Canoe Trip

Once a year the men of Theta Xi pack up our suits, tents, poles, and sleeping bags, and head north to the Muskegon River for a well deserved break from our studies. Thursday night is spent at Walmart procuring supplies for the two day battle between man and nature. As soon as class is out on Friday, the trip is made up I-75 and west on M-10 and everyone races to set up camp so the relaxing can begin. Horseshoe pits are carefully measured, and teams quickly chosen. The bocce ball game is a little less formal and usually covers a majority of the campground before it is over. The campfire lasts well in to the night and is surrounded by great friends and blaring ipod speakers. 

The wakeup call on Saturday comes early and some of the diehards start cooking themselves a campfire breakfast while the city slickers head in to town for some fine country cookin’. The bus then picks everybody up at the campground and embarks on a 20 minute drive over a twisting, undulating dirt road. Several times during the trip it seems like the bus is going to careen over the edge with everyone on board but somehow the driver always manages to get us there safely. Once the canoes are loaded we make a beeline for the first bend and pull over to shore. This is where our $100,000+ engineering education is put to the test. The current on the Muskegon can get pretty intense. It is often estimated to be nearly 2 knots and a single canoe can provide only so much stability. That necessitates using drift wood, twine, duct tape, or whatever else mother nature and Walmart have provided to construct armadas of canoes that can number anywhere between two and nine. The many beach breaks that are made somehow stretch the 4 hour trip in to about 8.  After dropping off our canoes, and making the short walk back to camp, the grills are started and the bon fire is lit back up for a final night spent in the great outdoors.

Packing up Sunday morning is always a little bittersweet. It’s sad to leave after having such a great weekend, but there is that deep satisfaction of once again taming the mighty Muskegon River.

 
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