When looking at the past 20 days of the expedition, it definitely does not feel like I have been in the backcountry for this long. We started the journey with some boulder-hopping down Wilson Creek, followed by a day of funyaking, and then lots of canoeing with some resting and service along the way. I personally have enjoyed every minute of this expedition so far and cannot wait for the transition into sea-kayaks. I have learned many useful tools that can apply both in the backcountry and out. The thing I am most impressed with myself about is that I now eat just about anything. During these 20 days, I have tried and now enjoy foods such as tomatoes, tabouli, hummus, avocado, salmon, tuna, and many others. Backcountry food is definitely much better than fast-food by far. Probably the most refreshing part about this trip is the ability to live simply. Usually being a heavy packer and worrying about how to organize my many different items, I have learned to condense and get rid of more stuff than ever in my life. It is an awesome feeling to be able to travel for weeks with only a pack, a couple pairs of clothing, food, and myself. Also, being without technology for the most part has shown me that it is truly not necessary and mostly overused.
It is also amazing to see how the water has changed throughout this trip. When I signed up for this trip, I had no canoeing or kayaking experience at all. I was in it for the ride, and I am now addicted to water. Going from boulder-hopping on a small creek, to canoeing down a medium-sized river, and on to huge lakes has been a real experience in showing what water-ways have become. However, my favorite parts of canoeing were definitely the days when we navigated through rapids, saw wildlife, and were far away from any civilization. Being away from real life is amazing, and I will definitely be sad to return to civilization.
Meredith is from Gastonia, North Carolina. She is a freshman Recreational Management major, and really enjoys the outdoors.