Horn for the activities of the day. The itinerary allowed our group a chance to to complete different tasks around campus which also gave Jess and myself some time to take our 15 passenger van drivers test. The test was slightly stressful to begin with but once behind the wheel i was fully confident, needless to say Jess and I passed with flying colors. In the mean time the group was able to to basically us technology for the last time in a month, as well as drop off polos and medical forms. The next phase on the agenda involved picking out our PFD's and the proper paddles. After all was picked and sorted we made our way to spring lake to finally get on the water. Before we could jump right in Jeff gave a couple of lessons of techniques to efficiently operate a canoe followed by a quick lunch of assorted sandwiches. By this point everyone was anxious to get on the water. The pairs were split and we hopped right in. The general consensus for the skills was moderately low besides Jeremy but everyone caught on real fast. Once everyone was familiar with the different strokes, we took off towards the back of Spring Lake. The Journey was just what everyone needed. i was very impressed with how fast everyone picked up the techniques and maneuvers. I was also very excited to see all the wildlife sand especially birds. Turkey vultures soared overhead, herons and egrets were everywhere, and we even saw a bald eagle. At halfway point we switched partners and headed back, once back we were pretty the group was pretty pooped. Back at Horn the low's talked to Jeff, the cooks prepared food, and the rest cut tarp. Dinner was excellent!!! Chili was on the menu and it was a big hit. After dinner we discussed what could kill me, hurt me, and make me sick with a little competition. After a heated battle males vs. females we ended in a tie. After we finished we discussed our own medical concerns which will help enormously along the path... Finally we briefed and debriefed. To close out the night the low's met with Jeff and we were glad to here Jeff give the group some positive feedback as well as some helpful hinters! Well it is late, night. -Jon

Day 2 - August 12, 2012 - Ruby Fernandez

First long day of ECOEE 2012! As we prepared ourselves for the expedition we had to start our first task of the week, pulling out food for our trip to Canada. After lunch the group had different feelings about the food and specifically how much to take to Canada. Some people knew what they wanted but in terms of quantity it was very hard to determine the right amount for a month of paddling. First we had to get our rations plans and the printer at the office did not work. Cody helped us to fix it and we finally, after an hour, could print our ration plans. Once we got that done everyone started to prepare and set up their own food bags. The limit was 60 POUNDS! We all thought that was too much but we were all surprised that we all took more than that. Six hours pass by really fast while you are packing food. In general the group had a great attitude and we finished on time our rations. Most of us took too much weight and there was always a line on the weight to see who could find those 60 pounds that we needed to take. The leaders of the week (Kelly, Jon and Jessica) guided us in inventory and setting up group gear. Finally we had a delicious dinner made by Jeremy and Cody. The group looked tired by the end of the night but with a feeling of accomplishment by doing the task. I think the conclusion of the day left us thinking how we are going to carry all this weight and how challenging this experience will be. At the end is a good feeling to work hard all day and see good results. Also seeing the group working together and helping each other was a good thing. It would be a challenging road but if we keep this working and positive attitude we will get used to these following days in the backcountry. -Ruby Fernandez

Day One – August 11, 2012 - Kelly Bauer

Welcome to ECOEE 2012! As I sit down to write this there are so many thoughts and feelings running through me. As these last couple weeks approaching ECOEE flew by I’ve been looking forward to getting here but also anxious to see what challenges and trials lie before us on our next 120 days. However, as I stepped out of the van and saw the beaming faces of my classmates and felt their warm embraces, I knew that I had made the right decision and that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. Today we received our course material and our coveted ECOEE manual. After that we had our first Leader of the Week (LOW) meeting. I must admit that I was intimidated at first to be LOW for the first two weeks but after meeting with Jess and Jon, I am confident that as a LOW team we can set the bar high and successfully guide our group to get everything done and us on the road in a timely and not so stressful manner. We received our maps today (and learned to fold them too!) I can’t believe in a few short days we’ll be relying on these to navigate. Goodbye smart phones and GPS! A past ECOEE member stepped in while we were folding and commented how she still looks back at her maps. I sincerely hope that when we leave here in December we have the same fond feelings about our trip and our group. We made our first Wal-Mart run today! Two carts of food, 12 Parkay butter containers and probably 20 pounds of cheese. We looked like the oddest family I have ever seen in Walmart (and that’s saying a lot) and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it! Jon was an awesome chef today, the spaghetti was great! I hope the food continues like this! ECOEE 2012, lets learn to love and respect each other because this is going to be a trip of a lifetime and one we’ll never forget! -Kelly