A chance to paddle across Canada comes often only once in a lifetime, and what may be ever more rare is to find AWESOME people that want to take time out of their lives for such an adventure. I am thankful everyday to have the opportunity to share this experience with each person on the trip. It has been a great privilege to watch everyone as they settle into their new life in a 24-foot- voyageur canoe. Here are only few of the great things that the Crew brings to the boat as we continuing PACTing around!
What up fellow lady friend! She not only helps balance the female presence on the trip but her childlike spirit goes a long way. You will often hear her giggle from the front of the boat whether it be the late in the day “crazies” or her laughing at her own imagination. She brings to the boat some hilarious stories of “young” Hollye and her big city life in Toronto. When she has something that she wants to get done, she enters this zone of determination, which enables her to push through hard paddling days, buggy nights (solution #1: bug net!), and the frequent case of the “hungries”. She has introduced the crew to the art of popcorn making, which I must say trumps any movie theater popcorn and is done over an open flame.
Scott, newly named “Goldfish” for his great affinity for tiny goldfish snacks, has an untamable energy for life. He wakes up, most times singing and bopping around the campsite, enthusiastic for the day’s adventures to begin. (Meanwhile most of us are still peeling our eyes open and reluctantly unzipping our sleeping bags). His humor consists of endless puns, which compliments any activity throughout the day. He has supernatural eyesight and has a keen ability to see beauty, wildness, and joy in the simple things nature provides; he can watch the water and the shoreline for wildlife for hours. When Scott gets to a site he puts on gloves and his Roots boots, heads into the forest to collect wood, and the “video game” begins! His man-child characteristics translate to his love for adventure, getting dirty, and a passion for learning and playing outside!
Anyone can tell by the permanent smile on Peter’s face that he is having the time of his life on this trip across Canada. I can only picture his imagination taking him on trips back in time as a crewmember with the Voyageurs of the Northwest Company or going on an adventure with some of the first Canadian explorers. He has a charisma that no local can resist and has a knack for wooing any radio host or ferry operator for some PACT love. When Peter is in the stern you can hear him singing, cracking jokes, laughing hysterically at the jokes (his own a lot of the time!), or a “Hello, Bonjour!” to any lucky stranger that we run into. Peter brings the history alive with his storytelling and is a constant reminder for the crew that we are PADDLEING ACROSS CANADA and that is pretty darn cool! He inspires myself and I believe the rest of the crew with his passion for experiencing Canada in a deeper way.
James provides the crew with years of knowledge and wisdom collected from his travels and life experiences. He is the voice of reason for many of us on this trip and whenever a question arises, we turn to James for the answer. He is the first awake and often the last to go to bed. He pushes the crew to paddle harder and to keeping going when the energy is low. He frequently boggles our minds with scientific breakthroughs and random facts. (Marc is still is having trouble swallowing that the “sun is a giant star”… I give it a couple of months and he’ll come around) He has taken on reading while paddling, which is another example at how he enjoys a bit of a challenge in his life. As an even-tempered fellow, he surprised me when he said, “Marissa, you may not be able to tell, but I am reeeaaaally excited. (In an Australian accent of course!)”, which just got me excited because it was great enough for him to say something. He is fully present in every moment of this trip and he is able to bring a lot to the PACT crew dynamic.
“Barrel Boy*” also known as Marc is the person I have to thank for being on this trip; he sent me the message asking me to join and now 6 months later here we are 6 weeks deep. He is a big personality in the boat. He is always the one to break the silence with a crew trivia question or just sharing with us what new idea, invention, or business plan is brewing in that brain of his. On-the-daily, he is yelling obscene things (interpret as you wish!) from the boat or telling some hilarious thing he has done throughout his college years. He is quick with the jokes and my favorite thing about him is his contagious laugh, which brings the boat most often than not to roaring boil. That smile of his reveals Marc’s love of life and people, which encourages me to laugh, smile, and love a little bit more each day. CUSTARDDDD*!!!!
*He is in charge of the food barrels, which are labeled Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, and hold all of our food until our next resupply
* Custard: a word yelled out by Marc and can mean just about anything you want it to be. It at times is even appropriate in song form. (soon to be seen/published in the PACT-ionary)
There is A LOT to say about each one of these amazing people. The days are filled with laughs and smiles, and I can only sense that my appreciation for everyone growing with each day.
LOVE AND HUGS,