Book Excerpt: Lesson Learned

We loaded canoes and as we shoved off shore, a steady rain fell.

The August morning’s air temperature still felt warm and I left my rain gear packed away, saving it for when I reached camp. With a kilometer long portage coming up and some people who couldn’t carry much more than a daypack, we would be traversing the trail multiple times. I didn’t want to get sweaty, reach camp, stop moving, and freeze without any extra dry gear.

On the Portage Trail

The rain persisted and though we paddled four kilometers to the portage trail, I was soaked through and chilled. I ate a handful of trail mix and a protein bar to get my engine fired up, had Laura help me get a canoe on my shoulders, and marched briskly to warm up. The rain tapped lightly on the canoe over my head. Pat…pat pat pat…plop. After twenty minutes, I reached the end of the trail and the waters of Kukagami Lake. I slid the canoe off of my shoulders and managed a brisk run-walk back along the trail, cheering on women loaded down with canoe packs as they trudged towards the end.

Everyone except me seemed warm enough. They had all donned rain gear before we’d left camp. After an hour and a quarter all of our gear had made it across the trail. We loaded the canoes one more time and made a beeline for the large campsite nestled in the red pine forest.

In Camp

The rain continued to fall. We hit shore and scrambled to bring barrels and bags up on shore without slipping on slick granite. Women set up tents. Laura built a fire. I broke out the lunch supplies and then ducked into someone else’s tent vestibule to change into dry clothes. My lips and fingernails were blue. I couldn’t stop my teeth from chattering. If I had waited much longer I was headed for hypothermia in the middle of August.

Lesson learned.

I’m writing a career change memoir and I’d love your feedback as I post small ~300 word blurbs. What do you want to know more about? What works for you? What doesn’t work for you? Comment below or e-mail me.

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