Photos: Stephen Penske

Sledding, sliding and wiping out on Richmond Gulf, July 30. Owen (top) and Andy.

Excerpts From Reed Ryan's Log - cont'd 

July 31

Last night at about 2:00 a.m., a huge wind, rain, and thunderstorm started. Since there was no protection from the wind, the tents were really getting blown. So, Vick and I went out in the cold rain with only our shorts on and grabbed a canoe for a wind block and tied it to the tent. Other tents did the same as Tony and Chris were screaming in the middle of the night because their tent was sliding down toward the beach.

August 1   Arriving at Umiujaq

Not only is it my birthday, but we got to Umiujaq. There was definitely a culture shock. We all, of course, rushed to the Co-Op and bought some junk food. We made friends with this one guy, Noah, who is the nicest person I have ever met. He works at the Inuit Hunters and Trappers' Association and helped us out a lot. The Co-Op had some soapstone carvings, so I bought two: one was of an Eskimo that I bought for myself, and the other one was a seal that I got for Aunt Martha.

   Brad and I found wolves hides for $150 and I bought one and 2 foxes for $40 – one is arctic and the other is red. They marked them down to ˝ price, so we got a great deal.

   Later after a dinner of dot dogs, we visited Noah at his house. The people here don’t knock on doors – they just walk in. He even let us use his shower!

August 2 

These people are the friendliest people I have ever met in my entire life. They may not have much , but what they do have they consider it to be yours. I ate dinner with Brad and Penske at Peter and Eddie Quemarluk's and watched Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon”.

August 3

This morning we went to Eddie’s house for breakfast because he invited us last night. He left early and left his house to us. We made French toast, bacon, and eggs. We went to the Co-Op and replaced everything we used and then some. Afterwards, we hung out and listened to some Led Zeppelin and watched TV. We watched the elders return from a beluga whale hunting trip. We helped them beach their boats and unload them, then they offered us some beluga to taste, right off the boat. I was the first to try it, and it wasn’t that bad.

 

Defining Moment of My Teenage Life

It was time to go home. I loaded my luggage onto the motorboat and stepped down off the Keewaydin dock. As the boat retraced its course from seven weeks earlier and sped down the lake, I broke down into tears; violent, uncontrollable tears. My parents beside me tried their best to consol me, but it was impossible. They do not understand. Only those who share the brotherhood understand. 

I looked down into the clear waters of Lake Temagami. My reflection stared back at me, looking rather different. In my face, I could see every one of my section-mates and brothers that I had tripped with through northern Quebec. Each one of them has shaped and fashioned me in more ways than they know. Some of these men I may see in the future, others never again.

It is hard to realize that the defining moment of my teenage life has already passed me by. We had worked so long and hard to reach the Bay, and now that it’s over I wish I could start all over. I would never trade these past four summers of my life for all the money in the world. The experiences, friendships, and tribulations are priceless.

Undoubtedly, I would not be who I am today without Keewaydin. Which is why it hurt deep inside, as it slipped away into the distance. I cannot imagine a life without the Northwoods. How ironic it was to feel homesick for a distant land on my way home. I guess that’s what happens when you love someplace as much as I do Keewaydin.

         Reed Ryan, 8/9/00

 

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