On the second day of the journey, the participants reach the point where standing together is paramount; that is what makes us stronger. Together, we go further. Like the young people who join the expeditions with the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation, the participants break the walls that separate them from others and share what they really are.
The atmosphere of group warmth spreads good humour all around. After a cold night, participants enjoy laughter and good coffee before leaving. With the blue sky and the sun, it is hard to believe that the day would be physically and psychologically difficult for some in the group.
The group takes a moment of introspection on the situation. Some share their personal challenges, outdoors tips and tricks that they have developed through trial and error in recent years.
“The first time I did the Challenge, I had mismanaged my energy. Unfortunately, I had to set aside my pride and accept the help of others. I had to get someone else to pull my sled. At the time, I was ashamed, but at least I was able to finish the journey. This time, I am paying attention to my needs and to the signs and advice of others. I learn something every time…”
After a while, the group slowly dissipates. It is as if everyone needed to be alone, in silence, in full consciousness.
Nevertheless, the flame of the beginning remains. Some are smiling and winking at each other. “It’s just a walk…”
“It’s just cancer…”; the words expressing all the courage of Marie-Hélène still echo in our minds.
As the tents appear in the distance towards the end of the afternoon, participants gather and move forward in line. There is renewed energy and finally, some hope at the end of the road.
“The hot soup will be good!”
It is in moments of adversity that we see the importance of “togetherness” and of life’s simple things such as eating, drinking, sleeping and helping others. That is foundation.
There are times in life when we must break through walls separating us from others to continue to move on.
Pride has no place in an expedition.
Reaching out to others to ensure success means giving new meaning to one’s own purpose.
Laura Ducharme, Blogger and Photographer for On the Tips of the Toes Foundation