Posts Tagged ‘Camping’

Part 2: A Land Before Time  – Day 1 – An attempt to relax

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We often forget despite our advances as a species, our concrete and steel cities, our iPhones, Computers, Video games and another day to day technologies that once upon a time we the people of this planet lived in and with nature. When I was a child the Disney movie lion king came out. One line stuck with me.

“When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.” Disneys Lion King – Mufasa

Despite our attempts to deny it, through religion, or science, we like everything else living on this planet are of nature. We can deny it all we want but it doesn’t change reality. Our 21st-century morals and beliefs can change to be “modern” yet the planet will still act and operate the same no matter what we do because just like it, we are of nature and of the universe and are subject to the same rules as everything else.

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A View of Things to come – Part 6 – The Lonely Mountain

Prior to this trip, I had come to the realization that I actually didn’t have that much camping gear. A friend and student of mine had recently got the prepping bug into me in addition to me wanting to start to hunt I decided to go full army mode and get everything I could possibly need. Not just for the camp but also for a change of pace in my life. As I was not entirely sure what to expect in the camp, however, I ensured I had enough food for myself and the various things I might need. I planned to take only what I could carry in my own bag.

It turns out I was the only person who came with this mentality. I was a little surprised to find out that most people had a full cooler per person and far too many things for such a short trip. Or in the case of same, almost nothing in the way of camping preparedness. I guess I was the only one prepared for a true backpacking trip. As usual, it seems my own nature makes me stick out like a sore thumb.

Prior to heading out to the boats, I made the conscious decision to leave any time keeping devices and phones in the truck. How could the land before time have any meaning if I still have the ability to measure it? It was surprisingly easy for me, but not so easy for everyone else who still brought their phones despite the fact there would be no data or wifi.

The issue of too much gear was not a real problem. We still managed to find space for all of it in the canoes. Which as camp my way is still in its pilot phases were borrowed from most of Terrance’s lake neighbours. Anything that could not safely be put in the canoes with their matching owners was piled on two one of two Tin dinghies, one with a small 7hp motor This included Terrance’s half working BBQ and myself, the real extra baggage. Terrance had told me that on previous pilot camps they had even fewer canoes (we had 4, plus two dinghies for 13 people) and had to carefully pile up all the gear and some people into the not so sea worth dinghies. Lake worthy maybe, but not sea. Good thing we were on a nice calm lake, where nothing could ever possibly go wrong.

With a life Jacket for everyone, a partner and a canoe. With the exception of my self, as my partner was the BBQ. At least we were being towed by that little engine that could. Camp Fires would have been so much easier, and far more in line with a land before time, but at this time much of the area was on a Fire Ban due to forest fires and dry conditions. Like a rag tag band of gold panning pioneers, we set off onto the lake to start this mysterious adventure.

More than one group comment on the fact I didn’t have to paddle with comments like, “I thought you were supposed to be a soldier.” To which I simply replied, “Exactly, Strategy. Work smart, not hard.” to which I usually followed with a paddling motion in the air. This easy start and doubt by others would of course later be confronted on the calm lake that wouldn’t be.

We with the monstrous engine sped ahead to our camping site for the next few days. It would be an idyllic place, right at the mouth of a glacial fed river with two rocky deltas on each side and a forest leading up the mountain behind. The rocks and pebbles ranged in size from small smooth stones perfect for skipping across the water’s surface to softball sized ones who clearly had not been weathered by the elements yet. The image of this is something you might see out of a tourist brochure promoting Beautiful British Columbia. Looking up the river into the forest it reminded me of one of my favourite horror movies and psychological thrillers the descent. This image gave me a sense of awe, curiosity and a little fear. It made me glad I had a survival hatchet and hunting knives just in case.

It reminded me once again that I love the outdoors, something to which I discovered in the military yet is something that I have spent little time exploring in my own backyard. Yet here I was, in the outdoors, with a group of strangers getting back to nature.

This day would be one of assessment and adjustment as we got used to the environment and to each other. Apparently, we were to be split into two groups. One would stay at camp and one at a time get a free massage from our volunteer massage therapist. The other my group would go off on a walking meditation and that partake in a trauma therapy session with the two men we met at the bar earlier who would not tell us who they were. Turns out they were from Angel Hands Wellness centre in Vancouver.

Back to the canoes, we went on the still calm lake as we made our way to a second beach around the corner. This was the site of a previous camp as Terrance mentioned that last time the water levels were too high to camp where we were now. It was more woodsy with tall trees on all sides stretching back from the beach side.

 

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A Cabin Forgot in Time.

