Within a day of meeting Jack Ryan, he was saving my butt from a gnarly swim on the Clearwater River at a kayaking festival.
Today, he continued to keep me afloat. This time, in a different sense.
From a packed motel room to a packed vehicle, we leave Smithers early morning to make it to Dease Lake by dark.
On the way, we make a spontaneous pit stop at Mehan Lake. It is here that Steve gives me the nod to power swim across the lake. I joke how I am like the family puppy, in constant need of burning energy. Love, cuddles, and pee breaks too. While I am more often nicknamed “the mermaid” I’ve also been titled “the fairy” one too many times as well.
Continuing on, Laura spots her first-ever Moose. Sadly, no, it is not on the loose. Instead, it’s stuffed and in a cafe called Tattoga along the side of the highway. Regardless, it’s a worthy mention. And so is the fact that this is the day we first see (and touch!) The Stikine.
Upon arrival to Dease Lake, staying at Water’s Edge Campsite, the adventurous Jack instantly pulls out his hammock. He heads down the hill and towards the creek. I follow with one of my own (a purchase totally inspired by Jack. I learned about his love for hammock-sleeping the same weekend we met at the kayak festival. I bought my own thereafter).
Scoping a place to set up, Jack jumps across the creek.
“This will do it,” he says, proceeding to set up his floating shack for the evening directly across the moving water.
In testing it out, “Rule number one,” he says to me, making his way inside.
“No shoes in the hammock.”
Pleased with his set-up, he jumps back over the creek. Walking over to my chosen location, showing me how to properly tie ropes to trees and the hammock to the rope, I get rule number two. And three and four:
“Get in your sleeping bag before getting inside.”
“Have a spare set of thermals inside your hammock.”
“And always pee before bed.”
Before doing any of the above, however, I suddenly find myself pulled from the clouds I typically live in and brought right back down to earth attending our evening campfire session. This is right after meeting Rachel, one of our trip leaders who has just joined us from another expedition. We skipped straight to a cozy icebreaker by skipping rocks with her at the lake…
But let’s skip back to the point now.
What brings me back down to earth is Steve introducing ANCHOR to the group, explaining how when he played this game with younger kids, he was surprised how much it had caught on like wildfire. It’s used as a way to review the day around the campfire each night. Playing ANCHOR, (using it’s is an acronym for guided duscussion) provides some structure and routine to the discourse to create magic uncoverings.
This is precisely the moment I began calling him El Capitain. Not only is it written on his tent. This man, for this very moment, will always be one of my Captains. (Give Thanks for teaching me ANCHOR.)
“We’re all like pieces to a puzzle,” says Jon, as the first-ever team debrief comes to a close.
“It’s just a matter of taking each piece out of the box to see what we are working with. By the end, we will be able to make sense of it all.”
It’s a story, of a story, of a story…
Here’s to finally having all of our moving pieces together. And on the ground.
A Big Welcome to Rachel!