09/12/02: It is Thursday, and we have been in Wallingford, CT since Sunday evening. We are having a great time so far, loving the project and the location. By the by, I've been to Wal-Mart three times already. Crazy! Tonight I bought a new camera (my old one, and I do mean old, fell in the river two days ago; the viewfinder was fuzzy with sawdust or something, and the thing was at least seven years old) and I'm really excited. :)
We have been canoeing on the Quinnipiac River. There's a five-mile section of the river that has been clogged with logjams and excessive debris for many years, and no endeavor to improve it has succeeded. In steps Fire 4! It is slow-going and often frustrating. There are so many fallen trees! Some of them have been near or actually impossible to remove or clear sufficiently, but for the most part, we have cleared up a lot of jams. It feels great to leave a site that only a few minutes (anywhere from 10 to over 60) earlier, was impassable by canoe, and now is.
The canoeing has been an adventure in itself. I had been in a canoe once before, when I was approximately seven years old. Incidentally, on that family canoe trip down some river in Michigan, we saw a blue frog. It was neat and no one has ever believed any of us. Anyway, so I was obviously a novice at this canoeing stuff. The Quinnipiac is extremely bend-ridden (to my beginner eyes), so it was quick learning. When I'm in the canoe, my partner and I still end up running into banks and sandbars and debris, but for the most part, the whole team has visibly improved in navigating the canoes in the river. Each night we are more sore, but I can see my muscles getting bigger. Interestingly, my right bicep is both larger and firmer than my left. Each night we are exhausted and can't wait to get to bed, and yet somehow never get to bed early enough.
There is an Irish pub three doors down, and we've gone there a few times to relax and have a nice chat with teammates. The Wal-Mart is another popular destination here in Wallingford, and there is a big public library that I hope to get to at some point. It's a really nice town. We are housed in a homeless shelter (it doesn't open until October, at which time we'll already be in Bridgeport working with Habitat), and it is really nice actually; though communal, it is definitely the nicest accomodation we've had yet. The prestigious Choate School provides us with tasty dinners, and our awesome sponsors make sure everything else is taken care of.
This afternoon, we got to go climbing at a local gym, courtesy of our sponsors and the Parks & Rec people. It was great fun and a fantastic workout. I was altogether worn out at the end of the two hour session. I really enjoyed it though, and I hope that someday I'll get to do more and get better.
In general, things are going really well in all aspects. I certainly hope that continues. Stay tuned for more adventures.