As I ready for Haida Gwaii (click here), packing the laminated charts and maps used on previous trips, my fingers tell me that they are covered in salt. This tactile sense brings more memories: storm bound at this river mouth, a beautifully sunny rest day here, old growth trees on this island, Orcas off of this point, etc. If the trip goes as planned, it will mark three trips and close to seventy days on the water there. This is a place that has grabbed me and pulled me into it’s waters in a way that only traveling by sea kayak does.
To get to this point on the calendar requires a loud phew! Previous summers my workload was overwhelmed with running the Y program. Stepping into a different role with less responsibility this season, life is still busy, but there is free time. How enjoyable instead of the constant scramble and having to triage so much of one’s life. With this change, is also a needed process happening to recovery from being overwhelmed for four seasons in a row. My respect to those who can live with such a schedule.
This year also marks a new direction for Nancy and I. ACA instructor workshops have been our primary activity this time of year outside of Bay Cliff and the Y. Given our experience including working as guides, running instructor workshops, doing staff training, and personal paddling, outfitters are turning to us to train their staff to a high standard. In working with outfitters, it is one of the frontlines in keeping Great Lake’s paddlers safe. Best of all, this is fun with good people.
But back to trip packing/preparation. All my food is together except for a last minute buy of fresh food items. All equipment is packed together into a pile. A complex float plan is together and given to two trusted friends who will watch after me. Today is going over the needed tide tables, maps and charts ensuring they are all here & in order. Then there is the packing for the trip to Glacier National Park which includes three days of backpacking on the continental divide and several days of car camping to enable day trips on the divide in different areas. Details, details and more details are coming together so everything is in place when needed.
There is also several days of massage left. My clients, who I know I inconvenience by being gone so long, are understanding and coming in for one last massage before my return in a month. They all support my trips or at least, listen patiently as I talk about them. The photos on my office walls help to explain this part of my life.
In preparing for this trip, one thing I have been aware of is time. Previous years, working a crazy schedule with the Y, time was scarce and at times, an adversary. This year it is a friend. After returning from my last instructor workshop, I started the packing process. Tired and fatigued (three 12-14 hour days will do that), I had time to take a nap. Upon waking, my memory kicked in, I didn’t remember packing beef jerky. A sign that time has returned to being a friend and a helper. A welcomed sign…
With a checklist and a five day drive out to the ferry in Prince Rupert, the forgotten beef jerky would have been remembered. But remembering on my own and before leaving the house or using the checklist, sets up a different drive. A relaxed drive where the land tells its story and I can watch and listen: from the Northwoods, to the Northern Plains, to the Rockies to the Canadian Rockies to the BC coast and the Pacific. It is a trip that tells the story of the land as it transitions into the world where the paddling can begin. A trip that mirrors my transition into what will likely require some very committed paddling.
Now, back to getting salt on my hands again…