My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

Une excursion francaise?

My French class went on a field trip today. We went to "Kingfisher Outdoor Education Centre". It's a place down near Kingfisher Lake where they teach students about biology and the environment and stuff, and it's a neat place to visit. Our French teacher, Mme. Ben Sari, arranged for us to take the trip so that we could practice our French (the guides don't speak French, but we could speak in French to each other about what we saw and such). Let me say right now that it was a really cool idea.

We got on the bus at the start of the day and drove for half an hour to Kingfisher, which is slightly out of the way. Now, before I go on, I should explain what I mean by "slightly out of the way". For those of you who have never been to Northwestern Ontario, Canada, or even the northern part of the United States, then you must realise that we are smack dab in the middle of the boreal forest. Basically you drive either east or west along the highway, otherwise you are in the bush. ;) Looking out the window of the bus, I would see: "Trees", "Trees", "Trees", "Rocks", "Trees", "Trees", "Bait shop", "Trees", "Trees", "Trees", "House", "Trees" ... and so on and so forth, with many, many more trees.

We arrived at Kingfisher around 10:00. The bus couldn't go all the way up to the cabins, so we had to walk up the road to the cabins; it was a good way to start our adventure. We met our guides, and we went into classroom-like place for our pre-hike briefing. Having been to Kingfisher before, I already knew a lot about it.

Before embarking on the hike, we took a picture of our French class (bonus points if you can identify who I am in the picture). On the hike we saw such things as evidence of woodpeckers (you naysayers were wrong; they do exist!), moss (ooooh), a bog (yummeh), and a pitcher plant. Our guides, (left to right) Jenny, Shelly, and Lisa were quite nice, and interesting.

After the hike, we had lunch, cooking hot dogs and sausages and such. Mme. Ben Sari even had some French songs on CD. She put them on; they were kind of jig-like. She urged most of us to dance, and a few did, including myself (the rest of you guys were yeller! :r ).

After lunch we got to play what must be the coolest game in the universe. It is called the "survival game". Each person gets an animal. They are either a herbivore, carnivore, or an omnivore, identified by a coloured headband. The goal of the game is to survive in a section of the forest near Kingfisher whilst getting essentials: food, water, shelter. Herbivores have seven lives and must collect 5 foods (5 hole punches out of 15 specially marked cans hanging from trees in the area) and 5 waters (the cans are blue). Carnivores have three lives and must collect 5 herbivore lives for food, and 5 waters. Omnivores have three lives and need 5 waters, but they can eat either herbivores or they can get food from the food can things. The adults get to play various natural disasters that can kill any type of animal, such as fire, flood, a hunter, disease, et cetera.

I was a deer (a herbivore, for those who don't know ;) ) and I was okay. Not great, but okay. I had trouble finding enough cans; I kept on coming back to the same can! I was caught thrice, but I gave each carnivore a good chase, and I even fell down once or twice and hurt myself. But it all turned out all right, and by the end of the game I was exhausted.

Realise that I'm not an outdoors person to begin with; I am sedentary and enjoy my computer. So the fact that I had fun on this outdoors trip was really quite something, and it was fantastic. :D I guess I'm just very, very lucky.

Anyway, that was about it. It was by far a great way to spend my day, and very exhausting. In fact, I'm surprised I managed to type so much about it, but it was that good--I just had to document it so that I would never forget it, eh.