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Final Reflection-
When I look back on the trip, all I can say is Wow. I am overjoyed that I was able to participate in something so incredible. When I try to explain it to people, all of them thought it was just a pleasure cruise. I can say that it was fun, but I feel we all learned a lot on the trip. Just being on the river changes what your point of view of the river.

I live near the river, and before I went on this trip I always though it was just an ugly dirty river. Then when I had the opportunity to go on the river I thought it shouldn't be too bad as long as I don't fall in. As soon as the first day we were on the river I started to realize that it wasn't that bad. It might have been a little dirty but it had a special type of beauty. The bluffs were amazing all along the river. Plus the wildlife the river supported; the number of dependent creatures was incredible.

I don't think I have ever been in something like this where the people all clicked. The crew on the boat was great. Every one got along almost instantly. I think that is why it was so hard to say goodbye. The variety of backgrounds gave interesting conversation topics. Oh yeah, and then there was Ike. I don't think you can say enough about Ike, he was just amazing. He had been on the rivers so long he was just full of interesting knowledge. I learned a lot about the river and boat just by sitting by him while we were traveling. Not only was the crew and captain great, but so were the leaders. They didn't really act like adults all of the time which made it a lot easier to talk to them about anything. I just think it is really great when you can get a functional group like this together.

I think this trip opened my eyes to the history of the river also. When we stopped in at little towns along the way it was interesting to see their individual histories. Pretty much all of the towns we stopped at were major river cities. They would not have been there if the river wasn't flowing along side of them. I really liked how the town's people were revamping old buildings that were once used to store river products. This preserved the history more instead of just tearing them all down.

To sum up the trip I just think it was a great learning experience. It is one of those things that you will never forget. For me I have no idea what I want to when I grow up. This trip has given me serious consideration into the forestry and wildlife field. Even if I don't go into those fields I would want to find a way to help out our "river of life". I think this is something everyone should have the opportunity to do. Maybe not on the Lilly Belle or with Hamline, but just to get out on the river is an amazing experience.

May 10, Wednesday-
Talk about a cold morning. When I woke up I was freezing! It was really cold outside. I even had an extra blanket. When I woke up I came inside and sat on the couch with Jamie. She put extra blankets on everyone on the boat, it was really nice and a little bit warmer. The weather kinda tired people out so we spent a while sleeping on the couches.

At about 12:30 we docked in at Lansing Iowa. Then we had our little scavenger hunt again. I think we didn't do as well this time because everyone seemed a little tired. We had to stop at the store with a million items though. It was packed from wall to wall with stuff. Some aisles had caved in because their were so many things.

After our scavenger hunt Jamie got the great idea of dying her hair. I was a little worried about how it would turn out, but it didn't look too bad. We recorded the whole process for the documentary too. We left Lansing a little after 3:00 to head to Victory Wisconsin. The ride was a little long so we played games to pass the time.We played this interesting hand tapping game where everyone laid in a circle and there were some rules I can't really explain. We also played spoons, and Andrea beat us, I couldn't believe it.

When we reached Victory Thor and I went fishing. All we caught were some zebra mussels. I can not believe how many of them there were along the beach. There must have been millions.

For dinner that night we planned on having mac and cheese, but Andrea didn't like the kind we bought so she wanted grilled cheese. So we ended up making mac and cheese, grilled cheese, and spaghetti. I was just going to make a grilled cheese for Andrea but then it turned into an epidemic and I had to make one for almost everyone.

During the trip we also continued writing our song to Ike. The song was finished a little after dinner. We sang it to Ike right before the sun set. I think it really meant a lot to him. It turned out really great, and I don't think he'll ever forget it. When the dark finally came Becky and Brooke made a little fire on the beach. Then we spent the rest of the night talking and lighting sparklers that we bought in Lansing. After that I pretty much konked out for the night. I want to say hi to the Swansons, Hilgenbergs, Dalmans, and everyone else following our journey.

May 9, Tuesday-
Today was a busy day. I woke up early today because we had a 5 hour ride ahead of us. Me and Becky went down to the button beach in the morning to collect more "holy" shells. We passed through the lock and dam no.10 and almost had to stop due to the violent winds. When we were about half of the way to McGregor, Jon Stravers , also known as Hawk, brought us out in a little boat to do some bird watching. I saw two red shouldered hawks and almost froze to death on the boat ride back.

When we reached our destination our first in town trip was to the effigy mounds. The mounds were burials for the native americans thousands of years ago. They stood about a foot and a half off from the ground and were shaped like animals. The walk to the mounds was longer than I expected, but we all survived. On the way back to the boat I fell asleep and when I woke up we were at the Villa Louis.

We took a tour of the house. It was more like a mansion. The house was built in the 1800's and had very rich owners. The house included servant quarters and rooms we couldn't enter. The tour guide was getting kinda mad because this old guy kept on touching things; then she yelled at me and the old guy's wife for walking ahead a little bit.

