JUNE 17/2004 Sunny, 20 degrees, wind calm
The Outers shop opened its doors to business at 6:45 AM. Due to the hard work of the past two days, everything is ready to go. This trip will be distinguished by barrels – lots of big blue barrels with brand new harnesses donated by Community Forest for signing the Marshall lake loop. Staff Haslam finishes packing the food barrels with the Holy and Godlike bacon, the manna from heaven that will sustain our emaciated bodies for the next nine days.
Outers arrive in hordes at 8:00 AM, and the trailer is quickly loaded, with the last few canoes being lashed on. We are ready to go by 8:50, a new record in the Outers’ history book of departure times for Spring Trips. However, as with all plans, a problem arises; the bus is late, and then Staff Haslam discovers that his coveted walkie-talkies have been stolen. A massive and frantic investigation proceeds…the thief is known, but the goods are not returned. The bus departs by 9:20 with a quick stop at Marinos for new walkie-talkies, but alas, communication will be by Sat phone and smoke signals only on this trip.
The bus proceeds up the Nakina highway, and before long, a bear is spotted. Shortly afterward, Staff Haslam realizes with horror that the lamp packs have been forgotten. They are sitting behind the open door of the large closet in the Outers shop. The satellite phone once again proves its use, as it will many times on this trip. A stop in Aroland is made, and a call to the school gets results. Someone will bring the lamp packs up to us. The Ogoki road proves to be a ride through Dust Hell; many times the bus has to come to a stop as lumber trucks drive by, completely burying us in a white coating of dust that soon penetrates even out teeth and gums. The road is simply appalling, a regular thrill ride for the masochist, with a variety of bumps launching Outers into the air at regular and irregular intervals.
We arrive at Marshall Lake around noon, and unloading is completed shortly afterward. A lunch of blueberry bagels and cream cheese is served, a bit of decadence among the bugs and dust and sweat. Porting proceeds at 12:35, and the crew flies across the port, with most partners only carrying two trips. Porting finished at 1:48 and Outers were on the water by 2:20. It is a beautiful calm afternoon, and the Outers make their leisurely way across Marshall Lake.
Cook Sara MacIver has a strange and wonderful fishing lure in the shape of a huge rubber frog. As she drags it across Marshall Lake, the first of many excellent pickerel is pulled out.
Later on, Sara snagged her beautiful frog lure, and instead of sacrificing it to the rock Gods, she went swimming to retrieve it.
Our destination for Day One is an abandoned mining camp on the southwest shore. However, a large flat rock just before the camp is spotted at 4:30, and with a little bit of chain saw work, it turns into quite a nice campsite. Both brigades have supper ready by 6:00 PM. Spaghetti is greedily consumed by the Outers, and then a leisurely night of fishing and swimming unfolds. Many dozens of walleye are caught, but all are released. A small rain squall passes over and blue sky breaks out, revealing a beautiful Northern Ontario sunset. Camp retires at 11:00 PM, and after a few stern warnings, quiet ensues by 11:20 PM.
JUNE 18/2004 The first in a series of days of schizophrenic weather.
Friday dawns sunny, calm and cold. Temperatures probably hit close to zero C. overnight, and a frosty wake up call greets the children at 6:10 AM. Groggy Outers start rolling out of the tents by 6:20. Meanwhile, Firebug Clavet has been starting raging conflagrations for kitchen fires, with the flames being visible for her friends back in Seattle. The mad gleam in her eyes slowly dissipates as the flames gradually turn into coals, and the cooks proceed with the business of preparing breakfast. Brigade cook Stephanie Koroscil tries a new recipe for sausages which includes a healthy portion of styrofoam and plastic. The rest of the cooks, Sara MacIver, Chelsea Hunking and Julie Levesque prepare an excellent breakfast of eggs and sausages, consumed with great glee by the never ending stomachs.
Canoes are loaded and on the water by 8:20 AM, an excellent take down and departure time of two hours, a full hour ahead of the normal Outers time schedule. A leisurely paddle up a placid Marshall lake ends at 9:00 when we arrive at the first port of the day, a decent ramble of 260 meters around a series of rapids on the Gripp river.
The port is blocked by a large spruce tree in the water, which Staff Haslam has to wade out to to cut. Outers Levesque and Lavigne assist with clearing, and then porting is on its way in earnest.
