A Regular Dose of Wilderness

Scientific studies aside, getting outdoors rejuvenates me. The more, the better. Well, within reason. I draw the line at sleeping in a tent unless absolutely necessary. Too many traumatic associations of tent-camping with toddlers keep that as a no-go for me.

Here’s a taste of my yesterday dose of wilderness:

Abandoned cabin at Pothole Ranch on BC’s Gang Ranch – second largest ranch in Canada

Abandoned root cellar at Pothole Ranch

The Chilcotin River, which runs through Farwell Canyon, is an off-shoot of the Fraser River

The bees were busy on this tree

“Mom, we need to go do something in the wilderness,” said my oldest daughter, who’s been working hard as a supervisor and safety coordinator for road construction all week.

“I know,” I said. “I’ve been so busy. But I am going to have to just make it happen.”

“Yes, that’s when we need it the most,” she said. “I read a sign that said we should get out in nature for at least 20 minutes a day. And on days when we’re really busy, we need to get out even more.”

It is true. I get so buried by the “gotta-do’s” in my life that I run out of Steen:

the cooking, the cleaning, the grocery restocking and the other errands in town;

the appointments for various family members;

the overseeing of my younger children and their learning and socializing;

the paperwork and the organization of it;

the bill management and everything finance-related;

the scheduled and also the unexpected;

the prioritizing of urgencies, and the abandoning of priority to the emergencies.

And that’s not even mentioning the book project I try to squeeze in every day. Those documents are always open on my computer, in front of which I sit for a few minutes at a time, several times a day. Some days I only add a few lines. Some days I edit what was already there. Some days I can’t squeeze in a moment or a word.

I often leave my phone on a charger where I cannot see or hear it. Almost every time I check it, there are messages. I have lost friends because of my inability to sit down and return calls. I try to at least fire a text message or email in reply where possible.

My home is surrounded by wilderness. All I need to do is step outside and I hear birds singing. Trees and other foliage grow wild everywhere I look in my yard and beyond it. And the air is fresh and clean.

I walk in nature every chance I get, even if it is a few minutes to see the sky. I go for longer walks when able, alone or with family members, hiking up hills or meandering along forest trails; and breaking up the walk with sprints to get in some higher intensity intervals for increased health benefits is a nice way to spice up a walk. Outright longer runs are satisfying, too.

And every so often, I get to expand the radius of my wilderness enjoyment. Yesterday’s trip to Farwell Canyon, BC, meant 2-1/2 hours of driving to reach that spot, but I was with three of my kids, listening to music in my son’s Jeep while he drove, laughing, talking, and enjoying the views. The journey was as much a part of the destination as was the first step outside onto silent ground.

Water running over rocks. Sandstone hoodoos. Blue skies bedecked with white clouds. Grass, trees, and many more greens than I can name.

I need it.

I love it.

I thank God for it.

I look forward to more of it, in abundance, never fading or decaying, in the place my Lord Jesus has prepared for me, which is far better than even the best taste of wilderness this world has shown me.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

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Patrick McManus – Great Writer Now Gone

I just found out that a year ago, in April of 2018, Patrick McManus died.

My heart tightened as I read about him no longer being on this earth.

He was right up there with the best of the best, as far as wordsmiths go, and yet most people, when asked by me if they’ve read his writing, have never heard of him.

Pat’s collections of short stories are mostly outdoor humour – things to do with hunting, fishing, camping, and other adventures. That right there is interesting to me, but with his humour and writing style, he could have set his stories on such distasteful (to me) topics as football or politics and caught my attention, as long as he spun them with his classy but crazy humour and smooth word choices.

“He was a gentleman and a scholar and a wordsmith,” the article below says of Pat.

I wish I knew him in person. I wrote to him once, in the mid 1990s, and he wrote back to me. What an encouragement that was!

Here is a link to an article someone wrote about Pat:

Patrick McManus Dies at Age 84

Canada Geese On Thin Ice

These are just a couple of Canada geese on the ice at a little lake near my home. Oops, one of them “had to go”.

This couple – and I’ve heard that Canada geese mate for life – were walking around on the thin ice of Watson Lake in the Cariboo region of British Columbia, Canada. How lovely it’d be to have a better quality camera to capture their beauty!

It’s always a joy for me to see the Canada geese. Their return each spring gives me comfort.

I had friends back in the Alaskan wilderness who raised some Canada geese. They’d had domestic geese, and someone found some wild Canada goose eggs. They gave them to the domestics, who laid on them till they hatched out. Those Canada geese were the best guard-geese. They’d honk and hiss at us whenever we approached the property.

I’m not sure if it is legal to take Canada goose eggs, so if you read this and get the idea to try it at home, please look into it for yourself first.

That same lake a month ago was frozen so thick, snowmobiles rode all over it