Saturday, April 30, 2016

Seeking Adventures!

It was Earth Day here on Thursday, and I went to the Earth Day Film Festival to support the local Conservation Foundation.  The featured film was the story of four young people hiking the John Muir Trail in California.  Running 215 miles through the Sierra Nevadas in California, it has been described as the 'premier hiking trail in the United States'.

What it made me think of is the importance of seeking those outdoor adventures and challenges in your life.

These pictures are just from our little paddling adventure nearly two weeks ago, when I floated down the Bighead River with a group who've been doing this for years.

I was a guest and didn't know many of the group, so I was content to stay near the back and let the others lead the way, especially when we came to the short rapids.

I took my little canoe, which you sit in like a kayak, and paddle with a kayak paddle - you can see the tip of my paddle here.

It's not a very exciting river, and a pretty easy paddle, but it was certainly fun, and as it was new to me, it was an adventure, since I didn't know what would appear around each bend.

I had never really taken this small canoe through any rapids to speak of, so I was really glad to find I had no trouble with the 5 or 6 rapids we encountered - all just straight class 1 swifts, but never-the-less exciting!

The film portrayed the hike in the Sierras as quite a serious adventure!  It was 25 days of steady walking, up and down some pretty long and steep slopes, including some that were above the snowpack.  An adventure they'll remember the rest of their lives!

It was those sorts of adventures that came to mind while watching it.  I simply felt grateful that we have taken the plunge and had some good adventures, and faced some challenges, in our own lives. Our son William's death last year fighing a forest fire undoubtedly makes this more poignant for me, but I know I'll be able to get to the end of life and be secretly pleased that we haven't held back.  And there are plenty of adventures yet to come; we have more time now.

There were the cross-country camping trips when our children were young.  I think we saw at least 18 national parks from the Atlantic to the Pacific, as well as the Yukon and Alaska.  I phoned up a friend and asked if I could join him when I was about to turn 50, and there followed 9 major canoe trips on northern rivers, as far away as the Arctic.  Mrs. F.G. and I have travelled in Europe several times, and next year we're planning to revisit at least 10 Canadian National Parks again for our country's 150th Anniversary.  Even my own local intention to finish hiking the Bruce Trail here in the Beaver Valley this summer is a significant challenge for this summer.

So I came away from the film both glad I've had great adventures, and thinking about more.  And my advice to anyone is to get out there and enjoy life yourself as much as you can.  It's amazing how the thoughts of work, daily life and the mundane parts of our time here fade into oblivion, but the memories of those adventures still come vividly to mind!  They are what makes life worthwhile.


  1. I am so sorry to learn of your son's death. it cannot be easy to engage in life after such a tragedy. I hope the beautiful photography you do and your adventures help you embrace life again even though it is so radically changed for you and your family.

  2. Most of our holidays have been camping, with tents ranging from a tarpaulin tied to the roof rack, and sheets spread on the ground( what an experience on our honeymoon!!), to a small tent, cooking under a fly, digging ditches so the torrential rain didn't come in, to slightly larger tents, then caravans, occasionally a motel or cabin, but the best was a whole year in the South Island. We took our caravan, and in 12 months were in a proper camping ground 5 times.Met wonderful friendly people, saw so much, and yes, this is the memory of 1986. And if you and Mrs F.G. ever fly south, you will be so welcome at our place. Love those photos of your recent kayak trip out.

  3. Looks like great fun to me. Looking forward to kayaking this summer.

  4. I think we all need to follow our dreams and make them happen, it is so rewarding !

  5. seems you are living and enjoying life to it's fullest, you are very fortunate to be able to. my hikes are short, my views are limited but enriching for me just the same. my dream is to visit alaska, i would like to make that happen.

    the kayak/row boat excursion looks and sounds so fun, something i would enjoy!!! reading about the loss of william always saddens me, such a tragedy!!!!

  6. I lived overseas in various places for years and those adventures will stay with me forever. Our children were young, so not sure their memories are as sharp as mine. We also spent many times camping when the children were younger. Now class #1 rapids are the extent of my willingness to enter an adventure. Long hikes are no longer my venue as my lungs and my bones need more careful care. But I still push as much as I can.

  7. I loved joining you on the water, and I am so glad you are out there doing your thing. There is nothing to be done about the loss of a loved one but just keep on, and you have done that so well. Thank you for being my virtual friend! :-)

  8. Seeing your post pushes me to get the canoe back in the water -- Thank you.

    For those of us well past middle age (actually for everyone as your son's death should remind us) a quote from the movie "Breaker Morant" is very appropriate:"Live every day as if it was your last for someday you will be right."

  9. Very well said. The river does look quite pleasant.

  10. You are WAY ahead of me when it comes to travel and experiences. I LOVE being out in nature --but never did it much when I was younger. I was WAY too busy being a single parent, working fulltime, getting my Master's Degree, and just making ends meet. These days---I (being a newbie) just marvel at the sight of the next waterfall or what is around the bend on the next hike, etc.... LOVE every second of my experiences now. Keep up the good work!!!

    Happy May Day... I'll publish a blog post tomorrow (in addition to the one you saw today).

  11. We have sold our kayak carrying car, so we are hoping that it will fit on our double quad trailer so we can still take it out for paddling adventures. It will cost more to load onto a ferry, but around our area the quad trailer can make it through logging roads to lots of lakes and by regular road to ocean destinations. - Margy