While the Outers are slaving away, Staff Helkie is involved in his favorite pursuit, fishing. A sweat breaks out on his brow as he cranks in a three pound pickerel and then makes his bows man, Jeremy, take it off the hook for him. The Flying Purple Frenchman, Marcel Lavigne, believes that he must always be the first one across the port, and into the water, ignoring his suffering companions back on the port. Screams emanate from the depths of the port, as students lose shoes in the loonshit holes that will become the mark of this trip. Porting is finished at 10:10.
After a small navigational error by Staff Haslam, Outers churn up the loon shit as they motor down Gripp river under the power of their “Hemi’s”. A small section of fast water is run with two or three canoes bottoming out.
Taphorn and MacIver become bridged on a rock, and MacIver is finally forced to evacuate in order to dislodge the canoe. Unfortunately, the footing is quite treacherous, and Sara plays porpoise several times before she finally manages to get the canoe off the rock and regain her bow seat, sans camera and sans dignity. It is the first of a few dunking incidents that always give the trip flavour and character.
The second port of the day is reached at 10:57. It has a very grassy, very buggy landing, and much complaining resonates through the blown-down port. It is a short four minute walk from one end to the other, and the Outers are finished quickly, floating on the water again by 11:43. Thirteen minutes of floating across a pond bring us to the third and final port of the day, a scenic 120 meter walk around a set of rapids. Brigade leader Taphorn finds a gopher hole in the port, and goes down with the canoe on top of her. However, the genetic pool in Nakina leans toward toughness, and with a minimum of profanity (for Aaren), she is back on her feet and cruising. Blackflies are running a Red Cross Blood Drive, and they force us to the other side of the river for lunch. By this time, we have noticed that the weather changes about every ten minutes on this trip. Rain, followed by sun, followed by wind, followed by more rain becomes the norm for the next eight days.
Staff Clavet is enraptured by some pink flowers at our lunch site which she calls wild orchids. The Outers show their respect for her botanical expertise by walking and sitting all over her precious weeds. She is on the point of violence when someone diverts her attention to the profusion of emerging dragon flies on the rock. Dragon flies are our friends, because they eat tons of mosquitos, so nobody sits on them, on pain of death! Dragon flies aren’t the only thing eating, as Outers stuff themselves on pitas, cheese and pepperoni.
At 1:15, the Outers leave the Discovery Channel lunch spot and press on for Gripp Lake. A small set of rapids is shot without incident, and Gripp lake is arrived at shortly afterward. A strong southwesterly wind greets us on Gripp lake, with gusts approaching forty kph. The Outers make for the lee shore and look for a campsite to avoid the winds. A nice site just before the outfitters camp is checked out, but Haslam decides to push on. Tomorrow will be a very long day, and it is still early, so he decides to push on to the traditional campsite 2/3’s of the way down Gripp Lake. A very stiff paddle with many rest breaks begins, and the rocky crags of the cliff like campsite are reached at 3:30. The wind continues to howl!
This trip is distinguished by a huge blow down that occurred three years ago. Almost every tree in the area has suffered damage, and the portages were obliterated. Staff Haslam and Rob Lavoie, aka “Spruce Johnson”, came through the summer before, and along with Sprucie’s dad, uncle and friend, cleared the entire route. It was a Herculean effort. The campsite on Gripp lake was also affected by the blow down, and the chain saw whined for hours clearing spots for tents. Meanwhile, the schizo weather takes another turn for the worse, and a driving rain begins to pour down. Staff Helkie decides that it is impossible to fish, so he sets up a kitchen tarp so everyone can eat. As BL Taphorn murderes a million blueberry bushes to clear an area, the cooks get the fire going, and a marvelous supper of Kraft dinner and hot-dogs is served to the chilled crew. The temperature has dropped several degrees, and everyone can now see their breath. The cold drives all Outers into their tents by 9:30, and the only sounds that can be heard are the chattering peepings of half frozen frogs
Outers are in a state of shock as they are woken up at 5:35 AM. Not only is it early, but it is cold, very cold, probably below zero again. Mist comes off the lake in huge clouds, blotting out the sun. Prayers can be heard coming from the girls tent as they beseech God for a nice day, but they are covered up by the ruckus snores pounding out of the boy’s tent. This is the first morning for the famous bacon, and it is eaten with glee, along with oatmeal and blueberries, garnished with smiles and a beautiful sunrise.
Outers are on the water by 8:15 AM, paddling down Gripp Lake in a cold headwind. The first port of the day is reached at 8:40, a nice trail of about 280 meters. Outers finish porting and are on the water by 9:30. The head wind has become worse, and Outers are now fighting their way down Gripp River. A moose is sighted by the lead staff canoe, and Haslam and Clavet paddle like demons to chase it down.
