I’m back bitches

I came back from my second TROOP trip yesterday. You may remember that I went on this trip for the first time last year…after avoiding it for several years. I had an amazing time last year, so decided to volunteer for the trip again this year. Even though it was my second time, I was quite nervous going in. I did not know many people on the trip, only the coordinators, and was worried about whether or not I would get along with everybody. I also was worried about the shitting situation. Last year, I held it too long and then had to wake my tent mate to go to the thunder box with me in the middle of the night. I was very concerned that it would happen again this year, and I would not have tent mates that were as accommodating. I was also a bit nervous because I saw on the website that there had been a rattlesnake on site this year!

It was all good though.

We had a great group this year. There were a lot of adults, and obviously I got along with some better than others, but certainly there were no issues. The kids were also good. They were much older this year, we had a group of teenagers, most of them male. That was fun, and certainly made the portaging a lot easier! Teenage boys do, after all, like to show off how strong they are. One effective way to do that is to carry a canoe or large bag on ones back! The two teen girls on the trip were very sweet (yet tough! great girls) and I spent a lot of time with them.

Although my lovely tent mates would have been perfectly fine with walking with me in the middle of the night, but because I wasn’t as nervous about using the box… I took care of that earlier and had no issues.

No rattlesnakes.

Even though the things I was concerned about did not end up being problems at all, that’s not to say there were not challenges this year. One of the challenges was that it started to rain quite heavily and with a lot of wind during the second portion of the canoe to our campsite. It made it a very difficult canoe, as paddling was rough. It also meant that we were pretty damn cold! The rain continued into the evening into overnight. Sleeping was freezing, I could not get warm enough and finally fell asleep after I had somehow managed to get my entire body into my hoodie! In the morning when I woke up after being crunched up like that, I was very uncomfortable! My left elbow was not happy and my muscles and joints took a long time to loosen up. When I had been trying to sleep through the rain and cold, I was very concerned about that weather continuing through the whole trip… Which would just be miserable! I have to say that there were certainly moments that first night when I wished I had not gone at all, or that I had brought warmer clothes and rainwear!

Luckily, the weather did clear up after that. It never got very warm, but there were certainly times when it was warm enough in the sun to wear shorts and a tank top, and even to swim a little. Not many people swam, but I did. On the second day I also did most of my Ashtanga practice on a large rock called the frying pan. I could do everything, there was some poses that obviously would not work on a rock…but I did most of it and it felt great to do it outdoors under the sun alone! On that day I also challenged myself to look over the side of the cliff… It was close to but not the same cliff I looked over last year! Once again I was quite scared to do it, but glad I challenged myself. Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of that moment!

The only picture of myself I really like from this trip was one that the Coordinator caught in the morning, when I was watching the sunrise. I was always the first one out. At home I usually wake up around six in the morning, go to the bathroom, and go back to bed. At TROOP, it is just not comfortable enough to bother going back to bed and risk waking tent mates …so instead after I awoke in the early morning, I would go sit and watch the sunrise and meditate…sort of. I don’t really meditate, but zoning out! Here is a picture of me doing just that, around 6am!

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Even though there were certainly some difficult moments in the trip, and even moments when I wondered if I should of gone, and the end I am very glad I did. I met some great people. The Youth all did great and gained something from the trip. I loved the portaging and canoeing and quiet.

When I tell people about portaging they often think it sounds awful. It is hard, but also a great teamwork exercise, and there is a great sense of accomplishment at the end.

For me this trip is also a reminder if how far I’ve come. 4+ years ago I would not have been able to do this trip…not well anyways…for physical reasons (I would not have had the strength or energy to portage or canoe or even climb to the cliffs very effectively) as well as not having the confidence for the challenge of both the physical aspects of the trip and being so far from my (not so outdoorsy) comfort zone.

P.S. I did NOT bring my iPhone.

P.P. S. I had also been worried about the eating thing…both Gluten, and MFP. It  was all good though.  I avoided Gluten easily, just eating the meat and cheese when we made sandwiches, meatballs from the spaghetti (which likely had some breadcrumbs, but I am not that sensitive) Hot-dogs (which were gluten free) without the buns, and filling in with Kind bars and rice cakes and trail mix when I was still a bit hungry. I did indulge in treats a little (marshmallows, some potato chips) but since I was so active, when I logged in MFP later (it gives extra calorie allowance for activity) I was within my allotment for the trip. I also did not gain weight while there.

 

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