By Dave Ortland
Well, I have no Important Announcements to make, and I don’t feel like giving any admonishing lectures, other than to say that you are almost certainly not doing enough paddling, so I guess I’ll just tell a story.
Trip leading is a joyful endeavor I recommend for everyone, since it's all about creating fun. After my latest San Juan Adventure last weekend I found myself thinking about my first experience as a trip leader. This goes back to my senior year in high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy in northern Michigan. The school is situated between Duck and Green Lakes, which are connected by a river. In the summer Interlochen hosts several music camps, which involves not only a lot of band and orchestra rehearsals, but also water sports, including canoeing. The canoes are kept in a boat house on one of the lakes. One early spring day I discovered that the locked boat house door was quite easily opened using my school ID card.
This gave me an idea. During rehearsal the next day I rounded up a band of miscreants and set my plan in motion. We first hiked to the local mini mart for picnic supplies. Some fake IDs may have been involved. Then, stealing out of the dormitories at night with our feast, we found our way to the canoes, freed them from winter storage, and set of in a flotilla down the wooded river between the lakes. There were no rapids to navigate, bet there were many meanders and log jams that were expertly avoided using mouth-held flashlights.
By dawns first light we found our way to the other side of the lake where we finished our picnic on the beach. This was cut short as rain began to fall, so we stored out canoes in the camp cabins, which were also easily opened with the school ID card. I'm sure camp coucellors were quite surprised when they opened the camp in the summer. the trip ended as we slipped back to bed before the dorm mothers knew we were gone.
I think all WKC trips should be led with some such mischief in mind. I endeavor to do so with most of mine. And thanks to my WKC paddle pals, my adventures are once again returning to the rivers.