I spent four days this week doing my first out trip with work. I work with young people who get in trouble with the law; at a camp in the wilderness where they live for four months. In the summer we take them on hiking and canoe trips. This week was my first canoe trip with the group. We planned a four night, 5 day trip, a six hour drive near Alexis Creek in the Chilkooten area of British Columbia. This is an area I have not spent much time in, and only once went through passing through Bella Cola on the coast when I went commercial fishing when I was 17. I didn't even know we were doing the trip with work until I showed up to work 30 minutes late driving back from the Rockies. Luckily that I am homeless now and had all my outdoor gear in my car.
The first three hours we drove on paved highway, and then three more hours on a dirt road. We were delayed quite a bit by cows sitting in the middle of the road. Some of the kids were from Vancouver and hadn't spent much time out of the city, and were quite amused by the fact that there were cows just out on the road hanging out. We never ran into anyone else for the next 5 days other than one canoe we saw way in the distance who never approached us. Each day we would set up camp, sleep, take it down the next morning and move on to the next camp spot by canoe. We had 6 canoes and one kayak. When we would get to the end of one lake we would either have to canoe down creeks to the next lake, or carry are canoes and gear on are heads and walk down trails until we got to the next lake. We saw some deer, a bunch of white pelicans, but the best part was defiantly the fishing. There were a few spots on the lakes where there were always fish jumping, and everyone on the trip caught at least one fish (25 in two hours), even the kids who hadn't ever fished before. We would cook the trout up over the fire and then eat them with are hands :) It reminded me of my 16 months in Nunavut, eating seals, whale and fish straight out of the ocean! There wasn't much fruit and veggies packed on the trip, so I learned about these small red berries that were everywhere, and had a high vitamin C content. I loved the berries, but few others shared my tastes because of the sourness of them.
One side trip we did was to a water fall on the ridge of the lake that took us a while to hike up to. Water was shooting off the cliff and into the ground. Me and a bunch of others hiked to the bottom of it and had fun playing around and cooling down.
Unfortunately I can not share pictures of the youth from the trip for confidentiality reasons, but I can assure you most of them had a blast, we we were all very tired when on Friday we got back to main camp. This was one week where I am super happy that I work where I do, and I feel the connections you can gain with people in these types of experiences are unlike those you can develop by just sitting around! I suggest doing trips like this if you can at least once a year, as they are tough work, but very peaceful and can bring out your inner wild man or woman!