July 10th, Day Four - The Push for the Work Site
"Good morning! It's Go Time! Let's pack up and head out to the work site," were
the waking words from my fellow crew mate Doug, the crew chief of the day. The foremen
assigned a fellow crew mate to lead the trek for the day, making him delegate
responsibilities. This was to go on throughout the whole trek with a new crew leader
everyday. The bad part about having Doug's job was that he has to be the first one
up and moving in the morning.
Puddles in font of the tents.
I got out of my tent only to take my first step in the cold morning into an eight
inch deep puddle! It sure was raining that morning, as we rushed to pack
up, eat breakfast, and head out.
As we traveled to the work site, the weather turned around to clear and
hot. We arrived at the work site just in time for a well earned meal, but before
we could eat, we faced our challenge.
The work site was a 90 rod portage, which is about a quarter of a mile. Each
portage length was measured in "rods". Each rod is the length of a canoe or about 16 feet long. This portage was one of the largest portages we had to make so far.
Prior to eating lunch, we huffed and puffed and managed to conquer the portage in
what seemed like days, but was in reality minutes. As we finally made it across,
we moved our canoes and gear to the side of the trail and ate lunch.
Organizing the tools
Our next objective was to learn how to use the tools and browse the trail for
projects. I thought I knew what every tool was, but how wrong was I. Pickmatics,
Cuttermatics, McClouds, were just a few tools that blew me away. In the trail, there
was an area where the last OA Voyage crew stored the tools in the safety of a tarp
hidden off the trail. There, we had our work goggles, hard-hats, and tools. We took
out all the tools and began our long lesson of safety and proper tool use. Later,
we walked through the trail to coordinate the projects that were to be accomplished
in the next couple of days. Everyone was on the same page and excited to work the next day.
After we finished our work site orientation, we packed the tools up properly
and got back to our canoes. Our campsite was right across the portage, probably
about five minutes away in our trusty canoes.
Relaxing and drinking coffee at the campsite.
We got to the campsite and set up camp, securing our canoes on a rock ledge.
The site was on a 30 foot ledge and had an excellent view. There were also some
small rocks on the edge of the water that we could use to jump off of when we
went swimming. The sunset was
beautiful that night, as we cooked dinner with screaming colors of reds and oranges
in the evening sky. The only downside of the evening was the overly annoying mosquitoes
and black flies nipping at my legs and arms. Note to future voyageurs: bring good
We had some evening coffee and lit a campfire, relaxing as the stars soon came
out. The night was just great. Popping corn on a fire with a hot cup of coffee in
your hand on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is by far the definition of bliss.
Our foremen also started to train us in Leave No Trace
and they assigned everyone a day in the week which we would train each other in
this subject. We would all be certified in Leave No Trace by the end of the trek.
Shortly after that, we all reflected upon the day and hit our sleeping bags. I had
a chance to get to know my tent mate, 2003 National Vice Chief Rich Moore, as we
stayed up talking for some time. It was relaxing to know that we didn't have to
pack up the site the next morning. I was looking forward to a day in the trail,
getting dirty, and doing some hard work.
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