50 Days Stronger


Each summer campers and staff from the Taylor Statten Camps have set out from Algonquin Park to explore even more remote locations in Ontario’s northern wilderness. Over 50 days, campers paddle and portage their way back to camp to Camp Wapomeo and Camp Ahmek, pushing themselves mentally and physically. During the summer of 2018, 4 Camp Wapomeo and 3 Camp Ahmek cabins set-off on their 50 day long canoe trip adventure. Each cabin’s experience is unique, with their own planned route, team dynamic, friendships and memories.

It’s hard to put the 50 Day experience into words, especially when describing it to those who are new to the TSC community. Thanks to Camp Ahmek alum Mike Last of Mike Last Photography, we are reminded that a picture is worth a thousand words. We hope this portrait project will provide inspiration to future generations to continue on creating incredible connections, both with themselves and nature.

Overcome with emotion as they completed their incredible journey, this project hopes to share the faces and memories of these powerful young women at their strongest.

 


Wapomeo 50 Day Cabin – 4W

 

What was the highlight of the trip for you and why?

Day 43- Our 11.5 km portage ended on a hill with the big Barron river sign at the bottom. As I came down the hill I saw all my cabin mates, who had finished, cheering me on. And it felt so good the heat of the day was gone and all that was left was me and my girls. Nothing has ever felt that good.

Why do you think the experience of going on trip is important? 

It is important to take a break from city life and take the time to get to really know your cabin mates because they will soon become your best friends. Trip also really makes you appreciate things you would otherwise never think about.

What was the longest trip you had done before this one and where did it go?

22 Days in Kipawa.

What was the highlight of the trip for you?

The highlight was just being in nature with my best friends.

Any words of wisdom for the next 50 Day Trip?

Keep a journal, even if it feels like such a hassle. It will be worth it in the end.

What was your most prized possession while on trip?

My Nalgene.

Saphia P & Charlotte G

Caitlin B, Poppy BC, Melanie B, Cecil C, Catherine C, Chelsea H, Olivia RH.

 


Wapomeo 50 Day Cabin – 2W

What was the highlight of the trip for you?

Everything!!

Was there a low point on the trip for you?

Nothing.

What was your most prized possession while on trip?

My journal, because it holds so many memories.

What was the highlight of the trip for you?

My staff, they were so kind.

Why do you think the experience of going on trip is important? 

The experience of going on fifty day is important because it takes you away from the troubles of society and your own house. You can discover parts of nature that you’ve never seen before. 50 Day shows you the beauty of not just one park, but many. I would describe it as a life-changing opportunity.

Did you have a designated role while on trip (cook, clean, firewood, wannigan)? How did you fall into this role?

I am the wannigan carrier! I started carrying it as a Kiowa and continued on, I took a few years off from it but I love it so much I couldn’t bare not carrying on 50 day!

What was the highlight of the trip for you and why?

I can’t really pin point a certain day or memory but spending 50 days in the woods with 8 of my best friends was really special and a highlight for me.

Why do you think the experience of going on trip is important?

I think trip is so important as it teaches you life skills that you’d never learn in the city. It really tests you as well. Being out there for so long, portaging, paddling for hours. It tests your perseverance, strength, your will power. You have to be extremely motivated to get through it all. But it also builds you up. As much as it can break you, trip makes you stronger and it builds bonds between you and your cabin mates. Is a crazy thing we’re doing, but it can also be amazing as well.

Why do you think the experience of going on trip is important? 

It’s almost impossible to explain to someone that has never been on trip. Going on trip is important because it serves as a strong reminder as to what’s really important in life. Most things that are stressed about in the city can be forgotten about on trip. I love that.

Was there a low point on the trip for you?

Evacuations. Taking anyone off of canoe trip is never easy and takes a big toll on the group and the dynamic.

Esme C & Emma K

Nicole B, Sydney B, Cloë B, Sarah D, Georgia G, Golda H, Alexandra LS.

 


Wapomeo 50 Day Cabin – 1W

Any words of wisdom for the next 50 Day Trip?

Don’t look for a moment where you realize that 50 day is special, remember every moment, for it is only after you realize how lucky you were to experience it.

What was the highlight of the trip for you and why?

I loved seeing Lake Superior.

What was your most prized possession while on trip?

My trip journal.

Why do you think the experience of going on trip is important?

It helps someone become the best version of themselves.

Any words of wisdom for the next 50 Day Trip?

Always have a positive attitude.

Was there a low point on the trip for you?

The day we finished was the only low point.

Why do you think the experience of going on trip is important?