When we got back to the boat me and Thor went fishing off from the dock. I caught 6 bass in 6 casts! It was really exciting. I caught another one later when I came out, but I think that we emptied out the hole. We were interupted again by dinner, but that is okay because we had tacos and I love tacos, hats off to the chefs Becky and Andrea.

After we ate we got the chance to go to Peggy's hotel room and take a hot shower. Nothing feels better than a hot shower after being on a boat for a long time and sleeping in a tent. Everyone also got some Laundry done at the local laundromat. After that we pretty much just came back and went to bed. It was a long day and everyone seemed pretty tired.

May 8, Monday-
The dry spell has ended. Finally on the third day I pulled in my first bass. It wasn't anything huge, but it is better than what I have been catching. Then about ten minutes later I pulled in another bass. I was on a roll. Then we had to eat though so it put a break in the action.

Well here is what happened today. What a day! I woke up about 6 this morning while were beached south of Guttenberg. After everyone woke up we headed up stream. This was one of our shorter runs, it only took about an hour. We arrived at Guttenberg at about 8 o'clock and started to explore the town.

Guttenberg was really dead in the morning. The only stores open were the hardware store and the beauty salon. A little while after we arrived we found our way to the old button factory. The factory had been closed 40 years ago but we still found tons of shells with holes punched in them.

At one o'clock we had an interview with the Guttenberg elementary. It was so funny how cool the students thought we were. At the end we sat with the students for a picture and one of the little girls said "we actually get to sit with them" I was like okay. What I thought was really weird was when we answering question from the kids in their classes I could not stand still. I was rocking back and forth and not really even noticing. Then Brooke explained to the kids the reason why we were rocking is because we had sea legs.

Oh I forgot to mention that when we went to the school we broke up into pairs and went into seperate classrooms for 15 minute time periods. Like I was kinda saying up there I was paired with Brooke yet again. After the school meetings most of the group headed for the library while me and Becky headed to the local DNR. The DNR people talked to us about river projects, and they gave me some statistical information on fishing on the Mississippi.

I almost forgot about the baby turtles. We were playing ultimate frisbee, and my team which consisted of the boys had just scored the first points in about 10 seconds. I was about to throw the frisbee off to the girls when I noticed a little turtle. Then everyone started finding them. We found about seventeen in all, and released them into the water. The DNR kinda looked down upon our rescue mission because they said we might have imprinted the turtles. I think that we saved a lot of turtles though because they had a long way to go and we had already found some dried up turtles.

The rest of the day was really fun, we played frisbee for a little while later and I lost frisbee to the mighty Mississippi. That's okay though I wasn't too upset. It just ended our game pretty quick. The only bad part of the day was when we got into a little argument with some local youngsters. I was fishing and talking to Andrea when they started throwing rocks down at us. Then one thing led to another and Thor and me had to refrain ourselves hurting them. Then the rain hit again. Thor, Jamie, Andrea, and myself took a little walk to the park before calling it a night.

May 7, Sunday-
Two days and only one bite. It is pretty pathetic. I have tried almost half of my artificial lures, and then some nightcrawlers. I figured live bait would work better, I just have to buy and maintain some. We had a early morning today, well at least some of us. I got up and did some fishing, but didn't turn up much.
After everyone was awake we headed towards Cassville, our first little stop. Cassville was a somewhat interesting little town. Andrea and I were a team for the scavenger hunt that took place there. We received a lot of our information from the bars we visited. Everyone was really nice, but the town was a little quiet for my taste I guess. One thing I have noticed so far is that there are a lot of dead fish in this river. I figured there would be, but it is kinda disgusting. We also had a dead possum floating in front of our boat at Cassville. I almost forgot! Ike let me drive the boat for a while today. It's not a speedboat, but it was still fun driving or navigating might be a better word. I have also learned about markers in the river from sitting with Ike while he does his thing. Tonight for dinner we had roasted corn on the cob and pizza. I'll tell you living on the river is tough. haha Well it is time to go exploring so I'd just like to say hi to everyone following our trip. Plus I like to say hi to my family who should be following unless my sister broke my p.c, and all of my friends looking on. I would also like to thank my neighbor Tracy Fredin for getting me to go onto this trip because it is really fun.

May 6-

Finally, we are on the boat. I have been waiting all week, and the car ride seemed to take forever. Probably because we took the long way. The boat is really cool. It's big, and feels kinda like a small house. It has everything you would need to survive. The boys have to sleep outside in a tent while the girls get the beds. That is okay with me though, just a little closer to nature. I met Thor, Jamie, and Becky at Hamline this morning and they are really nice, I have found out that Jamie likes to talk. I kinda found that out on the 6-hour car ride down here. That isn't necessarily a bad thing though. When we got to Dubuque we met Andrea and Brooke. Oh yeah and Ike. We were all set to go when someone noticed we were stuck. We spent a long time tugging and pulling, but finally the Lily Belle came loose. Everything seems to be going good so far. Me and Brooke made Spaghetti for dinner tonight which turned out better than I expected. I can't wait til tomorrow. Then it will be time to do some fishing. Plus the other fun activities in plan for us.

Center for Global Environmental Education
Hamline University Graduate School of Education
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