Terrance then lead us up a trail where we stopped at an old homesteader cabin. Also, like something you might find in some psychological thriller. It was clear that this cabin had been left and forgotten in time and yet at one point someone had clearly made some improvements. The original log cabin walls could be seen in the upper parts of the walls or rotting away on the inside. It had been shored up, who knows when with a proper foundation and cement walls but these two were now crumbling from neglect. There was still what appeared to be the original wood burning stove that would only need some wood to work. In the opposite corner, another more modern stove from what I can only guess was the 50’s that was not in working condition. The roof made of old wood planks was still being supported securely even if it is now in no shape to stop the rain. A place like this makes the mind wonder about the solitude of living in the middle of nowhere, secluded. How many people had chosen this cabin as their home? were they permanent residents or just passers-by. For the time being, we will not know.

Terrance stopped us outside and told us to take our shoes off. Now we would begin a walking meditation to the waterfall that supplied the water to our campsite river. Through our bare feet and with, slow, deliberate steps, we were to take our time and contemplate as we one at a time made our way to the end of the path.

I went first, though for me going as slow as Terrance demonstrated was a challenge as going slow is something I have always had problems with. I eat fast, I work fast, I talk fast and I think fast. Coming back to nature was a way for me to attempt to slow down. The Barefoot thing was not an issue as so far though I had my Vibram 5 finger toe shoes had mostly opted to be barefoot for most of the trip so far. It just felt right to me to be barefoot as I attempt to slow down and try to get back to how things might have been for us as a species in the past.

Waterfall

The source of life in the mountains.

One step, two step, three step. Breath. Slowly for me at least, I was made it to the waterfall. Whoever had made the improvements to the cabin down the trail had also opted to make a rock and cement wall at the one edge of the cliff. Clearly, this was not only a great place for us but for them as well. The waterfall itself must have been 20 or 30 meters tall as it fell into a basin of water feeding the river perhaps 15 meters wide. The rock formations dipped away from the wall into the pool on one side and might prove a challenge for anyone who got too close. Another scene out of a nature brochure, or a horror movie. I could only imagine seeing some cannibalistic native standing at the top peering down only to be gone the next time I looked. This, of course, did not happen, but it has been so long for me since I was back in nature that such scenes only appear in movies for those who opt to be in the city most of the time.

Back to the beach. Sitting down on logs or the ground Mihael of Angel hands gave a talk about trauma and what it means in the modern world. Detlaff his partner in crime turned out to be the president of the Canadian hypnosis society. Under normal circumstances, I would be very sceptical of both practitioners but here in this environment, I thought I would give them a chance. They told us about the therapy session we would one at a time be going through. Detlaff would put you in a light trance while Mihael would use shiatsu techniques to assess your body and relieve pain or stress.

First, we watched as Terrance was put in the trance and asked a variety of questions about his life and past traumas. The concept of colours and auras were also discussed. I wondered if watching it first might actually “prime” our responses to the treatment as I had really no idea what to expect. But it is certainly a possibility.

Eventually, it was my turn. and 3, 2, 1. Gone!

I was actually mildly surprised at how difficult it was to open my eyes. I am fairly sure if I really wanted to I could have but I didn’t want to disrupt the process, none the less they did feel heavier. As they walked through the series of questions, I was asked to imagine different traumas, points in my life, or people in my life as well as to do various things with the images in my head. At no point was I being controlled I was still fully conscious. For me though, I am not sure how effective the process was. I tend to have a very strong mind with regards to such things and I am not easily manipulated. It was difficult for me to even imagine some of the tasks they gave me for me my mind was more blank as I tried to assess what they were doing while also trying to imagine the things they said. It was certainly an interesting experience and is something I may be open to again. The conclusion from

The conclusion from Mihael was that happiness is a difficult thing for me. Or at least my interpretation of his words. I think many in my life might agree to this statement though its hard for me to figure out if it’s simply his years of experience as a therapist interpreting my words during the therapy session or if he intuitively felt it. Either way, his words were thought provoking as I contemplated my existence.

Is happiness hard for me? I am not really sure. Perhaps I am so driven and goal oriented I never stop to smell the roses or live in the moment. Perhaps my version of happiness is simply different than others. Perhaps my clinical depression makes it hard for me to maintain happiness. At this point in my life, I am not really sure, but I will only ever keep moving forward one way or another.

Back to camp. By now the others had all finished their massage therapy and apparently, it was great. It was certainly something I was looking forward to.

Something that had also been brought to camp was fishing rods and a tackle box. Fishing was something I had only ever done as a child. And as I found out it really is an exercise in patience. I found a fishing rod that I liked and figured out how to cast. But I did not really do much more than that, but I certainly wanted to try more as it like so much on this trip.

The rest of the time was mostly eating and talking and relaxing. I had anticipated losing weight on this trip but with the amount of food that was brought it didn’t end up happening. Not that I complained much, I mean I do like food and having little to do with my time, what better way to pass it than eating, talking and contemplating.

At least today I felt relaxed, being back to nature felt good.

