Wild River Academy’s Family Trip was full of surprises, interesting conversations, and new experiences. Instead of describing this trip from the perspective of the guides, a few of our participants were gracious enough to write up a post about their experience:
When we left New Jersey for Minneapolis for the Family Canoe Trip, we had expectations about the trip, but little did we know how much we would learn about sustainable farming, fish and fishing in Minnesota, how to portage, and how to "ride the rapids".
Our first night we camped at Moonstone Farm and learned about organic and sustainable farming. In the morning we woke up to the sound of birds singing, and I have never heard birds sing that loudly!!
We learned about CURE (Clean up the River Environment), in which people are working together for clean air, water and locally owned clean energy. Two interns from the DNR Fisheries Department taught us about fish and fishing in Minnesota, and we were able to "wet a line". We went to a World War II Museum, which was amazing and beautiful the way the planes and vehicles were set up in the building, even the paintings on the walls were beautiful.
As we canoed down the river, we came across a couple who were so excited to see people canoeing down the river, they even showed up later at our campsite with about 6 buckets of popcorn...what a treat. Speaking of food, every meal we had from our dinner and breakfast at Moonstone Farm, to our last stop, was delicious!! We paddled through sun, rain, wind and cold, but it did not snow!! The assortment of wildlife we saw as we paddled was amazing!! The bald eagles were my favorite, but in addition to bald eagles, there were golden eagles, painted turtles, turkeys, wood ducks, cormerans and many songbirds. This trip was challenging, but I feel like we met the challenge and it felt good to have done it!! Thanks to Natalie, Anna and Nick for all of their effort.
The Family Expedition canoe trip with Wild River Academy was an all-around great experience for me. I don’t get a lot of chances to canoe, camp, or fish very often, let alone spend a lot of time with my family; so when the opportunity arose, I was very excited to get involved. Coming into this experience, I didn’t know anything about the Minnesota River, but I was amazed at how much knowledge I left this expedition with from the different speakers we got to meet along the way. I thoroughly enjoyed our talk with the DNR about the different species of fish in the river, since fishing has always been a hobby of mine. After talking to the DNR, I was even able to identify a sturgeon that someone had caught on the river, but was unable to identify.
I loved experiencing the Minnesota River for the first time; it was very exciting portaging around the dam and going through the different sets of rapids. I was able to truly experience what it was like to be on a canoeing expedition. I especially got to experience the different types of insects, along with the bites that come from them. I received some nasty, itchy spider bites on my arms, but luckily Wild River Academy was prepared. Their first aid kit from Wilderness Medical Systems must have had at least 20 compartments, pockets, and zippers; all filled to the brim with anything anyone could possibly need for what ails them.
My favorite part of the expedition was being able to see my brother, Nick, getting so involved in a company and issue that he is so passionate about. By the end of the expedition, Nick, Natalie, and Anna had gotten the five of us to really care about the Minnesota River, as well as their mission, and because of their commitment and passion, the expedition couldn’t have been more fun and exciting!