Thursday, July 14, 2011

Water Sports

 July 12, 2011
Not by design, but by happenstance, this turns out to be a day filled with water sports. 

Fishing:  Our Morning Program is entitled Fisheries Management.  Fortunately, it turns out to be much more fun than it sounds like from the title.  We stare down the local fish species in a huge aquarium tank that fills one wall of our classroom, learn about brook trout and their habitat, then hike to a stream that we recognize immediately as the perfect habitat for brook trout.  The hike includes 248 stair steps down the side of a very steep hill.    

This is a photo looking down on the stream and boardwalk from the top of the ridge, where the trail begins.

Before fishing, the boys make a stream on a water table, and modify it to improve it as trout habitat. 

Then they use nets in the trout stream to catch trout food (bugs and minnows). 

Finally, they get fishing rods, bait their hooks with meal worms and drop them in the stream.  Within two minutes of dropping his line, Andrew pulls up the first fish of the day.  He catches two more, and another (his biggest) gets away.  He is the run-away winner in this fish derby. 

The grandparents slowly slog and pant their way back up the sloping trail and its 248 stairs, while the boys run ahead, eager for lunch and the next adventure.

Swimming:  The kids have an outing to the lake without grandparents.  There Andrew gets in the water long enough to pass the swim test, then gets out because it really is too cold to swim.  They play games and make ice cream from scratch.  

Laundry:  We engage in a much needed water sport—laundry, and an even more needed activity--relaxation.  When we dug around to find Andrew’s beach towel for his swimming outing, we realized that the beach towels we used at the water park were still damp, and after moldering in a beach bag for all this time, a little laundering would do them a world of good. We are happy to have this excuse to skip the grandparents program that runs concurrently with the kids program, because we have hit our limit on back-to-back organized activity, and we know we have a busy night ahead of us.

Canoeing:  After dinner, we hike down to the lake for a pleasant little paddle in the canoes.  Our relaxing paddle turns into a more spirited water sport when we spot a beaver swimming across the lake.

Beaver Chase:  You’ve heard of Steeple Chase, but it can’t hold a candle to beaver chase.  We try to paddle over to the beaver, but every time we get close, he slaps his tail on the water and dives.  Then we watch for him to come up someplace else far across the lake, and  paddle hard in that direction, only to have him dive again when we get close.  Eventually, more beavers arrive, so we have more targets to chase.  We are sure the beavers are quite relieved when our counselors call us off the lake at the end of our designated canoeing session.

Our final activity of the day is not a water sport, but a Logging Camp Life presentation by our very talented Voyageur guide from yesterday, who tonight plays the role of a very amusing lumberjack cook.  He gives kids in the audience laminated cards with lumberjack lingo phrases on them and the English translations on the back, then interviews them for a job at the logging camp, urging them to read their cards to establish to him that they are real lumberjacks who can talk the talk.  Along the way, he talks about all aspects of life at a logging camp (and Wolf Ridge is near the site of an old logging camp).   Behind him he projects a Power Point slide show of scenes from logging camps that illustrate his talk, but we have no idea where he is hiding his remote control. He has lots of lumberjack jokes and funny stories, but between the laughs, we all learn a lot about the rough tough life of lumberjacks.

Then, we come back to our dorm, where our nightly cookie snack and hot chocolate awaits us.  We are eating like lumberjacks, but not working quite as hard as lumberjacks.  We fear the bathroom scale will tell the tale when we get home.

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