With that, I leave you with one of my favourite artists Matisyahu and his song: on nature

Part 4 – A land Before Time – Day 3 & 4 – The fairy Grove & Fishing 

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Part 1 –  A Camp My way Adventure

“I Can’t Relax. I find vacations problematic” – John Oliver

While I used to admire John Oliver for his with, I have found myself wanting with tolerance towards him with his politics over the last few years. But the above quote whether rightly or wrongly attributed is something I can relate to. Like so many city folk and more importantly entrepreneurs, it is always hard to truly relax. I almost never go on purely vacation vacations. I always find a way to spin business into it. Perhaps it’s just my nature but doing nothing to be is very problematic. Though time is relative, our existence as we know it on this planet in a time perspective that we can understand we have so little time to achieve anything great. So many strive to create legacies only to run out of time in their own lives. To me often, time is the enemy and that along with my need to sleep or nap it is a constant battle to overcome and achieve all that I need to get done.

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And so it began, the quest to relax, the beginning.

We (Sam Glennie aka John Sambo) were told to arrive at the famous Scandinave spa in Whistler, BC. To what I wasn’t entirely sure but as it turned out the spa supports camp my way and donated time for all the camp my way participants. The time for arrival was mentioned in an email but other than that we weren’t quite sure what we were supposed to do. Were we suppose to wait for everyone? would there be the standard icebreakers? We waited for a bit and then decided to ask the front desk.

To our surprise, they told us we just have to check in and then they preceded to hand us towels. Apparently, all we were suppose to do was enjoy the spa and relax. I have to be honest, I’m not really a spa person. At first, it was very uncomfortable for us both as we really weren’t sure what to do. I am a person that is always on the go or at the very least doing something stimulating whether I have Netflix on in the background, or I am playing a video games, to writing blog posts, to business strategy, to marketing plans for UTKM, to Planning curriculum, to teaching, to working a part time job, to training. Always doing, and always on time or trying to be as I juggle everything I have to do in a given week.

Yet here we were trying to hit pause on the hectic lives we left while dripping in sweat in the saunas, or steam rooms or sitting in quite slowly pruning away in various warm pools of water they keep at various temperatures. Part of the spa experience also included jumping into to pools of glacial cold water. Neither of us found this part particularly relaxing but it’s good for you evidently.

Despite what we knew we were supposed to be doing, relaxing, we were still really out of place. In addition, they have a no talking policy on most of the grounds, something both Sam and I struggle to do for various reasons. Why should we be uncomfortable though, people from all over the world pay a lot of money to come to this spa? Yet, trying to be relaxed and calm was a struggle. We only lasted about 1.5 hours even though we had far more than that. We finally stepped out, got changed and went for a snack.

Finally, Terrance and crew arrived. He wondered why we weren’t in the spa. Acknowledging we had a hard time relaxing, we sat down for a chat and briefly met some of the people on the trip. We were told to meet at Nesters Whistler at 5:30. So we decided to find the outdoor store for some last minute supplies. Then to the bar. Why the bar? well, I knew many of the people on the camp were recovering addicts so it would be reasonable to assume that camp my way was a dry camp. So time for one last beer for the week. The two others we met earlier had the same idea, clearly, they were not there as recovering addicts. What could they be there for then? The answer when asked was

“you will have to find out, we can’t give away everything all at once.”

5:30 hit, and Nesters market we were at. Some more last minute shopping and meeting with some of the other camp participants. 3 individuals who had for various lengths of time checked in with a program called Together we Can, An addiction Recover and education centre. There was also a Czech woman who as it turned out was a massage therapist who was donating her time to the camp. This was something that sounded great, camping and a massage therapist? Awesome. We ended up chatting with everyone as we waited for some of the last members of the camp to arrive. Two individuals from Germany who had met Terrance when he was there to bring awareness to PTSD.

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Tacoma at Dusk, before the dark.

Once they arrived we left in a caravan which immediately reminded me of the army as we followed Terrance to his house near the lake side to which we would be camping at. I couldn’t understand why he simply wouldn’t tell us how to get there on our own, with an address or GPS coordinates. It didn’t make sense to me until as dusk set upon us we arrived though a small native town to a poorly marked dirt road. As it turns out this dirt road led to an hour or so drive on more dirt roads and switch backs through the mountain side to an even smaller town to where Terrance resided. Not shortly after we started it was dark and we had to carefully navigate these roads all while trying not to lose the car in front. I later found out that there was another road to the town but this was the “shorter” route and thus to expedite the trip we took this one. I was thankful that my recently purchased truck was not in vain and I got to test its off road capabilities. I was very satisfied if you must know and strongly recommend Tacoma’s for your off road needs.

Arrival at last. By now dusk had long since past. There was not much else to do other than to mingle and stake a claim for sleeping places. Though as is common with all new groups there is always an air of reluctance to mingle outside the initial contact groups. For the most part, everyone stuck to their travel groups. We eventually all found a spot to pitch our tents on Terrance’s property to set up tents except the Germans who took advantage of his guest bedrooms.

Tomorrow the adventure would begin.

Part 3: A Land before time – Day 2 – Back to Nature 

Please help Camp My Way become the program I know it can be and DONATE TODAY!