After the excitement of the moose, Summit Lake is reached at 10:20, and the Outers find a spot out of the wind to take a break until 10:43. Shortly afterward, Staff Haslam and Clavet begin debating the dangers of an open water crossing to take advantage of the lee shore on Summit lake. Open water crossings are only made when they are absolutely necessary, as Outers practice traveling along the shore for safety at all possible times. The debate is quickly ended when Brigade leader Sharlene falls out of her canoe in three feet of water. Head Fireman Slade Goulet has a sheepish grin on his face, and says something about standing up in the canoe. BL Koroscil is rescued, and we paddle her into a secluded bay, where she dries off and changes her clothes.
The paddle up Summit Lake is windy but manageable, as the canoes travel in pairs, hugging the shore. Speeches about the dangers of hypothermia and capsizes have penetrates the adolescent minds, and they now paddle as cautiously as an 85 year old women with a broken hip walking on ice. Port #6 of the trip is reached at high noon, but it proves to be walkable.
Port #7 is reached at 1:15. Although it was cleared the previous summer, a busy beaver has felled some enormous poplar trees on the trail.
While Staff Haslam chain saws through the trees, lunch is served and the port is finished by 2:45. Port #8 is reached at 4:05, a nice stroll through a poplar lined trail. Outers zip across the hilly little port and are on the water again by 4:45. A short paddle brings us into camp at 4:45. This is a beautiful site on the Powitik river. A high granite bluff slopes down to the pool created by a ten foot waterfall.
The campsite is located river right downstream from the falls. It is a nice spacious site, but requires extensive clearing due to the blow down. Supper for both brigades is under way quickly, and a bristle of fishing rods is soon poking out over the pool below the falls. Several pickerel are caught, cleaned and cooked, and Staff Nurse Clavet hooks into a large pike, which causes a variety of high pitched shrieks and squeals to pierce the camp.
The boys have invented a new game called log running. They carry large logs to the upstream side of the falls and then throw them in. The object of the game is to run like hell over the port and arrive on the downstream side of the falls before the log goes over. A few days without video games and television has started to loosen up their stilted sense of fun, and this simple pleasure fills their universe for over an hour, until one of those magical, unpredicted and sudden gale like Northern Ontario thunder storms blows in at 9:15. A dark ridge was spotted on the horizon at 9:10 and five minutes later the campsite resembled a Florida trailer park. Outers scurried about frantically tying everything down and then retreated to their tents. Thirty minutes later the storm was over, and by 11:00 PM the only sound to be heard was the peeping of frogs, punctuated by a scabby exclamation point of snoring.
JUNE 20/2004 Schizo weather continues, not enough room to describe it.
Cheryl greets the sunrise and then tries to greet the kids at 6:30 with her gentle and pervasive rooster calls. At 6:35, Haslam finishes the job she started with his usual round of profanity and threats. Tent dropping is the favorite punishment for late risers, and involves seventy pounds of wet canvas being dropped on its lethargic inhabitants. Breakfast is the favorite one of bacon, oatmeal and rehydrated blueberries. Porting to the launch area begins immediately, and Outers are on the water by 9:07. There is much complaining of cold like symptons….about half the crew is suffering from coughs and sniffles, revealing the hazards of living ten people to a tent.
Of course, in the boys tent, a cold is preferred, as it blocks the nasal cavities to the fresh aromas of flatulence that provide semicolons to the the exclamated sentences of snoring.
At the junction of the Powitik and the Kapikotongwa river, a bald eagle is spotted soaring high above. The first “port” is reached at 10:12, but it turns out to be an easy class one chute, so it is run by the Staff and experienced Outers.
