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Kayaking Into the Wilderness

A group of forty-nine Jans and partners kayaked into the Green Mountain National Forest in the Vermont woods carrying only what could be stored in our boats over the weekend of June 30th. The trip was organized and led by Michael Schnitman, NI, a master camper.

We headed out across a gorgeous lake, some donning water guns, others floaties, still others passing out candy to those paddling nearby. As the only ones on the lake, the bright colors of the kayaks and gear against the misty backdrop made for a striking scene. Whether it was due to weather or some strange alignment of the planets, there were whitecaps in the lake, making our journey a soggy and exciting one.

After six months of the good life at HBS, it was great fun to watch the group adjust to roughing it. We cooked our food over an open fire, slept in tents, and had to hang food in trees overnight as a precaution against bears.

The entire endeavor was made more challenging by the weather. Just as we slid into our rocky edge of the forest to camp, the heavens unleashed. Never before have I seen such efficient set-up of a campsite. Tents were up, fires were blazing and someone had found extra wood in about 30 minutes. Mardie is still unsure how they pulled it off since she was madly trying to put up her rented tent.

The cuisine ranged from spaghetti to steak, but the French impressed all of us with their culinary skills in the Spartan conditions by preparing a fancy banana flamb‚ with melted chocolate for dessert. Incredible! Still, I am not too sure what the purists would say about the Franzia wine in the box…
We naively assumed that our trip, not Section H’s (see page 10) would be most at risk for bear sightings, being in the woods and all. So after several ineffective attempts to hang food, toothpaste and drinks for 49 people in the trees, we took another approach. Trevor (a.k.a. MacGyver) fashioned an anchor with a large rock and some twine and launched a food-ladened kayak out into the lake (do bears swim?).

The highlight of the trip was kayaking to and from the campsite. All food and camping equipment was crammed into each kayak. The trip took about 2 hours one way to cross the lake and was a great workout. The Green Mountain region is lush and unspoiled- and just 3 hours from campus. It was a fabulous trip, and this group will be planning more.

According to Mardie, there is something about roughing it with friends, peeing in the woods, and not bathing that is relaxing, cleansing and rejuvenating to the soul.

July 16, 2001
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