Student or Learner
This is my first paper for my English class. It is a narrative essay. My class did not do peer reviews and I was wondering if someone would mind reading it for me and giving me an opinion. Thank you :)
The view from the dock was breathtaking, but also a little overwhelming. After a two hour boat ride, we had arrived at Isle Royale National Park. From the dock there was not a view of the Minnesota coastline that our boat had departed from, we had traveled for two hours across Lake Superior just to get here. It was the first time I really felt like I was in the middle of nowhere. There was not a Starbucks or a McDonald’s or even a hospital on the island.
Soon, my father and I would set out to backpack 34 miles in five days, but first we had to go through orientation. The park rangers lined us up like ducklings and proceeded to check our boots and gear. Luckily, mine were fine, but they did ask one group to see the rangers after our discussion. The most interesting piece of advice that they passed on was that fox and squirrels will steal anything that you leave out, including hiking boots.
As soon as we could, we set out for our first day of hiking. We had 8 miles to cover on the first day. The first part of the hike was easy; I would compare it to a leisurely afternoon stroll. About 2 miles in, we hit the first tedious uphill stretch of our journey. My pack felt like two boulders sitting right on my hips. Every step uphill was excruciating. I remember thinking to myself, “O no, I knew I should have prepared more for this trip. What am I going to do?” I did not want to say anything to my dad, I had asked for this trip. This was my graduation trip, I could not tell him two miles into the trip that the thought of hiking 32 more miles sounded agonizing.
I kept my mouth shut for about another mile but then decided that I had to speak up. “Dad, hey dad,” I hollered, “we need to stop. Something is wrong with my pack.” I was still unsure if the pain was from not conditioning correctly or from the pack, but it felt better to blame it on the pack. He took a close look at the pack and then made me walk a little ways up the trail. He then took it from me and began bending the metal frame. It was then handed back to me and I was told to walk up the hill again. It was great, the pain was gone. My dad told me that when we bought the pack, the salesperson said that I would be fine with a man’s pack because of my height. When we were training it fit great. Indiana does not have the same steep upgrades that Isle Royale has, and my hips are proportioned differently than a man’s. This caused the pack to sit directly on the back of my hip when I went up a steep hill. Luckily, my dad’s resourcefulness saved me from any more pain.
We arrived at the Feldtmann Lake campground hungry and tired. Camp had to be set up and then we could cook dinner. Dinner consisted of a freeze-dried dinner. The bag described it as “the taste of a savory homemade meal”. I would not go that far but it was at least filling and had some flavor. We ate right on the edge of the lake. I was in awe of how peaceful and serene the setting was. My peace and quiet ended when I heard rustling behind me. I turned around to see a resourceful squirrel trying to drag away my one-gallon bag of trail mix. That was the last time I left anything laying around the campsite.
In the morning, we had to filter more water. The lake looked pristine but we had been warned that you could get a tapeworm if you did not properly filter water. The water on the edge of the lake was not deep enough for our pump, so I had to take off my shoes and grudgingly put my feet in the icy water. We walked out a few feet and waited for the dirt to settle. My dad was holding the pump and I was in charge of holding our canteens. I was doing just fine until I looked down and realized there was a leech swimming inches from my foot. It took everything I had not to scream and drop the canteens. I somehow stuck it out, and made it out of the lake with the filtered water and no leeches attached to my feet.
That night was the 4th of July and we saw the best fireworks display I have ever seen. It was not your typical eruptions of red, white, and blue but a flashy display of lightning bolts. They created a brilliant backdrop to the lake with their bright flashes lighting up the entire star-filled sky. With no artificial lights around, it was amazing the number of stars you could see. With the gorgeous view at the campground, I would have been happy to stay a few more days but we came with a goal and we had to keep moving.
The hike we were doing was called The Fledtmann Loop. After our first day of hiking and then staying at Feldtmann Lake for a day, we had three days of hiking left to do. The area around us was beautiful. From the top of Feldtmann Ridge, you could see Lake Superior and Feldtmann Lake at the same time. It was neat to be on the top of this ridge looking around and realizing that everything within your view is part of the natural landscape. It felt like you had stepped back in time. We started to see wildlife too. Over the next three days we saw six moose. Unfortunately, we were not some of the lucky few that get to see a wolf on Isle Royale.
Even after five days with none of the comforts of home, I was not ready for our trip to be over. I thought I would miss my cellphone and the other gadgets I am used to having every day, but I enjoyed the time I had to talk to my dad and experience the area around me without those interferences. Personally, I left with a confidence about my capabilities that I did not have before we went. I was impressed that I had the ability to hike 34 miles and learn the skills that were needed to make that possible.
Thank you for the opinion! It makes me feel better that someone besides me has read it before I turn it in.
p.s. I just moved back from Colorado, so I know all about cougars and bears!