All nine canoes are through the chute by 11:00, and a short paddle takes them to the next “port” at 11:30. After extensive searching, no port is found. The rapids are very technical, with a ninety degree turn through a three foot space between two rocks. Staff Clavet and Haslam decide that the only way to get through is to run all nine canoes through themselves, and let the Outers bushwhack it through to the other end. This is a lengthy, time eating procedure, as the two staff members had to crawl back through the bush for each new canoe. At 2:10 the wet and bedraggled pair shoot the last canoe through and crowd gratefully around a fire that the the capable firemen have started. Lunch is consumed, and crew hits the water at 2:30. Everyone is wet and tired now, and there are frequent rest breaks on the way down stream to port # 12 of the trip. Staff Haslam remembers this port as quite hellish, and he greets the confirmation of his memories with a mix of relief and horror; relief to see that senility has not yet set in, and horror over the actual condition of the port. It is 4:30, and Staff Clavet and Haslam walk the port to determine the viability of pressing on. As a rain storm moves in, the decision is made to carve a camp out of the entrance of the port. Under the capable hands of Outers Lavigne, Goulet, Goodman, Zehr and Cloutier, an excellent campsite is created from the ruins of a blow down. The kitchen turns into the nicest one of the trip, with huge spruce and pine creating a cooking cathedral. As Staff Haslam undertakes the dirty job of clearing the mud hole port of new blow down, Nurse Clavet performs a variety of medical procedures. Staff Helkie receives some minor surgery while Cook MacIver has a sprained tendon bound into place. Although the fishing proves to be quite good here, only Staff Helkie and his intrepid bowman Jeremy Lush can brave the bugs. A hellacious horde of hundreds of sandflies and mosquitos drive the rest of the Outers into their tents for the night.
JUNE 21/2004 More of the same weather…rain/sun/snow/sun/rain
6:00 AM greets us with gray skies. Rain begins shortly afterward. Although the port is a nasty mudhole, the bugs provide the incentive to move quickly. Breakfast and tent take down is completed in record time, and under a steady downpour the Outers get on with the business of moving gear and food for eighteen people over the 600 meter port. The rain is only broken by the clouds of wings of bloodthirsty, ravenous bugs. Bugs to the left, bugs to the right, bugs in your nostrils, bugs in your ears….BUGS!!!!!!! The entire soggy business is over by 9:10, and the Outers begin the cataclysmic job of paddling ten minutes to the next port. At 9:20, port # 13 of the trip is reached. It is a short hop of 140 meters, and with the swarms of mosquitos still following us from the last port, the Outers virtually fly over the port. At 10:23, everyone is underway, paddling like demons to try to outrun the volumes of insects. As we finally paddle free of the beasts, the next port is sighted, and at 10:45, the work begins. This is an interesting port; it has a beastly landing and an extremely steep hill beginning immediately after the landing. To the shouts of “Giv’-er” from Staff Haslam, the Outers tag team the canoes up the incline. The rest of the gear is passed up in a long chain of fifteen people.
The thought of a beach campsite at the end of the day has the Outers really moving now, and by 11:48, we are underway on the water again. The sky has magically turned blue again, and the temperature is beginning to rise above its normal 10 degrees C. Our first sign of civilization, the bridge over the Ogoki road, is reached at 12:35. A lengthy lunch is held as Outers attempt to dry off and warm up. We are also awaiting the arrival of retired Outers leader, JJJ Arts, who is coming in to bring us some fresh food. At 1:20, the flotilla is underway for a placid paddle down the wide and sedate Kap river. We are headed for the “Esker Hilton” a beach campsite on a small lake off the river. At 4:13 we arrive there and begin the creative task of stringing canvas prospector tents up on a beach. After some imaginative rope and tripod tricks, the tents are standing. A supper of Kraft dinner is served at 6:00PM just as Mr. Arts arrives in his new Kevlar Prospector canoe. As food packs are repacked and reorganized, a huge commotion starts on the beach, as swimmers find many “Jigger worms”, long thin, hair like creatures that undulate through the water like snakes. BL Taphorn convinces everyone that the Jigger Worms will swim into their bums and take up residence in their colons. Needless to say, no swimming occurs that night. Everyone is in bed by 11:30.
JUNE 22/2004 Strange brew of weather continues
At 5:30 AM, the silence is punctuated from the squeaks of Staff Clavet having a bath. At 6:00 AM, Staff Helkie is heard to gasp as he enters into the ranks of the clean. At 9:00 AM Staff Haslam follows their examples and also takes the plunge next to Godliness. The Children, of course, bless their souls, remain in their filthy state, snoring away until 11:00. Dirty little Buggers! Apparently Aaren’s description of Africanus-jiggerous has scared the Outers into a perpetual state of stink, as even the bravest prance along the edge of the beach, eagle eyes darting about, looking for the colon residing Jigger Worm. A leisurely breakfast begins, as a half rest day unfolds. The next campsite is only a three or four hour paddle away, so departure is delayed till the afternoon. Staff Clavet and Cook MacIver act like foxes in the henhouse managing to destroy 48 brand new fresh eggs by knocking them over into the sand. The ever useful barrels are apparently not so useful as cooking tables. Bacon, sausages and Hash Browns are nevertheless cooked with style and panache, and by 11:00, a wonderful breakfast is served.
