Part 5: A Land before time – Day 5 – The Lost Canoe
“Today, today, live like you wanna,
Let yesterday burn and throw it in a fire, in a fire, in a fire,
Fight like a warrior,” – Matisyahu – Live Like a Warrior
Isolation can be one of the worst forms of torture a human can be exposed to. Loneliness can cause a person to die slowly from the inside out. But what about when a person chose out of their own free will to isolate themselves. With no constraining walls or man made rules, just the laws of the universe.
For so much of our history, so many would live isolated alone or isolated in small communities. There would be little stimulation out of a task or job and the work it took to functionally survive. In many cases, there would be no free time, in others nothing but free time.
Camp my way seems to wish to remove the unnecessary stimulus to allow individuals to focus on the self, while still with people there to support. When Isolated by choice, and in nature, this can be a good thing. There can be no better isolation, no better satisfaction even if for only a brief moment, isolated on the top of a mountain with nothing but the world around to stare and admire in awe. If this is something you have never done, get up and get out, find your mountain top and climb it.
In the literal sense, it can be inspiring full of beauty, wonder and accomplishment. Climbing your internal mountain can be the most isolating of all things, for overcoming that which is in your way can become an isolating journey for it is yours and yours alone. For some, this mountain is too much to climb and too much to over come, but for others, it is simply another challenge to be beaten. So if over coming to your mountain, what ever is holding you back is too much, why not try something more tangible, and climb a real one. Find the kind of isolation that inspires and plants the seed of growth, don’t let it overwhelm you, and if need be, bring those who support you to challenge it together, because after all, we are social creatures. So find your mountain, and climb, experience and overcome.
Finally, we would be leaving our campsite some to return home but a few of us to climb that mountain. There had been some confusion as to when John had to be home, as he originally said we could return on Saturday, but as it turned out, he had a wedding to get back to just after noon. But it was decided that there is no way were not going to climb the mountain that had been promised. It would have been easy for me to say no, and just leave in a relaxed fashion as I do hate to rush. But it seemed to Terrance it was important, and to me, it was simply something I felt I had to do for what ever intrinsic reason
So the remaining campers set out in the two canoes we had and the rest of us climbed into the two tin dinghies. We still had to pick up the lost canoe we had beached yesterday. Being as we woke up just after sunrise around 5 or 6 am the wind had not had time to pick up yet. This was the reason we were supposed to leave early on previous days yet never did. Of we went.
Calm and quiet. Only us on the lake. Too bad we did not have time for fishing, it would have been a perfect time. Instead, I would have to settle for the view as we slowly made our way back. A mother eagle was perched on a dead branch looking out over the lake. Her nest was 100 meters farther back. We all pondered what could be going through her mind as she watched us in the tin and carbon fibre boats on the way to much gear loaded on. “Foolish hoo-mons, they know nothing” is what I imagined her thinking.
When we beached we began the arduous task of returning all the canoes and gear began. Those who had to leave helped pack up all the gear that needed transporting to Terrance’s house while Terrance and another set out to return the canoes to all his neighbours.
Everyone except John and myself, packed up said their goodbyes except Terrance and company who were still taking the canoes back. Now it was just John, and I left alone to sit and think and talk.
It must have been two hours, and Terrance had not returned yet. I decided to go and check, yet as luck would have it as I was half way down the road to the lake Terrance turned the corner in his Jeep. If you have never seen his Jeep, it is unmistakable, for on the front is a moose skull and it is covered in sponsorship stickers left from when he flipped the tire up Blackcomb mountain. It like Terrance was a head turner destined for big things.
Back in the cabin, and tired we decided to take some time to rest and nap. It seems on this trip I had returned to my liking of mid day naps. Something the past months had not allowed me to do regularly. I can certainly say there is some merit to the siesta even if you are not in the hotter Mediterranean countries. I think perhaps because it forces you to slow down and take a break. Something that sometimes the hectic life of the city does not allow.
Awoke, and ready we loaded up into my Tacoma for despite the moose head on Terrances Jeep mine was in better condition (and probably safer) to take the long unpaved roads up the mountain. Terrance and company decided to sit in the truck bed, with John and me in the front. Terrance explained that he was always the one driving and never got to sit in the back of his jeep. I allowed this only because we were out away from the city and such things I knew to be common. Of course in the city, I would never dare, because I would most likely get pulled over. I think there is much debate about such actions and reasons for or against, but out here there are far fewer rules. Personally, while I fully understand the safety around such acts, as I have grown older I feel we have are too fear full of injury and death and have over regulated ourselves into the depressed insanity that we live daily in the cities. This whole thing would lead to a discussion later when we reached the top which would give me a lot to think about.
