The Great Eight

We've assembled an elite crew (all of whom have some connection to Middlebury College or the Mayflower) for this summer's paddling adventure on the Cochrane and Thlewiaza Rivers. We bring with us a wide breadth of paddling and tripping experience that is sure to create a dynamic and determined crew in the wilderness of Manitoba and Nunavut. Take a second to get to know us better...

Ben Meader

Ben is actually a boat in human form.  He is a Geography major at Middlebury, lives vicariously through Christian's shenanigans, and enjoys sailing almost as much as paddling.  Almost.  The coast of Maine currently provides Ben a horizon at which to gaze, and some speculate that when he is completely surrounded by the endless horizon of the Barrens this summer, he may actually drop dead in a fit of enlightened joy.

He would like to thank his friends and family for their endless support and patience with his listlessness.

"Man is a stream whose source is hidden."  -Ralph Waldo Emerson  [Quote stolen from Bill Roorbach "Temple Stream"]

Bonnie Hemphill

Bonnie grew up in North Carolina, always looking north from her northerly-named but decidedly Southern homeland. Living at the family camp in Maine during the summers hooked her on New England, and she made the move to VT for college. Bonnie recently followed her love of adventure and climate politics to Seattle - slightly farther north than VT, and much more water - but it's still not North enough. Time to try the medium-far north of the Nunavutian sub-arctic.

Bonnie and her momma and grandma have been avidly Messing About in Boats now for a cumulative century. Ratty puts it best to Mole in The Wind in the Willows: "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats....In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it."

Bonnie's all about the Sheer Charm of It All.

Christian Woodard

Christian is probably out paddling right now. He was born and raised in Western New York State, where it's only slightly flatter than the sub-arctic barrens. He managed to find some drainage ditches and swimming pools to paddle in as a youngster, and never looked back.

"I expect the Thlewiaza to be a bit like Old Mister MacMillan's wastewater sluice, but a little longer," he claims. "I'm worried that we won't be able to touch bottom in some spots."

He is an avid whitewater kayaker, and majors in environmental writing at Middlebury.

Not to be outdone in pithy quotes, Christian thinks that Sam Cook (or maybe it was Ghandi) once said:

"Each of us has an Up North.
It's a time and a place far from the here and now.
It's a map on the wall, a dream in the making,
a tugging at one's soul.
For those of us who feel the tug,
who make the dream happen,
who put the map in the packsack and go,
the world is never quite the same again.
We have been Up North,
and part of us will always be."
Take that, hosers!

Heather Pangle

Heather is from Austin, Texas, but grew up in Toronto, Canada. She was introduced to canoeing through attending summer camps in Ontario, where she was introduced to the lakes and rivers of Ontario, especially in Algonquin Park and Temagami. Realizing that canoeing was the best part of camp, she sought out a whitewater canoe camp. She worked her way up to become a guide, getting the chance over the years to paddle (sometimes multiple times) the Coulonge, Dumoine, Noire, Rupert, and Pontax rivers. Heather is a junior at Middlebury College studying Political Science.

Ian Hough

Ian was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After graduating from Middlebury College in 2007, he worked on two climate change campaigns and an emissions inventory tool for colleges and universities before returning to Middlebury, Vermont where he now works for Brighter Planet. Ian has hiked on four continents, but has never been canoeing outside the US. He looks forwards to his first trip north of the 58th parallel.

Nicole Grohoski

Nicole was born and raised in Downeast Maine, ayuh. She now lives in Burlington, Vermont where she is a GIS specialist studying nutrient pollution in Lake Champlain. Since graduating from Middlebury College in 2005, she has bicycled across the country, designed maps at the Center for Community GIS in Maine, through-paddled the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, worked as a teaching assistant for geography classes at Middlebury College, paddled in the Temagami region of Ontario, and bicycled through Western Europe. She may or may not be wearing a fanny pack in this picture.

Pete Goodwin

This is Pete.

Renee Igo

Renee is from Duluth, Minnesota. She is a sophomore at Middlebury College studying Environmental Studies with a focus in nonfiction writing. Her diverse interests include working outside and playing outside. Cool things she's done include an Outward Bound course in northern Washington, two SCA trail crews, and a season of trail crew with the Green Mountain Club. She currently works for the Middlebury Area Land Trust doing (surprise!) trail work. She has paddled Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota, the Quetico in Ontario, the Everglades, and a bit in New England.