Packing up begins with earnest. The weather has changed several times since 6:00 AM, but it is currently sunny, so Staff Clavet takes the opportunity to get some excellent group photos. A Jigger Worm is caught and stored for Mr. Arts to take back to civilization and have analyzed by MNR. At 12:55, we say goodbye to the Esker Hilton and high spirits and light prevailing winds propel us toward Berger lake. The first break of the day occurs at the cabin on Berger Lake, as several Outers attempt to use the comforts of an outhouse, only to be driven back into their pants by some of the most viscious bugs we have encountered yet. The experience is probably best summed up with some lines from Al Purdy’s poem When I Sat Down To Play the Piano:
Achilles retreateth without honour
unzippered and sullen
and sulketh in his tent till next time appointed
his anus shrinketh
he escheweth all forms of laxative and physick meanwhile
and prayeth for constipation!
After over a mile of frenzied paddling, the clouds of bugs are still harassing us! Many animals are spotted on our last day on the Kapikotongwa river. A strange seagull who sat and stared at us and refused to move – “nevermore” it quoteth, and we slowly backpaddled away, totally wierded out. Next, a large cow moose attempted suicide, probably to get away from the devilish bugs, by running out to the left bank in front of us, plunging in, swimming to within meters of us, then turning around, swimming back to where it started, and then jumping in once again to swim by us to the opposite shore. Three ospreys wheeled overhead, chirping angrily at us, advising us to steer clear of their nest. The second moose of the day is spotted swimming the river, and then three bald eagles take to flight in front of us, two parents and a juvenile. Multiple duck attacks are inflicted on us by sneak attack quackers, who spring from the weeds centimeters from our canoes, causing Outers to scream and shake, and invoke a variety of new duck directed expletives.
Chaos continues to reign with the weather; rain for ten minutes, then sun for ten minutes, then rain for ten more, then torrential rain and sun at the same time. Nobody knows what to do with their rain suits…leave them on or take them off? Sweat or freeze? The odds are more certain at a Nevada Casino. We arrive at the intended campsite on Stewart lake at 4:05. It is the worst bug-hole of the trip. Nobody could possibly donate enough blood to satisfy the myriad minute monsters occupying every square millimeter of this spot, so we retreat to some likely looking cliffs across the lake. A very nice, well used campsite is found, and Outers proceed to set up a cramped but cozy camp. A fresh meal of hamburger, vegetables and rice is cooked over a large fire pit under wet and gray skies, but spirits are high. Staff Haslam finds two perfectly good frying pans and a shovel, while Clavet finds an enormous eagle feather. After the most excellent supper is consumed, Outers settle into their tents for a long night of rain.
June 23/2004 Weather…..more of the same
Awake at 5:30 AM to a steady downpour. Staff Haslam decided to let the kids sleep in till 6:41, and then tells them to get up, but to leave the tents up and have a leisurely breakfast. Bacon, oatmeal and strawberries fill the void in the Outers’ stomachs as the brigade cooks turn out another masterful meal. The rain continues to fall steadily. Camp is finally packed up at 9:45. A strong Northwesterly wind sends the Outers flying down Stewart lake to the first port of the day, a nice little park-like trail of about 50 meters. Porting starts at 10:50 and ends an hour later. The next port indicated is at the entrance of Stone Lake, but water is high enough that we are able to paddle through. Stone Lake is a pristine spot. There are two outfitters camps on the lake, but there are seldom clients at the cabins. Pop tarts are consumed for lunch, and we leave for the campsite at 12:30. An hour later we arrive, about two thirds of the way down Stone lake. This is a unique site, with two rocky points and a small bay between them to park the canoes in. A fair amount of chainsawing is necessary to clear spots out for the tents. The staff has a spot on the North point and the students are camped on the south point, with a short trail connecting the two sites.
As a supper of beef stroganoff is prepared, intense bartering begins among the students. Chocolate bars, candies and even money are changing hands for one night’s rental of an air mattress. Snakes abound on the rocks, as do Lady Slippers. The Beef Stroganoff turns out to be a disaster, consumed only by “cast iron stomach” Joe. Everyone else is busy fishing. Team Staff is pulling in pickerel like crazy, while Team Student seems to be pike experts. It makes no matter, as anything with fins is cut up, cooked and eaten. Fishing continues till about 9:30, when the reality of a very hard portage tomorrow sends everyone to bed.
