Today is National Aboriginal Day. It is a day that is so full of spirit, so full of joy, and that holds a very special place in my life and heart. Three years ago, on a whim, I headed to northern Alberta to teach on a First Nations reserve. In Fox Lake, I found myself in an extremely isolated area of Canada with limited access to groceries, without malls or coffee shops, and (*shock*) without cell phone service. I lived surrounded by pure nature. A vast birch tree forest, a river rich in red clay, wild horses in my backyard, and a sky full of northern lights. This was my reality- a part of Canada that has been touched by so few. Continue reading
In September of last year, I went on a 2 week camping trip to Big Sur, California. We flew with only our backpacks, rented a car and drove down the coast from San Francisco. As someone that loves minimalist living, it was still an adjustment to the intense food limitations, trying to figure out how to wash dishes in a tiny bucket on the hood of our car, and sleeping on the ground every night. It was a challenging but affirming experience for me.
Soon after this trip, I read Nikki Van Schydel’s Becoming Wild: Living the Primitive Life on a West Coast Island and felt ridiculous about any frustration I experienced on my trip. Nikki followed a childhood dream of “living wild” when she moved with her housecat (!) and Micah- a man she met in wilderness training courses and whom she barely knew- to Broughton Archipelago, a remote island cluster near Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Continue reading
I’ve never climbed a mountain. I’ve hiked – perhaps – part of mountain or at least what might pass for a very tall hill. But I’m not a mountain climber. Nor am I necessarily a fan of mountain climbing books or movies. I’ve just never considered myself all that into extreme activities and the cultures that feed into it.
But then again, sometimes I am. Consider the recent climbing documentary Meru. This film is an intimate (the footage is shot by two men on the three person team) account of two attempts to reach the 21 000 foot “Shark’s Fin” peak on Mount Meru. Located in the Indian Himalayas, Mount Meru had – until this climbing team – pushed back every attempt to reach the top. Meru requires an expert level skills in technical, mixed snow, ice, and big wall rock climbing – all within -20 degrees weather.