In almost all situations, a true challenge is all it takes to reveal what a team is really made of. It is only through the longest of nights, the hottest of days, and, in our case, the strongest of winds, that we are truly able to put a team to the test.
Our canoe trip back to Boulder Beach from the Black Canyon was undoubtedly going to be one of these genuine challenges. Despite the 8 mile journey being downstream, we were well aware that it would be no walk in the park, once we were informed that the headwinds would reach 14 knots by just 11 am that morning. This, along with the fact that we received an unexpected visit from a mouse in our food bins, meant that this canoe journey back home without snacks or lunch would certainly not be easy.
Taking the challenge into our own hands, we decided it would be best to start early and finish early. So we began making breakfast and packing our tents and backpacks by 6am. As the sun rose, our quiet whispers turned into energy and encouragement as we loaded up the canoes with backpacks, kitchen supplies, and team gear. Like the dynamic and absolute beast team we are, we were rolling on the water by 7:30 am, just early enough to (try) to beat the brutal winds before they grew stronger.
Like I said, the trip was still no walk in the park. The wind introduced itself to our team early, blowing our hats backwards and countering almost every forward paddle we pushed with a stronger force. Our team was not one to back down from the fight, though. We powered through the first five miles, singing songs, having conversations, and encouraging eachother to keep on, putting every bit of strength we had into beating these winds and reaching the finish line, which also meant lunch :).
It was crucial that we stopped here at mile five for the overall wellness of our team. Through some solid communication, we agreed that this break was necessary for some of us to regroup and motivate one another to power through this last three mile stretch. A small act of kindness like Aaron sharing his jar of nutella with the group would make all the difference in the end.
With stronger hearts and somewhat fuller bellies, we loaded into the canoes. As the finish line grew closer and closer, the wind increased at the same rate. With less than a mile left, we collectively decided that we were going to give this last stretch everything we had, even over the massive gusts of wind and sprays of water in our faces as the water became choppier.
Nevertheless, after what felt like an infinite number of paddles forward, each of our bright red canoes trickled their way onto shore, slowly but surely. Our teammates waited and cheered as all of us finally reached land. Victory tasted sweet, and so did our lunch 🙂 Looking back, it may not have been much, but this trip certainly confirmed something for me. Our Dragons team proved that a true challenge is what brings out the best in all of us, together. This challenge revealed our strength, our communication skills, and our genuine willingness to sacrifice some of our comfort to overcome an obstacle. With this victory in our back pockets, I have confidence that we, as a team, can face anything together.
p.s. Hi Butters!!