Saturday, September 13, 2014

Outward Bound

Five days canoeing and camping along the Potomac River with my 8th grade Crew. I've known these guys since 6th grade and it was a privilege to share this Expedition with them. Our Outward Bound instructor was a former Marine and a current marathoner. He had us up at six daily to run and pump and dip (in the river). I lost 9 pounds and was pleased to see I can still run 7 minute miles pretty easily despite no cardio training in 2 years. The last morning we did a 5k and I ran it under 24. Not bad for a crusty old guy out of condition! We paddled 32 miles in five days, often moving down the river for 6 hours or more. The kids took complete responsibility for unloading boats, packing in to camp, setting up, preparing meals, getting a fire going, and organizing a pack line, then stowing the boats safely for the next day. In the morning after working out they would do the reverse. I helped them a bit day 1 after they were trained, but by the next afternoon I was refusing to help them and they were self-sufficient. They even navigated. My kids were amazing. Yes, there was drama, there was homesickness, there was whiny neediness, there was miserable discomfort, there was surly discontent. But these guys were gutsy and honest and stepping WAY outside their comfort zones with grace and perseverance. I had a joyous time--my best, most satisfying experience as a educator.

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