"If you know wilderness in the way that you know love, you would be unwilling to let it go."
~ Terry Tempest Williams
This feels like the first moment that I have stood still in two months. My laundry is folded. I have groceries in my fridge. My house is (as good as it gets) clean. My shrivelled up plants have been watered and are returning to life. The last of the blueberries are picked. My big toenail finally fell off. I'm ready to sit and ponder and reflect for a moment.
July and August have been a wild and wonderful ride. I need to take a moment to unload the thoughts and images that have been rolling around in my singletrack mind... I have been posting snippits of mountain moments in the little square boxes of myInstagram account(LOVE my new insta family!)...but I'd like to revisit some of them and reflect on this fantastic summer spent playing in the dirt...so far... Here are some (not so deep) thoughts, by Sarah Seads, on this lovely August afternoon...
"What day is it? I'm lost in a stream of cairns, steep scree slopes, endless ridge lines, and windy summits. When I close my eyes all I can see is the fusion of routes I have travelled over the past month. It has been a glutinous feast of wilderness and adventure and I am close to falling off my chair with pura vida.
Oh...but...the weekend is here...just one more..."
I have spent more days and nights on mountains this summer than I can even remember. From the last week in June that I spent running/exploring Strathcona Park to the Run BC Project, the Mountain Skills Course, a fast pack of the Augerpoint Traverse, numerous single day epics and the Fat Dog 80k in Manning Park last weekend, it has been a wild feast for sure. An entire room in my house has been taken over by bags and packs and shoes and food and maps and ziplocks. I have somehow managed to acquire a whole fleet of new gear that I don't actually remember ordering. It is as if I am waking up from a 2 month party in the mountains lol. I have definitely made the most of this summer...this body...this beautiful Province. No regrets over here!
"Hi. My name is Sarah and...I am a biophiliac. I'm addicted to big mountains. And big forests. And big skies. Last minute decision to take the day off tomorrow to climb another mountain...it is hump day after all! The first step is admitting you have a problem. But I'm sooooo good with this problem!"
I have fallen in love with the mountains on a new level this year. The first arrow pierced my heart last summer, on my Golden Hindewalk about. And at this point, cupid is having a hard time finding a spot to land his next hit. But what exactly IS it that pulls me so hard? Hmmmmmm....
Beauty, to be sure. I have always been most at home in wild spaces. I touch every giant tree that I pass, saying hello, saying thank you and to feel it's vital energy against my finger tips. I always have. I stop to eat up the big views. Big skies. Big valleys. Bold colours. Towering mountains. Raging water. I don't have a choice. They deserve my undivided attention and I oblige every time.
Fullfilment, of course. Mother nature fills me to the brim. I often feel like my heart might actually explode with the amount of love and joy and gratitude that are trying to bust out of there.
I truely get high on supernatural energy...although I don't really know how or why. Perhaps I am simply open to it. Or maybe I am just a drama queen. Or perhaps, I have a super power to soak it all up and use it for good. Usually I don't really care. Mostly I don't really think about it. I just enjoy it. I do, however, wish that everyone could feel the same amount of joy as I do in those wild moments. I would like to think that everyone is capable of doing so in some healthy, natural way. Although I know that many do not.
It takes a bit of work to get deep into the wild. Far away from roads and cars and cell phones and debit cards and the rest. But not as much as you would think. Even though our Province is a patchwork of cities and roads and clearcuts and open pit mines and telephone lines and cell towers...there are still a few pockets of true wilderness remaining. I want to travel through them all. I want to know them because they exist and in case they are gone one day. Every time I find myself somewhere completely in awe of Mother Nature, I wish my family could also experience these magical places. I wish everyone could.
Gen and Nathalie enjoying one of lifes greatest gifts at the end of the day.
"More and more people are stepping off the grid and into the wild to experience the beauty of the backcountry and to enjoy what mother nature has to offer. Connecting with the wilderness makes us better humans and I hope to see the 'outdoor' movement continue to grow. With increased numbers, however, comes the potential for increased impact on the beautiful wild spaces we seek to enjoy in their natural state. Those of us who travel into the wilderness share the responsibility of helping to preserve it. Knowing, following and sharing 'Leave No Trace' etiquette is the best way we can show our respect for the wild spaces that bring us so much joy. Here are 7 Leave No Trace principles to practice on your next adventure." - Leave No Trace Principles by Sarah Seads, The Outbound Collective
I believe that nature makes us all better humans. But I am also aware that humans rarely make nature better. Lately, I have had some internal conflict between my passion for sharing my favourite wild spaces and the potential for losing them due to irrisponsible use. I would never want to withhold the joy and wonder that mother nature can provide to each and every one of us, but my heart breaks when I see ignorance trampling on her before my very eyes. I have come to the decision that we should, in fact, continue to promote our wild spaces, and to encourage others to immerse themselves in these magical places. But, I have also decided that each and every one of us (especially those of us who promote and encourage exploration through guide books, blogging, trip reports etc) has the responsibility to educate and encourage stewardship of the land and water. My personal goal is to raise awareness and spread a growing respect for our wild spaces through education, empowerment and a spreading a deep love for the wild.
Running off the back of Albert Edward...and across Van Isle...why walk when you can run?
"There was this mountain...
There was this endless ribbon of singletrack...
There was this explosion of wildflowers...
There was this gorgeous ridge line...
There was this big, wild beautiful sky...
Good thing summer ain't over yet."
Well. That feels better. I have always used words on paper (so to speak) to clear my head, make sense of it all and get my thoughts in order. Journaling has always calmed the tornado spinning in my mind. My musings are entirely for my benefit. But if something resonates with you, that's great too. I'd love to hear your thoughts on nature, the mountains, sharing and protecting our wild spaces!
Now...back to the mountains I go!
PS: And thanks to my sis for sharing this great article on AWE with me... it couldn't sum up my life right now any better...
"In the upper reaches of pleasure and on the boundary of fear is a little-studied emotion — awe. Awe is felt about diverse events and objects, from waterfalls to childbirth to scenes of devastation. Awe is central to the experience of religion, politics, nature and art. Fleeting and rare, experiences of awe can change the course of a life in profound and permanent ways."