Freedom on the River | River Madness
Over the period of our Experience Centered Seminars, there have been many experiential and educational steps taken to get to canoeing down the Mississippi River. On the river, we used the water as a highway to get from camp to camp along the sandy banks of the big muddy river. This wild body of water took its own path, swallowing up much of the dry ground and sandbars. This state of the river’s flooding pushed us to paddle hard and far to find dry land suitable for a camp each night. This wild environment presented critical decisions to be made as the trip progressed, such as where to camp, set up tents, or even how to plan for the day ahead. The wild river then allowed each of us to experience a little bit of what John Ruskey, one of our river guides, called “River Madness.” This madness, however, did not seem to be much more than coming further into each of our personalities so that we all could learn about ourselves a little bit more.
Paddling around 25 miles each day took our physical as well as our mental strength on the river and from this, our group formed a bond. This bond was built through all of our fun and challenging adventures on the river. In addition to this, the overall weather of the trip minimally influenced the energy of the group. We maintained a positive attitude throughout even in the rain and cold. This rang true from our bond as a group as well as our preparedness for any occasion on the trip.
Our theme of “Freedom” showed itself in almost everything our group accomplished; camping, paddling, and exploring are just a few of the many relating to freedom. Through our river experience, we gained a much more personal experience of the idea of freedom on the great Mississippi river. Our 6-day voyage as Kodiak Quapaws was filled with firsthand experiences of the great highway of the south. A nature walk, sage ceremony, and many, many campfires were the adventures that the river held together along with much more.
As our river voyage concluded and our group of 18 traveled back to Colorado, we learned that whatever distance away from the wild Mississippi we get, it will always be the glue to the freedom on the river that we know and love.
Note: The seminar gained media coverage in Helena, Arkansas for their commitment to this important topic: “Freedom on the River” brings Colorado students to Helena.