SEVENCOMMANDERMI wake up in the morning to realize my shirt is on backwards.

Partnered with Barry, oh sweet, sweet Barry, he tells me I get to sit in the back of the canoe today. This is the first I will ever be steering a canoe!

(Well, I suppose I did from the front all day yesterday… but that’s just a little bit… backwards 😉

As we are about to all push off from shore, Alexa says to Steve:

IMG 2875“I don’t think I am going to be able to get you off.”

The group bursts out in hysterics.

This sets the tone for the day, as in only moments later, we are staring at the most gorgeous of settings, including a mountain known as Commander Mountain.

While I spend most of the day starting at the back of Barry’s head, what I realize is how his lessons are what keeps us moving forward. Also, it helps that what I am reading is this:

“Make sure you tell me where you want to go so I paddle with you and not against you,” he says.

“Also, with every stroke, be mindful of making a slight correction, but not too much.”

DAYSEVEN.AuntJThis makes me think of the process of self-observation. How watching one’s actions is key to living consciously. But too much and one can quickly find themselves lost in their own little world…

“Whoopsie!” Barry suddenly exclaims.

As we paddle through a bit of an obstacle course, he shares how he has just realized something of importance.

“Sometimes I can be through something, not realizing in the back you are not.”

After spotting three seals, and seeing “a hell of a lot of eagles,” says Steve, we find ourselves, yet again, at the most blissful campsite. There’s a waterfall. A great spot for a fire. And even, a little swimming pool! This peaks my curiosity. I ask Steve what makes a good campsite. His answers:

  • Flat land
  • Visibility of everyone’s tent
  • Water supply (but it’s not always necessary)

Then, Jack takes it upon himself to set up his hammock in a set of trees IN the middle of the water. As he tinkers away, I tell Alexa, on dinner duty, she is like the “Aunt Jemima of camping.” This is the response I get out of her, pictured right.


Rachel, still not feeling well, turns to me and says, “I wish there was a switch to shut my brain off.”

Trusting in endless methods – laughter being the top of the list –  we soon find ourselves playing Frisbee. One thing leads to another, and suddenly the Frisbee finds its way into the river. Like little kids, Rachel and I race to the water in a panic. She grabs a paddle from the canoe…


Submerging the mind, here we find ourselves beside ourselves but beside each other laughing…

She is then able to finally head to the bushes!


By nightfall, Rachel’s mojo is back. Her piece to the “group puzzle” suddenly becomes so clear. Central. Integral, even. Playing a mini guitar (actually called the Guitalele), I learn how this magical human being is in fact a human Juke Box. She knows every song under the night’s sky. She keeps us entertained for hours. (Along with the fact that Barry has fallen off his chair, now on the flat of his back. This leaves all of us keeled over on our fronts. MORE laughing.)

As the night comes full circle (Jack realizing he has a wet bum trying to sleep in the middle of a river), Steve pulls out a book. He reads us a beautiful passage on perspective. And how everything, essentially, is about perspective.

It’s a story of a story of a story…

Here’s to the vantage point of the back of Barry’s head.


Taking a Break

Thank you for your kindness, love & support over the years, but Flexpeditions will be closing for a break… to actually get back to more family time and nature.

We have absolutely loved all of the people who came on adventures with us over the last decade and all of the support from the Flexpeditions fans. And to those who doubted us – we made big things happen – we spent time connecting people in the outdoors to themselves, each other and their surroundings through adventure & outdoor education.

We offered programs and gave awesome adventure jobs to Revy folk for 10 years- a decade! We taught lots of kids how to climb, put people out in the water, and equipped the new generation with great foundational survival skills… in the forest or in life!

Amy Flexman