Posts Tagged ‘yukon’

Nerves of Steel, Stomach of Jelly

I still can’t wrap my head around it, but the nervous butterflies in my stomach, my quickened heartbeat and the lump in my throat that’s making it hard eat tells me that my body knows… I’m going on an adventure and a bigger one than I have ever attempted before. This time next week I’ll be halfway to Whitehorse with 80lbs of gear in the belly of the plane just waiting to be punished in the wilds of the Yukon.

photo: Jo Ohara Wikimedia

photo: Jo Ohara Wikimedia

I’m not even sure where I’m going exactly. Our destination as NOLS participants will be revealed to us on the day that we get there. I only know that it will be within a 14 hour drive of Whitehorse and that it will be somewhere that few people have ever seen or experienced. I’ll be hiking off trail and at elevation, in unpredictable weather for two weeks and then trading in my backpack for a dry bag as we continue our journey by canoe, running the rapids of a wild northern river for another two weeks.
The hardest part of this trip will be leaving my family behind. I’ve never been away from them for more than a few days and I get choked up just thinking of not seeing their faces for so long. I’ve been squeezing in double hugs and kisses to sustain me through all the days that I will be without them. I will have no phone, no Internet, in fact no electronics of any kind. Completely incommunicado for 30 days.

But enough about my apprehensions, let me tell you about the excitations!  Snow capped peaks, building lifelong friendships, acquiring mad outdoor and leadership skills, all in one of the most beautiful, pristine and isolated places on earth.  You can’t put a value on this experience…it’s priceless.  I’ll be boohoo-ing all the way there, but only because I’m so lucky to have the blessings at home that I do.  And we’re all going to benefit from this, cause mama’s gonna school the kiddos in white water paddling when I get back and it’s only a matter of time before we can all go north and run those rivers together.

So this will be my last post for a good long while.  Keep calm and camp on.  I’m off to do some learnin’.

My kitchen floor today...

My kitchen floor today…

Living the Northern Dream

There are only two places on earth that I’ve always dreamed of visiting, but never thought I would.  One is Norway.  I had a childhood friend whose family was from Norway and she’d tell me amazing stories of home that planted the seeds that dreams are made of.  The other place is Canada’s North.  I want to see the taiga and the tundra.  I want to see caribou run.  I want to fish the icy rivers and climb the white-capped mountains.  I want to fall asleep in the midnight sun.  Last week I found out that I am going to get the chance to do just that.  I’m going to the Yukon.

Canoeing on Kluane Lake - photo courtesy of travelyukon.com

Canoeing on Kluane Lake – photo courtesy of travelyukon.com

This is the first trip since my older son was born almost 12 years ago, that I’m not doing with my family.  I am both exhilarated and terrified.  It is going to be like nothing I’ve seen before with people whom I’ve never met.  I’m going on a 30 day NOLS Outdoor Educator course.  Half of our time will be spent on a looong hike (12 days?) and the rest of the time will be running whitewater in canoes.  Luckily these aren’t new concepts to me, but we will be learning a whole bag of new skills and how to break them down and teach them to others.  What I most hope to gain from this experience is the ability to help others safely navigate the outdoors with confidence.

My ultimate dream is to run the Nahanni river with Fraser and the kids.  This is one big step in that direction.

I want to thank my wonderful employers (Mountain Equipment Co-op) who fund this amazing experience for two staff every year.  This was my lucky year and I’m going to take full advantage of this unbelievable opportunity.

I haven’t even gone yet, but I’ve already learned this…dream big, do what you love and no matter where you are in life, never stop growing.

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