Another first: the first full day on the river, the first day without the convenience of modern life. The schedule will be adapted according to Mother Nature’s goodwill since wind, and perhaps rain is forecasted. We’ll adapt; it’s not the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last.
None of the participants have any means of knowing what time it is. So, it has us live more in the present moment. We get up early for some while others have been chatting away since almost sunrise. Once again, an excellent breakfast was prepared by the guides’ team.
And it’s time to fill our barrels and unpack, fold and store the tents in them. What will become a well-oiled process as the days go by is still in the stage of organized disorder. Let’s just say there’s still an artistic vagueness around how things are done. But it’s all part of the learning process.
Speaking of learning, some of us, who carelessly set up their tent and flysheet yesterday, realized the reasons for a flysheet, especially when camping near a body of water. As the forecast calls for rain this evening or this night, it is certain that it will be taken more seriously.
There’s a change in groups: today I team up with Maxime. The Mistassini is still just as splendid, often framed between walls of sand crowned by spruce trees. When there is no curve to cut the fetch, and as we are heading almost straight south, we take the wind straight front and with quite a bit of strength in certain areas. You have to press more on the oars to pass these zones.
Apart from that, the flotilla moves on like the accordion, it stretches and regroups according to the regular breaks that we take to allow everyone the opportunity to keep well hydrated.
At lunch time, a small group discussion to check whether we are respecting the values and limits that we have given ourselves and what could be done to improve the evolution of our group.
Naïla, our nurse who usually works in the Far North, pops a question: You’re having a dinner party and you can invite whoever you want, dead or alive. Who will you invite?
The answers range from Churchill to Jean Leloup and Fred Pellerin, Monet, Stephen King, Santa Claus, Michelle Obama, Martin Gray, Michael Jackson, the author of the manga “Beserk” (he is dead and we would like to know the end). The list is rather eclectic and comes from all sides, it’s very entertaining and helps pass the time.
With Maxime, we discuss school career, where he sees himself career-wise in the future, travels and rowing techniques.
We arrive at the camp at the end of the afternoon, on a very, very large sandy beach. And it is obvious that something has been learned, as the tents are set up and the assigned tasks are carried out much more quickly.
As I write these last words, rain is starting to fall. There’s even some thunder. Everyone is in a dry place, tasks have been carried out; the only thing left is waiting for the gloomy weather to pass before heading for supper.
– Louis-Étienne Prévost, Blogger and Photographer for the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation