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COC Tries!

With the end of the fall semester approaching, we wanted to treat you guys to something extra special with this blog. Each exec has carefully picked an activity to try out for the first time, and given it a rating! Yes, you heard that right. We are indeed your guinea pigs. We hope you enjoy this as much as we did, and that you'll find inspiration for new adventures to try over the winter break!


Eva tries: Biking the Jacques Cartier bridge

Rating: 11/10


"Ever since I moved to Montreal I noticed that pretty much everyone bikes everywhere, and since I was going to spend my first summer here, I wanted to experience the city in that way too! So I got a bike and decided that I would start biking everywhere I could, just so I'd see the city through a new lens. I wanted to go to parc Jean Drapeau so I decided I would bike there instead of taking the metro. I think they are totally different experiences and I really wanted to go on the Jacques Cartier bridge! I had biked pretty much the whole bridge, and I came up to these barriers to make cyclists slow down, but I wasn’t slow enough and clipped my handle bar on one of the barriers! I flew off my bike and scraped my knee and hands. People were really nice and checked to see if I was ok, and I was, so I got up and kept biking! It was awesome seeing the city from the bridge, and I had a super fun time getting to my destination! Tips for prospective cyclists: buy a helmet and make sure your breaks work!"


Julia tries: Mycology

Rating: 9/10


"I decided to try learning about mushrooms and fungus, known as mycology! I’ve always thought mushrooms were pretty, and I always take pictures of them on hikes, but I actually really hate the taste and texture of mushrooms. So I decided to actually learn about the mushrooms I take pictures of! I had a lot of fun learning about different mushrooms and fungi, but it sure is confusing trying to identify them since they can all vary in colour, shape, and size. I also learned that a lot of poisonous mushrooms may look like tasty, friendly mushrooms, so they can be easily mistaken and get you sick! Here are some photos of the mushroom's I've identified:


1) Commonly known as the Orange Jelly Fungus (Dacrymyces Palmatus). This mushroom grows in the late fall, usually on dead trees. It is edible but also flavourless.

2) Trametes Versicolor, more commonly know as Turkey Tail. This is one of the most common mushrooms to find in the woods, usually on dead wood or fallen trees. They are generally safe to eat, but aren't the kind of mushrooms people would necessarily want to eat because they're tough in texture.

3) Mycena Acicula, commonly known as the orange bonnet. This mushroom is not edible and grows in shaded, damp places like moss."


Tip: Buy a field guide of the local mushrooms in your area to help you identify them accurately!


Sara tries: Whale watching

Rating: 10/10


"I spent a week in Tadoussac in October and had the chance to go whale watching. I had no clue what to expect since it was my first time doing this, but I was very excited. October is the end of the whale watching season, and I had heard stories of people going out on the water not seeing any whales. Just like our guide told us, whale watching is not like a zoo, and there is no guarantee for anything, but that's part of the fun! I don't know how I ended up being so lucky, but we probably got to see four different kinds of whales, and grey seals! Watching a group of humpback whales breaching and then diving to show their tails is probably my favourite moment of 2023. I would love to do this again!"


Briahna tries: Mindful walking (in the woods)

Rating: 10/10


"Although I initially wanted to explore a new sport for COC tries, the end-of-semester stress got to me, and I knew I needed to do something a bit more grounding. Although I go on nature-walks and do breathing exercises at home to help me relax, I wanted to try combining the two! And it did not disappoint. It was pretty cold (for me anyways) so I bundled up, and my dad ended up joining me, which was a nice treat! Here are some of the exercises I tried:


1) The first thing I did, was a variation of box breathing. I inhaled for x amount of seconds, held my breath for that same amount of time, and exhaled for twice as long. So, for example, inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4, exhale for 8. When this became comfortable, I increased the amount of time and did this until it became too difficult. While I do this breathing exercise at home, I noticed it was more challenging to do while walking... So I had to slow down and be very intentional which helped me feel calm! Although, just a note, I wouldn't recommend doing this exercise while walking alone for the first time. Since my dad was with me, I felt comfortable pushing myself!

