Leaving everything but a few possessions behind to find yourself paddling downstream, with a wall of rock and forest surrounding you, and the sun on your back is as good a getaway as any in my books. I was glad to see many familiar faces and many new agreeing with me for this year’s Annual Canoe trip. We all met up at Achray Campground on the Thursday evening—building a fire, cooking banana boats, and chatting about life with Type 1 diabetes and our goals for the trip.
I managed to play a bit of musical canoes throughout the trip and paddle for a bit with most of the people out for the weekend. It’s always interesting to hear why people decided to come out to CIM programming, but this outing the reasoning appeared two-fold for many. Everyone on the trip seemed to have some tripping experience, but it was from when they were younger and, for some, before diabetes. The other reason people cited is one we hear a lot—to find a community and support in living with Type 1 diabetes.
I hope that everyone that came out found both things, because it was one heck of a trip! After the night at Achray, we headed out on the waters of Highfalls Lake. The weather was perfect, the scenery beautiful, and the company the best. It was an eventful day of paddling and getting to know one another, but it almost couldn’t compare to the following day’s epicness.
The group got up bright and early Saturday morning to start paddling, only to realize that the day would be less paddle and more portage. We all trudged through a total of 7 buggy portages, carrying packs of gear, food barrels, paddles and canoes with us. No one complained, but instead took the opportunity to chat, help one another out, and keep moving forward towards the day’s destination goal.
Had anyone complained, however, they would have stopped at the sight of the end of our final portage: the Barron Canyon. The scenery and peacefulness of the wide river surrounded by tall cliffs of rock and forest were well worth any portage. Moving with the current of the river, we quickly made it to the evening’s campsite to relax after a long hard day.
By the time we reached the end of the weekend together the journey seemed both long and short at the same time. Short, because it felt like we had only just begun our trek. Long, because the intensity of the past few days meant a feeling of knowing the others in the group well beyond the hours spent together. To me, that is the best combination for a trip out with friends, old and new.
Special thanks goes out to Amy and Julie for guiding the trip and leading the group. Also, thanks to everyone that came out for the weekend: it was a pleasure to spend time with you and I hope to see you all again soon.