Hello Parents of U.S. Explorer!
Our trip is off to a great start, and we can’t believe we’re already on our way to Cleveland!
After a smooth ride through the Canadian border, it was time for our first camping stop at the accommodating Niagara KOA campsite! The unfamiliarity of camping made nerves a little high at first, but once the trip members followed our wonderful campsite manager Brad’s tent tutorial, it was time to start enjoying the outdoors! The trip members enjoyed some free time after setting up the campsite, and a group of 15 boys organized a basketball league called the WBL (Westcoast Basketball League), in hopes of playing games at each campsite. We await the big draft tonight, as captains Jon, Perry, Justin L, and Scott are responsible for organizing their teams. At the same time, the other wonderful amenities such as the pool were open to any takers! The first night of camping also meant the first time students prepared their own meals! Dinner #1 offered a barbecue with a lovely side salad and fresh watermelon for dessert. Students were split into work groups, which alternate between cooking/cleaning for every meal at the campsite. Shout out to Jon for mastering the skill of slicing watermelon, and Shoshana for her fast and efficient clean up strategy. Night 1 in Niagara was everything and more, as we made our way into the center of Cliffton Hills where we were surrounded by arcades, haunted houses, candy shops and much more. The students had a blast checking out each place, and some of us had their first taste of Tim Horton’s, a classic Canadian coffee shop! We all gathered in front of both the Niagara and Horseshoe falls to gaze at the nightlight waterfalls and take as many pictures as possible! After checking out the view, we headed back to the campsite to end off a great day with a campfire making yummy s’mores!
Day 4 began bright and early with a hot breakfast followed by a quick departure to the Falls to catch a ride on the Maid of the Mist! While waiting in line, the staff taught “the move” which is a dance move being done around the world on all the Westcoast Connection tours. As we suited up in our ponchos, we boarded the boat and had a close-up look at the base of the Falls while getting showered in water on both sides of the boat. Thanks to our man Scott and his waterproof camera, we were able to get some stunning photos of the falls and some great group shots. In the afternoon we had our first picnic lunch, and Melanie’s group, famously known on the trip as the ‘Ice Cappe’s’, added some much needed creativity, chanting “TOGA” while presenting the Chicken Caesar Wraps for lunch! The most exciting part of the day followed lunch, as we prepared for the Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour. No one knew what to expect, and after boarding the hot pink boat, our lovely tour guide took us through some level 5 rapids. The highest level we saw was a level 6 but not to worry – we didn’t go through that one! The first three rows are know as the splash section, and some of the boys, Alex, Jon, Eric, and Justin L were more than ready to take the plunge! The boat had these awesome cameras on both sides to capture our reaction when going straight into the wild rapids. Brendan got lucky as he was given a helmet camera to capture the rapids first-hand! The trip members had so much fun; they didn’t want to get off the boat! What a blast! Everyone was completely soaked at the end and continued to say, “This was the best activity so far”!
Day 2 came to an end with a continuation of the WBL along with some free time at the campsite, followed by a delicious pasta dinner cooked by Hannah’s awesome crew! As the sun went down, our staff members introduced a Canada/Rock N’ Roll themed day for our journey to Cleveland to celebrate Canada Day and get us pumped up to the Rock N’ Roll hall of fame! We can’t wait to rock our socks off! More adventures to come.
The Westcoast Blogger