WLIT Solo Trips
Today is one of my favourite days at camp – the day that the WLIT’s return triumphantly from their 3-day solo trips. The solo is one of the most challenging, and therefore rewarding, aspects of the Wanapitei Wilderness in Training Program. Each 16-year-old WLIT leaves camp on day one paddling his/her canoe. In the winds of Lake Temagami, this in itself is a great accomplishment – just paddling a canoe solo over large, open, distances. WLIT’s travel in buddy pairs and then set up camp alone. For each it is the first time setting up their tent, and tarp with no assistance – starting a campfire and cooking their own food. Some come back to camp on day three hungry, while others are proud of their campfire cooking prowess.
And then there is that other part of the solo experience – the being alone part. Being alone for long periods of time. Being alone with no screen to look at, no friend to text, no pre-recorded form of entertainment. Here is where a 16-year old faces herself/himself. A choice presents itself between boredom and quiet contentment in the wilderness.
On day three (today) the WLIT’s gather each in a canoe about 800 metres from the bridge. The entire camp community gathers on the bridge to welcome them in. I enjoy studying each face – the look of joy and accomplishment. And each WLIT has their own story to own.