I’m not sure what happened after I returned from the Yukon. It was the experience of a lifetime (and I promise that I will get around to telling you all about it), but when I got back home my drive to explore was gone. Maybe it was because I’d squeezed a couple of years worth of tripping into 30 crazy days. Maybe it was because I’d travelled to my dream destination…what else was left? Whatever the reason, I surrounded myself with all of my favourite comforts and hunkered down for the winter, only emerging to hunt for food and yarn. I built myself a nest insulated with cowls and mittens and casseroles. Last weekend, I peeked my head out and for the first time in months, I saw the light.
The fates aligned when I was asked to attend the Wilderness Canoe Symposium here in Toronto for Rapid Media and do a little write-up for their website. I loaded a daypack with my thermos, iPad and camera and off I went, not knowing exactly what to expect. I arrived to what can only be described as a party atmosphere. Attendees traded stories in the lobby like old friends, and they probably were. It can sometimes feel like we trippers are a dying breed and when we find others of our species, we hold on tight.
I took my seat and the presentations began. As speaker after speaker recounted their unforgettable trips and spoke passionately about their causes, I admit that I became emotional. Clearly my experience in the Yukon had affected me more than I had realized. All I wanted to do was flee my chair, grab my gear and my family and run away into the forest. I felt the desire to be on trip more strongly than I ever had before. I texted as much to Fraser and I’m sure that I could hear his sigh of relief all the way across the city. He’d been patiently waiting for me to find that spark. I hadn’t just found a spark though, I’d found a fire.