James Hare ’95 Sunday Circle Talk

Embracing The Trip 

The following is a Sunday Circle talk presented by Moosalamoo staffman James Hare on July 15, 2018.

Most people in the world are not given the opportunity to spend time in the wilderness the way we do here. We get to live amongst wildlife at its purest form, work as a group to reach a common goal and simply live each day as Mother Nature presents it to us. Whether it is your first Keewaydin trip, your tenth, or your twentieth, each experience out in the woods is different and can teach you much about yourself and the world around you, so long as you are willing to embrace it. When you are out on a trip, take the time to admire your surroundings–the trees, lakes, streams and animals residing in their natural habitat.  Embrace each challenge, portage, lake paddle, or rapid set head on. And do your best to live in the moment, rather than worrying about what’s ahead of you or behind you.

Throughout a trip, you are given countless opportunities to observe the earth.  Long paddles are a great time to notice the world around you–examine tree formations on the shore, the way tree roots hold together the river beds; look at the clarity of the lake on a calm day or the rough waves in the wind; observe a beaver lodge or a bird’s nest and think about the time and the care it took to build these homes.  At the campsite, pay attention to the little intriguing things–one tree growing out of another, an ant colony moving larva from one small log to a larger one; a chipmunk harvesting nuts and bringing them back to its hole in the ground.

Embracing challenges head-on is the best way to go: learn to accept things you cannot control.  This requires resiliency. Resiliency is a valuable quality to have wherever you are.  If you paddle 10 miles in headwinds, then do a mile-long portage, you can do just about anything.  If you can summit a mountain in the rain with a 35-pound pack on your back, you can do just about anything. Resiliency builds confidence and character.  Approach your challenges with the intent to conquer fears and improve your mental toughness.  I like to think of it as type two fun: what may seem painful and difficult in the moment will later be an extremely rewarding memory and looked back upon fondly.

Finally, when you are out on trips, live every day as its own singular moment in time.  Throughout the day, try to keep your focus on the task at hand.  Rather than worrying about where you are coming from or where you are going,  focus on what you’re experiencing in the present.  Enjoy the stillness of the lake, or the thrilling set of rapids; there is no reason to over-concern yourself with the upcoming portage or the approaching storm.  Take the time to simply live and enjoy being a part of a group without the idea of an end.  Lose track of what day it is–knowing how much longer you have on the trip is inconsequential to your ability to enjoy your experience.  Living each moment, one at a time, allows you to relax and enjoy the positives of life the way they were intended.

When we notice the little things about the earth and the bountiful life surrounding us, we feel a stronger connection to who we are and what our place is on this planet. When we conquer challenges head-on we build resiliency, confidence and character. When we live in the moment we forget all troubles and worries that might be going on outside of camp. We are able to move past unfortunate events and live unconcerned with hardships that may be upcoming. Here at camp we talk about Keewaydin magic. It lives within the entire Keewaydin community, in each of our wigwams, in the bonds created on trips and it lives in each one of us as individuals wherever we go in life. By accepting all there is to offer and fully embracing your tripping experience, you build and you nurture the magic that lives inside you.