The day dawned bright and just as the sun started warming things up, the canoers at IIT
awoke. This was the Union Board canoeing trip up Wisconsin River. 68 students canoed
from Sauk City to Arena Landing in Wisconsin, a nine-mile paddle down the Wisconsin River. Once the initial formalities were over, the group left lIT at approximately 10 a.m. in three buses.|
Upon arrival, the canoes had been readied, the paddles and life vests put into the canoes, and the canoes pushed into the water. There were 34 canoes, with two students in each. A burly instructor briefed the group on the precautions and safety measures we were to follow while canoeing. He also gave first timers how-to-learn-to-canoe-in-a- minute lessons.
Then they were off. The group was led by a canoe with Kevin Sill and Steve Bidny. The rest followed them downstream. The main organizer, Lwin Maung brought up the rear, just to round up the stranglers. Dan
DiCesare was in the middle of our group helping out first-timers.
The group split into groups of two and boarded the aluminum canoes that were to take them downstream. Going initially was difficult becaus of a strong southwesterly head wind kept steering the canoes off-course every time those inside took a breather. It was fun all along with canoes tipping over and people getting dunked in the waters of the Wisconsin River. There were backpacks, paddles and other paraphernalia floating down, with their desperate owners in hot pursuit. Ismael Martinez, a Bio-Medical Engineering sophomore, was one of those owners, and he said "the trip was cool except my glasses are still in that river somewhere!" Later in the afternoon, the head wind died down and the paddling became a lot easier. Brandon Lawrence, a freshman, told this said, "It (the trip) was a lot of fun with some hard-work, many capsizes and lots of strained muscles."
The downstream paddle took approximately three hours to complete. Once the alighting point was sighted there were many canoes that had a race to the finish. Rob Weber, a CPE Sophomore, who was in one of the racing canoes summarized, "My favorite part of the trip was trying to capsize Basher's canoe, in which we succeeded, but in that process we capsized our own canoe and all of us had to swim after our shoes and oars!"
The course was quite picturesque, and it was the IIT-canoe-throng at harmony with nature all the way. Just as freshman EE major Khambay Keopaseut puts it, "it was nice to be out with nature," - away from the hustle and bustle of busy Chicago city-life. All the canoers enjoyed the trip, even though most of them came back soaked. One boat capsized moments after drifting past the landing site; one of the canoers in it, Suneeta Julius, says, "it was fun," and "the trip was thoroughly enjoyable, brilliantly organized and the weather was just perfect!"
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