Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What happened last Wednesday through Friday

It began Wednesday the 26th at 5:15 am. 

No, Miss Sofi Bug did not wakeup sick again. No hair holding! Thankfully!

Miss Emma Bean and I were getting ready to meet the rest of her 5th grade class at the school for a 3 day, 2 night field trip to Deep PortageDeep Portage is an amazing environmental learning center in Hackensack Minnesota.

The students at our elementary school look forward to this annual, 5th grade trip with great anticipation! The last day of their 4th grade year instead of hearing children say, "Hurray for summer" they exclaim, "We get to go to Deep Portage next year!"

So it was that Miss Emma Bean and I were up at 5:15 so we could be at her school by 6:20, packed with 74 other students and 16 adult chaperones and teachers onto two charter buses, and on our way to adventure!

Our days were filled with canoeing on a beautiful little pond.

And hiking!

We climbed the indoor climbing wall.

At first Miss Emma Bean was not at all sure about trying it out! A little encouragement from her friends and the staff at Deep Portage changed her mind. She decided to give it a go! I was so proud!

I really appreciated that the staff encouraged the kids to try each activity, but were completely understanding if a child was not comfortable participating! They were fantastic!

And then we went on a late night wolf howling hike!

And Thursday morning we went on an early morning hike!

The mist rising off of Big Deep Lake was beautiful!

We learned to shoot with a bow and arrow! There were several children who shot a bullseye. I was very impressed with my little group!

The children were divided into groups of about 12 students with two adult chaperones. The teachers floated between the different groups of students. It worked out very well!

From archery we moved on to do some team building activities. One of the most incredible things the kids take away from the trip to Deep Portage is a greater understanding of how to work well with others.

One team building activity had the children swing, one at a time, across the "lava" to land on a small platform. In other words feet must land on the small platform! No touching the ground! The students had to help hold each other on the small platform as it filled with students leaving little extra space as each child was added.

It was wonderful to witness kids helping each other and speaking words of encouragement to each other!

And then we went on an animal sighting hike.

Our Deep Portage leader taught the students to be more aware of their surroundings and search for evidence of animals living in the area. We looked for scat (animal poop). The kids thought it was great!

And then we hiked to the top of the observation tower!

What a breathtaking view!

Once we caught our breath, we moved on to a survival skills class. Our Deep Portage leader explained how to build a shelter and start a fire.

And then we hiked to a place in the woods to practice what we had just learned!

Without question the kids worked hard, hiked a ton and were Tired with a capital T by the end of each day. The thing that kept them going was the food!

The meals at Deep Portage are fabulous! The food is made fresh by an amazing cook staff! You can taste the love! Though the kids talked about the tasty desserts, it was the homemade bread that everyone raved about. It is spectacular! I asked for the recipe! The recipe makes 24 loaves of bread! I will find a way to break it down so that I can make bread for the Family!

Holy moly this is a long blog post! Are you still with me? Hang in there! I'm almost finished!

Friday morning, our last day of adventure, everyone woke early to pack their things before our activities began.

And then we hiked out to the place where the Pioneer Olympics would be held!

My friends my hiking shoes are worn out!

The kids played cat and mouse, an old logging camp game.

Oh how they laughed as they played this game of tug of war.

They worked together to saw through a small log with a two man saw.

That was a lesson on the need to work well together!

Then came the tomahawk throw!

We finished the morning with learning to use flint and steel,

throwing the atlatl dart,

and rabbit sticks!

The kids had an adventure they will never forget and they learned so much about teamwork, wildlife, and conservation.

Deep Portage makes great efforts in conservation.

They use solar power to heat their water,

and provide power to the building.

They also use a process called wood gasification for their heat.

100 cords of wood, chopped and ready to go!

We arrived home exhausted but awed by all we had just experienced!

Deep Portage was a good thing!


P.S. When I stepped off of the bus at home the Husband was waiting for me with Starbucks mocha in hand! Oh how I love that man!

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