The saying “getting there is half the fun” certainly applies to Churchill (although, in reality, nothing can compare to the time spent in that enchanting place). However, it would be a lie to say that today, a travel day, was not without its own adventures. As a student from Baltimore, this was the first time that I really got to know the group heading up from Winnipeg. The trip started bright and early, meeting in Kelvin’s parking lot at quarter till five. Excitement built as we tried to make out unfamiliar forms shifting around in the dark, soon to be transformed into new friends, and loaded gear into the vans. As we headed north to Thompson, we were certain to grab a snack at a Tim Horton’s on the way out of Winnipeg, and stop by Pisew Falls, just a hour from Thompson. The nine hours went by in a flash, with the vans always keeping a stimulating conversation going, whether comparing the geography of Manitoba and Maryland, discussing our literature or language classes, or simply going through our pictures from the day.
As we made our way onto the train, we finally got to know each other as a fuller group for the first time, although we still had yet to meet two more students from Churchill the next morning. We split up into groups for icebreakers and preparing for our arrival in Churchill, discussing questions we had about the trip, and designing lists from A to Z for naming polar bears (the winner of which being “things to flavor food with”). Afterwards, we continued with more activities. People who had taken calibration photos with rangefinders yesterday had the opportunity to form regression lines for their cameras. People also got to get their hands on the Whisker Printing software, and gain a deeper understanding in how this essential analysis worked. Finally, we all got to have a chance to try out mitten making with the help of Jordan, a student from Churchill. Although so many of us dread the idea of an entire day on the road (or rails), today, we started to build the bonds that would leave us closer and more connected with our group than we’ll have ever been with most people.
Cory Silver, Park School of Baltimore