JUNE 24/2004 Gray and Wet
It rained throughout the night, along with a strong northerly wind. Staff up at 6:00 AM to see a Golden eagle and a seagull in a turf war. The seagull won, sending the Golden eagle off to parts unknown….some speculation as to whether this was the “Staring Seagull of Stewart lake”.
Breakfast was quickly prepared and eaten by 6:40, and Outers were on the water by 8:10. The port out of Stone Lake into Ara was reached at 8:41, and three hours and forty minutes of torture proceeded to unfold. This port has several distinguishing features. It has huge sections of blow down, along with several distinctive and stinky shoe-sucking mudholes. Although the clearing crew of the previous summer (Lavoies, Haslam, Arts) had built corduroy roads over the worst of the holes, the sinking, stinking quagmire of black goo had swallowed them like a four year old with ice cream. Outers crawled, slipped and squirmed their way over these as best as they could. Head Cook Chelsea Hunking lost a shoe in one particularly bad spot, and despite Haslam burying his arm up to the shoulder in the crap, the shoe was never retrieved. After Joe Salmonson experienced a similar occurrence, he borrowed the duct tape and taped his shoes to his feet. BL Taphorn impressed everyone with her catlike ability to leap from one dry spot to the next with a canoe over her head. Cook MacIver fell head over heels into the mud, all the while pleading with Staff Clavet to save her, while the sadist Cheryl laughed and filmed her sorry plight. By 12:20, the wet, odiferous and dirty Outers break out onto Ara Lake.
Although the weather is still gray and wet, the weather Gods have favoured us with a window of opportunity; light winds prevail for the hour it takes us to paddle to the end of Ara Lake. Ara is notorious for big waves, and American fisherman often die on this lake. It is a lake that demands a lot of respect, and five minutes after we get off it, the wind churns the waves up into three and four foot rollers.
There is some fresh bear sign at our campsite, so we triangulate the site, with the tents a few hundred yards from the kitchen. The site is less than perfect, but it is the last night and people are anxious to get home. A canoe convoy takes off on the muddy skidoo trail for the Ogoki road, and roughly an hour later, the two kilometer trail is finished. It is a nasty, wet piece of business, and it will prove to be the trying ground for the Outers tomorrow. Supper is served at six, and then promotions are given to the Outers.
Sharlene Koroscil Brigade leader
Aaren Taphorn Brigade leader
Marcel lavigne promoted to Brigade leader
Kyle Cloutier Assistant brigade leader
Chelsea Hunking Head Cook/Assistant brigade leader
Stephanie Koroscil Head Cook/Assistant Brigade leader
Slade Goulet Brigade leader
Michael Goodman Brigade leader
Jeremy Lush Acting brigade leader
Julie levesque Head Cook
Kaitlin Karhunen Head Fireman
Joe Salmonson Head Fireman
Nikki Fauvelle Head Cook
Sara MacIver Head Cook
Brandon Zehr Assistant brigade leader
FRIDAY JUNE 25/2004…..Strange weather continues
Camp woken at 6:00 AM, and begins to move down the horrible port at 8:15. Good progress is being made until about 9:00 when Head Cook Hunking falls on a stick which impales her leg. Staff Haslam and Nurse Clavet begin immediate treatment, and it is decided that Chelsea will have to be taken out to a hospital. Haslam uses the Sat phone to contact the school and ambulance. Staff Helkie is busy building a stretcher, and soon Chelsea is tied onto a wilderness express. Outers exhibit a heroic effort, carrying Chelsea through loonshit up to their waists. When the ambulance arrives, the attendants decide to send for the helicopter, as it is a rough three hour drive to Geraldton. At 10:40, Chelsea arrives at the highway at the same time as the helicopter, and minutes later she is airlifted to Thunder Bay. We later learn that she received stitches and was recovering at home the next day. Meanwhile, the heroic efforts of the Outers did not stop. Almost all of the gear was still two kilometers back on the trail, and the weary, dehydrated Outers began the trek back through the mud to bring everything forward. At 12:45, the porting is finished. Everyone is filthy, but that doesn’t stop them from eating. The bus and trailer are loaded, and at 1:30 the weary crew begins the long, bumpy, dusty journey home. The Outers shop is reached at 4:15, and the shop doors close for the last time at 5:30.
The 2004 Spring Trip was distinguished by high water and unusual weather. It will be remembered for bravery in the face of adversity, and for the heroic efforts that can be achieved when people ascend beyond their personal limitations for the good of the group.