Update from Emma Carlson, Program Director of Summer Wilderness Trips After bidding the Allagash Canoers good-bye and good luck after giving them fresh supplies, I ran into a ranger and we began chatting about weather, water, young people, and then Chewonki. He told me that Chewonki students always impress him with their positive attitude and their sense of responsibility to each other and the places they are exploring. Thinking about the tradition Chewonki has established of being a strong, positive presence in the North Woods, through the work of Tim Ellis, Don Hudson, and so many outstanding leaders and young adventurers, I got goose bumps. I’ve heard compliments like these before, but now it’s my responsibility to carry on the tradition. What an honor. The 10-day Debsconeag Adventurers returned to Chewonki last Wednesday, burgeoning with energy and conversation. Their connection to one another was evident as they moved around campus, firmly bonded as their own boisterous little community. The last chapter of their adventure focused on wilderness camping and canoeing, with the two older groups settled on the shores of Nahmakanta Lake and the younger group on Pollywog Pond (“a little less windy and more to their scale,” as leader Lucy Atkins put it). All three groups enjoyed swimming, catching frogs (before looking them over and then releasing them), studying rock formations, using their canoes to explore the lakes, hiking to great spots for blueberry picking, and participating in a highly competitive (!) blueberry bake-off. There were lots of “firsts”—great chances to grow and follow their sense of adventure. Congratulations, Debsconeag Adventurers! I resupplied the Allagash Canoers along their challenging three-mile portage between Allagash Lake and Round Pond. When we first spied each other, the girls sent up a rousing cheer: “Debsconeag Lake, Awake, Awake…!” What a great sound! Despite the toil of a long carry, they were completely enthusiastic, pulling off the fastest resupply ever: 30 minutes total, getting all their gear and canoes to the water with great competence. They then headed went down Allagash Stream and into Chamberlain Lake and then portaged into Eagle Lake. By now they’re on the mighty Allagash. Becca Abuza, one of the leaders of the Debsconeag Explorers,tells me their motto is, “We are just loving life every day!” These girls have spent time at Fourth Debsconeag Lake and backpacked around Nahmakanta Lake. They got so excited about backpacking that they accomplished what we expected to take five days in a mere three! Then they transitioned to the northern part of Baxter State Park and made camp at South Branch Pond, from which they did some day hiking. On Monday they returned to Big Eddy to pick up their canoes and begin a paddling trip on the West Branch of the Penobscot. The Nahmakanta Explorers are in the midst of a seven-day paddle on the St. Croix River, a water-based chapter of their trip after lots of hiking. Previously, they spent a couple of days camping at Abol Pines, climbing from there to the ledges for blueberries. They also hiked up Doubletop Mountain, and enjoyed an amazing view from the top. The girls impressed their leaders with their speedy hiking pace. As they move from hiking to paddling, each tripper is coming out of her shell and sharing herself in new ways, showing the specific ways, large or small, that she, too, can be a leader. See more photos of Emma’s resupplies on Chewonki’s Flickr page.