I always have the best outdoor experiences with Outdoor Wilderness Leaders. This program takes kids out into the wildlife every summer to teach them about survival, nature, and the outdoors. I have been involved in this program for about three summers, and I can honestly say that nobody does a memorable outdoor experience, better than HOWL. Whenever I come back from a trip I always feel like I’ve had yet another, truly Alaskan experience. This last summer one of the trips I went on was a three day paddle boarding and rock climbing adventure across the bay.
At first I was reluctant to tag along because I’ve never been a fan of heights, much less of open water. After deciding that the trip would be good for me and that I would most likely not drown or crack my head open, I went for it. Unsurprisingly, the water taxi ride there was absolutely breath taking. Watching new waves created, while the older ones fade, never gets old. I will admit, the worst part about HOWL trips, is indeed, the heavy backpacks. The heavy backpack is mostly just my problem due to me thinking that I need an extra pair of everything, as well as a supreme snack stash. I felt it was necessary to take my own fully equipped first aid kit. I also, brought multiple pairs of shoes and far too many pairs of wool socks. My mother tried to talk some sense into me, explaining that the trip leaders carry all of the important supplies and that it will be too much to carry. Did I listen? No, because I just wanted to be prepared in case something awful was to happen.
We Arrived at Ocean Crack eager to explore! I immediately noticed the cliffs plunged on the beach’s edge that I would soon be asked to climb. I tucked that thought in my back pocket till the next day. Since not as many kids came on the trip as planned out, I got to have my very own tent. I pitched the tent in a most beautiful spot, right on the bluff, overlooking the water. The leaders said we could start climbing, go paddle boarding, or just hang out around the fire. I chose to try out paddle boarding, because the ocean looked to irresistible.
Suiting up in the waterproof gear was harder than I thought. Instead of slipping on like a glove, the suit was more like slipping into an extra, extra, small swim suit. I confidently placed the paddleboard onto the water, pushed off the rocks with my foot, and glided above the oceans shallow shore. I felt safe knowing the 6 other kids and leader were right by my side. We paddled a little further towards the ocean’s horizon, and I began to breathe a little lumpier. I suddenly had my open water nightmares race through my head. Would if a sea otter comes near? What is underneath me? I felt an overwhelming pressure of fear push on my balance and lungs. I tipped over into the water and scurried fast as I could to get back onto the board. When I took a moment to breathe, I realized that falling in the water was not as bad as I thought it would be. There was no whale to scoop me into its baleen mouth, nor a sea otter tugging me to the bottom. I told myself that it is going to be okay, and paddled onward to catch up with the crew.
I slept quite fine, after I reassured myself the bears were not hungry for human. After dishing into some authentic oatmeal, I hit the rocks. I had my instructor tell me exactly what to do three times, for I really was not in to mood to spill my brains out that day. The cliff hung outwards over the beach and water, not too much of an epic slant, but enough to be frightened. Before it was my turn, I witnessed almost all of the other campers successfully climb to the top and slide…