LOCALadk Magazine

LOCALadk Spring 2014

LOCALadk Magazine

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LOCALadk | Up & Comer 8 LOCALadk Magazine Spring 2014 Nor thern Forest Explorers By Jack Skiff I n 2011 my mother first brought up the idea of going on a canoe trip sponsored by the Northern Forest Explorers program. Right away my mind lit up with curiosity, "Tell me more!" I can't remember a time when I didn't love the outdoors, whether it's bagging wild game in the woods, reeling in some bass, or whistling down the slopes. I knew this five day canoe/camping trip was perfect for me. The Northern Forest Explorers Program was developed to benefit young people from between the ages of 10 and 14, who live along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. The purpose is to provide kids with opportunities to learn interesting things about the waterways in their own backyards. The trip is five days of paddling which takes you through some of the most scenic forests of the northeast United States. When this organization started, the trip was free; now families pay on a sliding fee scale. The kids who take this trip are taught camping skills, as well as water safety, and learn about aquatic life. Much of the trip is social; you're bound to make new friends. After setting up camp, we always played cards or capture the flag, or we fished. I was lucky to have friends I already knew on the trip, but I really liked getting to know kids from other areas. This past summer was the third time I participated in the Northern Forest Explorers Program. Each year I have great stories to bring home. There are a few experiences that will stay with me. One of my favorite memories was on the second trip just after a giant thunderstorm. All of us were skipping rocks and fishing on the shore when all of a sudden... KA-POW! A huge bolt of purple lightning struck the ground across the lake. Some of us were like "OMG that lightning was purple?" Some just responded with "what theā€¦." It caught all of us off guard because it was so foggy, the water was calm, and it was dead quiet. To see a gigantic purple streak buzz through the sky like that was definitely an amazing experience and the only time I have ever seen lightning that beautiful. The great thing is I get to share my stories and memories with friends from school and others I have met on my trips. Like the time we refer to as the King Fisher apocalypse, when we were surrounded by so many birds it was like a horror movie! My friends and I still joke about the refrigerator outhouse (the outhouse that looked like a 1950's fridge), but boy I would never want to eat anything out of that. By far my best memories are just hanging at the campsite with my friends. I really liked getting to know the guides and interns on my trips. Each one had a strong interest in the outdoors. A few of the college interns had been all over the world. They all had really great stories and I liked all of them. Shawn (who at first I thought was really quiet) had amazing knowledge of the outdoors. There was not a bird he couldn't name. Eli had all his belongings in one pocket and never stopped smiling. Sanne was the super-awesome-high-five-person, making sure everybody had something to do. My trip guides, Mac and Mike, were awesome. They know everything there is to know about the canoe trail. It's the guides and interns that really make the trip. I hope when I am older, I will be lucky enough to get the opportunity to help guide trips for kids in my community. Sometimes it is hard to take a chance and try something new, especially when that means being away from home. I think anyone who has an interest in the outdoors, likes meeting new people, and wants to learn more about the Northern Forest Canoe Trail should take the risk and sign up for one of their summer trips. It is an experience you will remember forever.,

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