2) I wanted to get some of my other senses involved on the walk, so for the next exercise, I tried to take note of all the different moss, lichen, mushrooms and fungi I came across! I absolutely loved doing this because it forced me to be really present and mindful of my surroundings."


Jon & Amanda try: Top roping

Amanda's rating: 11/10

Jon's rating: 9/10


Mini-Dictionary

Belaying - A technique in rock climbing to provide support for a climber. The person on the ground uses a belay device to control the rope's tension to lower the climber down safely or to stop them from falling.


Amanda: "It was super fun, but super scary at first! I was shaking at the top, we had to practice falling but after the third time I was better at it! We tried auto belaying and then Jon was belaying me which felt so much better, I felt safe. It was definitely a cardio workout, more than bouldering is."


Jon: "I've done a belaying accreditation so therefore I was able to belay Amanda. But if I was to compare top-roping to bouldering I could compare it to a marathon vs. a sprint. So top-roping is way more cardio and endurance-based! Personally I'm more into bouldering, but I can see how it appeals to other people."


Noah tries: Cold plunge

Rating: 5/10

"The Ice Bath

Once upon a shivering night, so dreary,

In icy depths, I sought to be weary.


A bath of ice, the porcelain throne,

Chilled to the bone, my skin it owns.

In the echoes of the frigid air,

A dance with cold, a spectral affair.


Shivers trace my every limb,

A frozen tale, a wintery hymn.

In the bathroom's icy grip,

A symphony of chills, a ghostly trip."


Olivia tries: Scap-booking

Rating: 10/10


"I decided to try scrap-booking for my COC-tries! I have never done anything like this before, so I was really excited to try it out as a way to show people how easy it is to make homemade and sustainable gifts for the holidays rather than buying something. It's also a more personal gift! I got some notebooks, stickers, tape, printed some pictures and put it all together! It was definitely very fun, I like the creative process and it feels great to make something that people are going to cherish and keep with them for a long time."


David tries: Filtering stream water

*We are not sponsored but we would love to be*

Rating: 9/10


"This summer on a backpacking trip in the Adirondacks, hiking the Dix Range, I had the chance to try filtering my own stream water. I have gone on many backpacking trips before, but either relied on resupply wells/fountains, snow in the winter, or simply bringing all the water I would need for the trip! My friend Nicolas lent me his Katadyn Befree filtering water bottle. It worked simply by taking the cap off, filling the bottle up in a stream, and squeezing the water out of the nozzle to filter it. The water tasted great and none of us got any tummy issues from the water. I feel that as long as you are filtering clear running water, this solution should work great for a summer backpacking trip where you need plenty of water to stay hydrated over a few days!"


Coralie tries: Hiking with an umbrella

Rating: 7/10


"It kept me dry but I almost fell down a couple times. It made me feel like Mary Poppins, so that's cool. Bonus points for Eva cheering me on."


Stella tries: Eating an M&M off the floor

Rating: 7/10


"I saw it as soon as i walked inan orange M&Mand nothing could stop me. Not the fact that it was under the coffee table, not the fact that its age was unknown, not the fact that I had no idea how it ended up there, not the fact that it was on the floor, on a carpet I have no faith Concordia cleans. I promptly shoved it in my mouth and experienced the refined sugar high on my synapses as I chewed into the processed chocolatey peanut orb. The taste was satisfying, if a bit stale; the nut in the centre airing on the side of rancid, but masked by the coating of sweet cocoa goodness that Nestle has perfected to render us all hopeless slaves to Big Candy. Permeated slightly with the stale aromas of dust and shoe dirt that unventilated offices exude exceptionally well, it fuelled me on my quest to find a microwave capable of heating up my dinner. I would rate the experience a 7/10, the price was right and the timing was optimal, but the fine veneer of aged germs did a number on the flavour profile.


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