First, we had to make our way past the native reserve and the hydro dam. Then we had to find the entrance off the main road. Another almost barely marked unpaved road that would be easy to miss. This lead to some 20 or 30 switch backs up the mountain. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive up; I went fairly hard on the straight aways and cautiously on the corners. I would have wished to push it and test the Tacoma, but with Terrance and company in the back, I didn’t feel it was safe to do so. I kept thinking about the famous Pikes Peak Rally course and how this compared.
As we reached what appeared to be a mountain top radio receiver station, we veered off on to a heavily brush covered maintenance trail. Thankfully due to the power lines, these trails ran all through the mountain range making it possible for vehicles to navigate the beauty they had to offer. Well, off road vehicles at least, I would not suggest taking your mom’s Honda civic unless you are planning on getter her a new car. Switching the Tacoma to 4 X 4 Low, it was slow and steady as we navigated through the tree covered trail. As we got higher and higher, the trees thinned, and eventually, we came to another fork. Terrence told me to hit a right and park the truck as it would not be able to go further. The next bit of road was probably at a 30-40% incline. We decided to take a break and eat some food, as after this it would all be on foot.
Terrance commented on how dangerously I was driving. I was not impressed. For me, it hit a nerve, why I couldn’t tell you. Looking back, I suspect it might have had to do with his previous experience in rescuing people from this very trail. Realistically, there was no way for Terrance to know that I am an excellent and controlled driver with hundreds of thousands of KMs under my belt. While once upon a time I might have taken unnecessary risks now I do not do anything I don’t think is reasonably safer. I also tried to tell him how sitting in the back is probably far more dangerous than the way I was driving. For him though, perhaps it was the perception of the freedom not being trapped by the walls of the truck should anything have gone wrong. He figured he could just jump out of the bed if the truck started to go off the cliff, I am not so sure how safe that would be with out injury. I think this was something we would agree to disagree.
Issues like this always strike a nerve, thinking about it now it’s probably the hypocrisy of it. It’s like the people who yell at me for driving fast at night (20km an hour) in my complex yet are wearing dark clothing making them hard to see. It’s the kind of thing where people try to put their safety in the hands of others with out taking responsibility for themselves.
Anyways, off topic.
Packed up and ready to go, leaving the troubles behind it was time to start the hike. By now it was probably 6 or 7 pm. There was not too much of a climb to the top, but we still wanted to get there before sunset. The climb reminded me again of the forced marches in the army, a struggle but still something to enjoy..well after the fact. In this case, there was no rush, and we took our time to enjoy the scenery. Terrance kept asking us to stop to get some footage for marketing for future camps, which we were happy to oblige. Eventually, we got to the windy yet clear mountain top.
Dropping our packs, we set out to explore. On the top, we found an abandoned and now smashed radio station probably the predecessor to the one we passed down the mountain. It must have been built sometime during the war or after but all that was left were the foundations some of the walls and supports and various construction material. We also found a plaque of some kind that was almost impossible to read. It must have been put there well before the radio tower. Terrance told us how many years ago this was one of the few places there was reception for TV. A friend of his one of the local natives used to climb up here to watch TV on the few stations he could get. I imagine that this was back in the day when rabbit ears were still a thing for TVs.
We realised that the wind might be a problem when setting up the tents. I found a spot and decided to leave off the rain tarp from mine to allow the wind to blow through. Though this prevented the wind from moving my tent too much, it also meant that every large gust of wind would lead to a long and restless night of half sleep. Terrance and crew wanted to find a place less windy, but except for the large crevasses in the rock formations, which would not have been comfortable to sleep on there were no such places.
I began to think that it was going to be much colder than we had thought and none of us had any winter clothes. I was certainly happy now that I had sprung for the -40-degree sleeping bag. Unfortunately for the rest of them none of them had the same luxury. Someone suggested they all sleep in the same tent for warmth which I then strongly encouraged. While I have never had full hypothermia, there was one time I was showing the early stages, and I didn’t think this would be a great place for any one to get hypothermia. Especially considering we had no reception and no GPS signal (NOT ADVISABLE), there would be no quick rescue should something of this nature have happened.
Eventually, the tents were set, and we enjoyed the sunset around 8 or 9. As it started to get dark, I made some food, and they attempted to find some materials to create a windshield for their tent. As Darker and darker it got. It also got colder and colder. I had no gloves and other than my thermal underwear and shirt I was not wearing much else. It was getting cold far too quickly for my liking. I decided the only good place for me was now in the sleeping bag even though I was not that tired. Boy was I right.
I was glad that I could see the stars, for falling asleep the other day with out the tent and a clear view felt great. I probably could have done the same as the tent didn’t provide any protection from the elements, but I had it, so I guess I just set it up with out thinking. Eventually, I fell asleep though it was more of a constantly disturbed nap. At one or two points in the night though I could not entirely see where the rest of them were in their tent I could certainly hear them. I don’t think they got much sleep either.
