When I looked at my feet, covered in soaked Converses, towing a canoe through the snow, I thought: this is madness. A three-day white water canoeing trip on the Madawaska River in Ontario, still covered with ice, camping in the snow. While everybody else was enjoying delicious Easter dinners.
Indeed, why do we do it (speaking for all, and more diehard outdoors club adventurers than me), all these crazy uncomfortable trips? Not because we are more resistant to cold than others. Or because we like children telling us that we stink (even before we are gone). And I don’t think any of us particularly enjoys waking up in a damp sleeping bag, knowing the next step is wearing your wet, cold wetsuit again.
Is it because I want to prove something? Maybe, but only to myself then, as I don’t think anyone I know would dislike me for not wanting to swim in ice-cold water. Maybe university life just involves too little adventure. It’s great to be physically tired at the end of the day, rather than having a headache from staring at your computer for hours. It's nice for a change to live only caring about eating and staying warm. Not distinguishing clothes as dirty or clean, but as wet or dry.
And of course the people are amazing, the mentality is great – nobody complaints, everybody can laugh about our ‘misery’ - you get to see the most beautiful places. And after a long day outside, every meal just tastes delicious, and a little camp spice (read: ash, dirt and other things you’d normally rather not find in your food) won’t ruin that.
Or maybe it’s just because there’s nothing better than taking a warm shower when you’re home after three days in a wetsuit. After which you immediately miss the group, the outdoors and just forget the moments you swore to yourself never to do this again: you can’t wait to go on a new adventure.
Name: Floortje Rawee (21)
Study: second-year UCM-student
Goes to: Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada
From: 3 January until the end of May