The rhythmic plunge of each paddle stroke draws us closer and closer. The glint off the solar panel is a beacon, guiding the way to our destination; Arcadia is in sight. Seven red and green canoes glide across the dark waters of Massawepie. Each craft guided by expert paddlers with their newly fine-tuned J-strokes and cross bow draws. A soft breeze dances across the lake. A fish jumps near the distant shore, and the haunting cry of loon echoes through the stillness. With each stroke drawing twelve students and two instructors closer, a hush falls over the group.
A glance around shows a mixed array of emotions. Excitement runs high on some faces, and underlying nervousness and anxiety is seen on others. But they all have an understanding that they have no idea what to expect from the upcoming months. Most of all there is a tiredness, and desire for their arduous journey to be done. A journey that began long ago at Cathy's house playing ultimate frisbee and hacky sack in the yard, to the physical and mental challenges that bonded the group on the expedition, such as canoeing twenty-one miles, carrying a canoe overhead three miles, and paddling upstream on Dead Creek three and a half hours covering roughly two of the most windy river miles in the Adirondacks.
Thunk....the gunwale of the canoe meets the dock. We are here. All feelings of uneasiness and apprehension are gone. We are here together, our journey has begun.