Its important because you grow in confidence and your ability to calmly solve problems. You grow both mentally and physically. My parents frequently remind me that what I have accomplished is something many adults couldn’t do.

What was the longest trip you had done before this one and where did it go?

Ishpatina for 36 days. It explored the Biscotasing and Temagami regions.

Any words of wisdom for the next 50 Day Trip?

Laugh about everything, appreciate nature and to stop sometimes and really look around at all the beauty that is surrounding you. Write in detail in your trip journal you’ll definitely thank yourself later on.

How did it feel to be away from the internet and social media for 50 days?

It was great because it made me realize that you can still have an incredible time without your electronics. It also made me realize that being with your friends for 50 days without electronics made our friendship so much stronger.

Any words of wisdom for the next 50 Day Trip?

Have fun and appreciate every moment, even the colder days or the rainy days because you will only be able to do this amazing trip with these amazing people once in your life.

What was your most prized possession while on trip and why?

Not a possession, but definitely Mo, my co-staff. I couldn’t have done a second 50 day without her. She made me laugh and smile every minute of every day. Great teammate and so much fun to be around.

Any words of wisdom for the next 50 Day Trip?

If I have any advice it would be to laugh as much as possible. Any tough situation can be made fun if you let it. Enjoy the good days and the bad and laugh your way through every tough portage, swamp, creek, hunger pain and rainy day. LIVE, LAUGH, TRIP – AM I RIGHT?!

Kate B & Moirin O

Sarah D, Isabelle H, Elizabeth J, Piper K, Marine M, Georgia P, Fiona R.


Wapomeo 50 Day Cabin – 3W

What was the highlight of the trip for you and why?

Getting to spend everyday with my closest friends and continuing to make those friendships stronger.

Why do you think the experience of going on trip is important? 

If canoe trip wasn’t a part of my life, I would not be the person I am today. It sounds super cheesy, but canoe trip allows me to be me, and only me. Every year I get to watch myself grow physically and mentally.

Why do you think the experience of going on trip is important? How would you explain it to someone who has never been on trip?

I think canoe trip is important because it gets you to open up to new challenges and you get to get really close to 8 other people. It also just feels so amazing to be outside 24/7 for 50 days. You really appreciate the outdoors.

What was your most prized possession while on trip and why?

My paddle, but then it broke. I love my paddle.

Was there a low point on the trip for you?

A low point of the trip for me was on Day 48, when the trip was coming to an end. I felt the worst I had felt on the trip because I didn’t want it to end.

What was the highlight of the trip for you and why?

I think the highlight of my trip was the bonds I made with my cabin. I loved getting to know each of my cabin mates in a completely different way than I would get to know them in the city. I loved getting to know my staff, both of whom I had before this trip, and creating the best friendships in my life.

Did you have a designated role while on trip?

The only specific role I ever took on was as a canoe carrier. I carried it with two other campers on the trip. I asked if I could carry it. Canoe carriers are not the most common campers, so everyone was really happy to let me help out in that department.

Any words of wisdom for the next 50 Day Trip?

Stay present because once you’re done trip, all you are going to think about is those past two months.

Why do you think the experience of going on trip is important? How would you explain it to someone who has never been on trip?

It’s so important. The amount of patience and respect I have developed for other people, and for nature’s has all been because of trip. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the experiences, good or bad, that I’ve had on trip.

Why do you think the experience of going on trip is important? How would you explain it to someone who has never been on trip?

Both 50-Day canoe trips I have done were extremely important times in my life. This type of experience is very challenging to describe to people. This canoe trip really challenges you in the best possible way. Both as a camper and staff, I had many obstacles to overcome and with the support of 8 other people you love beside you, the hard times really don’t seem so bad. As a camper I met my best friends during my 50-Day, and as a staff I was lucky enough to make seven more best friends. My campers inspired me everyday, and reminded me that you are never to old to be silly. This trip gives people an escape from their busy and stressful lives, and reminds us of how beautiful the simple things in life are.

Erin C & Inge dR

Katie K, Madison L, Eva P, Victoria V, Olivia W, Aiko W.


 


A heartfelt thank you to all of the men and women at the Taylor Statten Camps and Camp Wapomeo who helped to make this project a success, especially the powerful women featured within these images. “Teamwork is the key to a successful canoe trip, and cooperation is necessary when you are living so close to each other for 24 hours a day, sometimes for two weeks or longer. It’s an experience you can’t get anywhere else.” – Adèle “Couchie” Ebbs, Former Director – Camp Wapomeo. For more information about TSC canoe trips, from overnight to fifty days, visit the link below.