By Alumna Dakota Z, Intercept Program
In the blink of an eye, day eight has arrived. You’ve paddled several miles on the Suwannee River and you’ve mastered the perfect way to sleep comfortably in your tent.
You awaken to the small sounds of the zippers on your instructors’ tent slowly opening. You begin to stretch out your slightly sore body like a starfish and eventually wiggle out of your sleeping bag. You are eager to take on the day’s newest adventure.
Immediately jumping into the daily flow, you are informed of your personal job, the navigator. You get to be the first one that day to discover how many miles you will be paddling and what landmarks to look out for along the way. You are relieved to find out there is a big landmark, a car bridge, that appears right before the campsite, creating a more comfortable sense of direction for you. You also get the opportunity to sit in the front seat of boat one, leading your group to the camp site. This day will challenge you to become a leader, while navigating your group in the correct direction!
While paddling down the Suwannee River, you can’t help but get distracted by the breathtaking trees covered in Spanish moss and the unique houses along the river. You pass a ginormous tree house on your left and wish you could find a way to jump out of your boat to explore inside.
Glancing over the maps used for navigation, you realize your group is half way to camp! You get the opportunity to share with your group that you have covered several miles in just two hours. The feeling of accomplishment rushes over your group.
Recognizing that your group paddled so efficiently the past two hours, you set a goal to arrive at camp before sunset. You and your boat partner offer tips to one another on how to paddle quicker while keeping up with your motivated group. You pause for a moment, realizing your arms still feel like they are moving in a paddling motion. Let’s just say you could probably paddle in your sleep at this point.
The sun has begun to fade into a beautiful cotton candy color, creating an unreal reflection on the water. Although the scenery is beautiful, you begin to worry that you will not make it to camp in daylight. Luckily, just ahead you spot a large sandbar on the right! You encourage your group to paddle faster to meet your destination. Just as you reach camp, you ease back in your seat and smile. Not only did you navigate your group to camp, you achieved your goal of arriving just before sunset! You begin to unload your boats with your group and prepare for another evening on the Suwannee.