I had set my alarm for 5 am, to watch the sunrise. 5 am arrived my alarm went off, and I awoke. The problem I felt was that it was still far too cold to get out of the sleeping back, so I decided to stay in, which was probably a good idea.
A while later, Terrance came over to the tent and told me that it was too cold to stay so we were packing up to go. I had to quickly pack up all my stuff myself, which was difficult especially with out gloves. Did I mention it was cold? By the end I could barely feel my hands and clipping in the straps of my bag was difficult. I would periodically have to stop to warm my hands up so that I could function. Once again I was reminded of how much I hate the cold.
After, as best as my hands would allow me I saw them laughing and talking. And here I thought there was a sense of urgency to get off the mountain lest we all freeze. I may not have been the most polite, but they didn’t seem in that much of hurry. Maybe they had better cold tolerance than me, or maybe they just enjoyed being cold. I couldn’t tell you, but I am fairly certain I said, “I have some good advice, Stop talking and let’s get the fuck off this mountain.”
Again, and I can’t stress this enough, despite being Canadian, I dislike the cold very much. Israel and its awesome climate ruined the cold for me, and after I came back to Canada I was never quite the same in my ability to tolerate it. Oh well.
Down we went. It was much quicker the way down than the way up. I guess that’s how gravity works. Up is hard, down is easy. Well except on the knees. I had considered bringing my carbon fibre knee brace before this trip, but I thought it was a bit much. It turned out to be fine, even if I almost ate shit on the way down once or twice.
The truck at last, what a great sight for cold eyes…
We packed up chatted for a bit and headed down. This time with everyone in the cabin. I definitely went slower on the way down, because well gravity and also because I didn’t feel like getting into another dispute.
At one point someone saw a Bear cub run up a side trail. We attempted to follow for a second just to get a better view for a photo but I opted not to go too far. This mainly because where there is a Cub there is a mama and well this was a new truck. I am not sure how to explain bear claw marks to the insurance company (Which is BC is TERRIBLE, and despite the fact everyone hates them they still have a government supported monopoly…).
We chatted on the drive about what ever and eventually made our way back to Terrance’s house. I was glad we made it up the mountain and back. Terrance had kept talking about what a great view it was, which of course he was right. Also, the climb is supposed to be part of the full Campy My way experience. As Terrance explained it to me, eventually this would become a two-week program. Starting at one end of the lake, to where we had been camping. Then a short portage of the gear. Then the mountain and then trekking the second of two long lakes eventually ending in a hike ending in Lillooet.
You may have noticed by now I have not given away the exact location of this whole experience, but that’s because I want you to figure it out for your self. OHH, how interactive.
At Terrance’s We separated our gear from his and said our goodbyes. Off John and I went.
Terrance was right; the road back looked a lot different in the day than night. A cliff on one side and a mountain on another. Though not as steep or windy as the road we were just on there was far more traffic. Truck, Truck…wait is that a neon with a spoiler? And Terrance thought I was crazy here was a fully loaded Neon with a spoiler gunning it on the mountain roads. If you didn’t know, as I know, as I once drove a neon they are toasters on wheels and can barely handle paved roads.
I once again enjoyed having the truck. I haven’t said it yet but #Tacomanation all the way. It was a beautiful drive back, and I kept my eye out for any for sale signs. Having a property in a place like this was a new goal. Though this will not be happening anytime soon, it is a good goal to have. Back through Merrit, then Whistler then Vancouver. John would make in time for his wedding after all.
I though roughly enjoyed this trip. Once of exploration of both myself, others and beautiful British Columbia. It got me thinking I wanted to get back into nature more often. Now I had the means; I just need to find the time and the will.
The Next Day, it was back to the grind in what would be working for seven days straight on various things. Man what a change of pace it is. It makes a difference, but I was glad I made the Journey.
Camp My way is a Brilliant and yet simple idea and is something though I know it needs a lot of work to become something great, its concept is already something great. It is a cause that I look forward to supporting in the years to come. I hope you enjoyed this adventure story I sincerely hope there will be more of these in the future.
My Time in the land before time was short, though eye opening. In the city, we measure everything so precisely and are bombarded with so much stimulus. One of the things I did upon returning home was cover all the lights on my computers and electronic devices with tape so they would no longer affect my sleep. I also decided that I would always sleep with the blinds open to allow the air and sounds of the water in the park next to me to sing me to sleep naturally, just as the river at camp had done. One day, I will find and make my home in nature, and live a life without time. But in the mean time, I will continue to build UTKM to give people around me the strength to live better, happier and safer lives. Just like Camp my way gives people the time to look within. I will do what I can to give people the skills they need to do the same. For Krav Maga, is not just a set of physical moves, it is a way of thinking and a lifestyle.
With this, I end with another Matisyahu video – Live Like a warrior. To encourage you to have the spirit to live life the way you want to so long as it makes you happy and does no harm to others around you. With, Of course, the exception of Self Defense.
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