On the night of Monday to Tuesday, while winter camping on the lake, something supernatural happened. Around 3 a.m., when the clouds had cleared just enough to frame the big dipper and a bright half moon, believe it or not several people transformed into Triton; I would dare say that they were downright “tritonized”.
Let me explain: The god Triton, (see the blog of the day before yesterday), played music on a triton (conch) shell. You can bet I was treated to a whole concert: it sounded roundly over the whole range! A thunderous symphony of soaring trumpets. Moreover, this afternoon I learned from Nicolas (who learned it from the director of the Paris Opera who had vacationed at the Seigneurie), that a ”tritone” in classical music is an interval of two notes that are three whole tones apart. It is frowned on to play this interval since it is so unpleasant to the ear that it is often referred to as “the devil’s interval”. Knowing this and knowing how the Devil likes to show up in Quebec legends, I think that the concept of the Triton – his musical instrument and the dubious quality of his chords ̶ begins to really transform the participants and attendees. They are slowly becoming more and more one with the territory and its history.
We all woke up a little worse for wear from this first musical night in the tent. Some struggled with the cold or the heat, or both at the same time. Others lost the war against the wet inner wall of the tent or against the wood stove (snow on outdoor equipment melts quickly!). Fortunately, a mild morning caressed our faces and tickled us with a few flakes. Breakfast burritos today, enough to feed us well in anticipation of the longest hiking day of the expedition: a big 12km! Nice challenge!
We walked, alone or in pairs or trios. Lots of talking again – we have things to say. Between two “cancer jokes”, we wove stories and unraveled them; no two are the same. Together, we climbed valleys and crossed lakes. The track criss-crossed the forest like our memories. The trees listened and recorded our shared secrets, the forest is getting to know us.
Back at camp, the first arrivals welcomed those following with a display of honor. A spontaneous chorus of the great Queen classic, “We are the champions…”.
Some statistics: we were in motion for 5 hours at a sustained pace of more than 2 km per hour. Many noticed that Félycia flew across the lake without ever stopping, even without snowshoes. Legend has it that she has a superpower, we compare her to a deer or an elk!
Fatigue, pride and a little euphoria set in. After some free time to rest and change, the group decided to open their surprise “high and low “package. I can’t tell you much about this secret tradition of foundation expeditions. It involves a package to be opened, all at once, during a particularly brilliant or particularly confusing moment. We were definitely flirting with the brilliant at the end of the afternoon.
Tonight, after a dinner of cream of mushroom soup and pasta carbonara with lots (lots!) of bacon, there was a mountain of homemade cookies to eat. Catherine came up with a great way to share the dessert; the idea was to offer a cookie to someone else by telling that person why they deserve this nice gesture and thus to create a chain of beautiful words accompanied by sweet treats! Nice idea!
After this dose of shared recognition, Julien proposed a mid-expedition reflection based on the stars and the sun. The stars refer to highlights of the trip and the sun is something we want to act on or experience by the end of the trip; something to focus on. This discussion took place in a “popcorn” way. Let me explain to you, according to Julien who suggested the metaphor, it means that we put the bag of the discussion in the metaphorical microwave and wait for our seeds to be ready to “pop” (or explode). It means that everyone can speak up when he or she feels ready to. As with the bag in the microwave, often there is a moment of silence at the beginning, but eventually, one explosion sets off another, then the right temperature is reached and the chain reaction makes many people want to share. Pop, pop, POP! He also explained that when the cooking time is over and you open the bag, some grains are left unexploded; this means that it is possible to keep your thoughts to yourself and take them with you to your sleeping bag. Interesting analogy!
The sharing was really rich and sweet. Among the stars were:
“The moment I collapsed in the snow after today’s long walk, I was exhausted and felt like I had accomplished something.”
“The moment when we all sang together for musical chairs. I was emotional, I connected to the moment and I told myself that this was real life: being with beautiful people in nature.”
“Musical chairs! It’s been a century since I connected so much to my child’s heart.”
“During the walk today, I had time to have beautiful and long deep conversations with different people; I feel honored by each of these exchanges, I do not take them for granted.”
“The time the whole gang just chilled out in the hot sun at the end of the afternoon, after the intense survival workshop.”
“Waking up to the soft music of the banjo; no alarm or rush.”
“Today, putting on and taking off layers of clothes, I felt good and connected to my body. It was the first time I had taken the time to consciously experience this and I felt happy knowing that I had this power over myself, to manage my temperature and to feel perfectly comfortable outdoors. It increased my confidence.”
And for the suns:
“I grew up as an only child, so I’m used to being alone and I’m fine with that, but here I want to remind myself to take every second to enjoy the rich presence of others. Our time together is running out!”
“I overcame my fear of walking on the frozen lake; so much so that I would like to touch the water of the lake with my hands.”
“I can’t wait to sleep in the tent again with more confidence, after the experience ofthe first night.”
“I can’t wait to climb the mountain tomorrow and push my limits.”
“I like the idea of hiking again tomorrow, but I’m especially looking forward to the post-hike time when we can all just chill together and relax.”
“I hope to go sledding again!”
“I hope we will keep this great group dynamic until the end and finish the trip with a gigantic group-hug.”
It’s getting pretty late, everyone’s eyes are getting sleepy. Warm log cabins are
beckoning the participants to come for a well-deserved rest.
Dear readers, good night!
Blogger-Photographer for the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation