The weather here in BC has been unusually sunny this spring, teasing those (including Julie and me) cooped up in stuffy offices. But on the weekends we head out into the hills.
This past weekend we ventured into Paradise Meadows, an alpine landscape situated in Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island. Deep snow, strong winds and acidic bogs sculpt the conifers here into natural bonsai trees, as though Mother Nature had a sudden passion for Japanese gardening. This area is also rich with memories; I first visited this park as an eight year old when my mother took my brother, George, and me on my first mountain climbing trip to the summit of Mount Albert Edward.
My most prominent memory from that trek almost thirty years ago is not the expansive view from the 2093 metre summit, but the bold whisky jacks that landed on our outstretched hands to munch trail mix. As Julie and I sat on the banks of Helen Mackenzie Lake eating our lunch it seemed nothing had changed in the course of three decades. Crystalline waters were flanked by forests of fir, pine and cedar and snow-clad mountains stretched into the distance. Suddenly, a familiar grey form could be seen flitting through the nearby trees. I held out a small chunk of apple and within seconds an intrepid whiskey jack alighted my fingers and took the fruit.
In this rapidly changing world it is becoming increasingly rare to find forgotten corners that have escaped the change that seems so inevitable. Our lives pass by in a whirlwind of personal transformation, and these moments of contemplative solitude and familiarity are a balm for the soul.
We hope that many of you will have opportunities this summer to explore the nearby wilderness and revisit all-but-forgotten haunts. And for those looking to do some vicarious exploration we will be offering a couple of presentations in Toronto this month. I will be participating in this year’s ideaCity (June 17th-19th). More information at http://www.ideacityonline.com/ and in last Sunday’s Toronto Star you can read about my upcoming talk at ideaCity in a feature article on Julie and me (http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/643138).
Also, on June 24th Glenfiddich will be hosting a taste testing event in Toronto which I will be presenting at. The function is open to the public and will include sampling of their 12, 15 and 18 year whiskies. Tickets are $30 (a pretty good deal for an evening’s entertainment) and attendees must be of legal age.
While Julie and I are mostly in the office these days, we keep ourselves entertained by following what others are up to. We were excited to receive a visit from Dale McKinnon as she propelled her sleek rowing shell along the east coast of Vancouver Island. Dale is well-known in the world of recreational rowing, and recently she completed a solo rowing journey from Seattle to Ketchikan Alaska in a dory (which she built herself). Dale is now in her sixties, but her spry form and limitless energy is testament that with the right attitude and plenty of exercise we never need to grow old.
Another inspiring rower who we’ve featured as this month’s adventurer is Roz Savage who is currently stroking her way across the Pacific Ocean. You can read about her record breaking attempt here: https://angusadventures.com/blog/2009/06/151/.