So how does the story begin?
It’s hard to say really. When I was young I was always outside. Typically found following my big brother around. I liked the outdoors. We had a huge forest behind our house and we always used to hop the fence to go swing on the vine over the big pit and run down the creek until we got freaked out about being so far from home.
I was a shy kid to start off with. Couple that with a few chance encounters with some local undesirables well… after a while I was spending less and less time outside. I quit a paper route when I was young thanks to two different men that thought following me around was a good idea. I got my first cell phone when I was very young thanks to a very angry stranger in a car that tried to run me over then chase me as I was walking home.
At this point the best solution in my little teenage head, unconsciously of course, was to stay inside. Agoraphobic. Things stayed that way for quite some time.
Sure I still did the odd outdoor thing when I was with people I knew. I had my fair share of car camping trips and adventures. But nothing like the really amazing things that I wanted to do. Anyone who has been backcountry camping knows there’s absolutely no comparison to car camping. (No offense!)
Canoeing. I really used to enjoy that as well. When I was about 19 I went for a day trip down the Grand river. It was a great time, except for some reason or another we dumped the canoe. The other two in the boat were up to their knees in still water. Me? I was already down the river, taken by the current. Thankfully, I was wearing a PFD. I was the only one. It wasn’t a brutal river, but the current did at one point pull me under. I hit my head off a big rock. No one really realized the extent that I was struggling to get my head above the water, as they were back at the canoe hollering at me to grab the oars and their shoes that had been dumped in the water. I managed somehow to grab onto a branch that was sticking out from a tree on an island. I was able to pull myself up enough to sit and wait for my friends to get back in the canoe and come and get me. I think it was at that point that the guy I was dating at the time realized the predicament I had been in. The others were still doing their thing and he insisted that we needed to get me out of there now. So I sat princess for the rest of the ride back. By the time we got to the takeout I was feeling a little better. But, that was the last time for a long time that I ever set foot in a canoe.
That was when I was 19. I was about 37 when I said to heck with it I’m going back outside. I had started hiking, and geocaching. It was so much fun. But I still wanted to get back into a canoe. Not having many friends that were into outdoor activities I had to figure out how that was going to happen on my own. I was also pretty anxious about it considering the last time I was in a canoe it didn’t go very well. I figured though this time that I would learn to do things properly. Instead of canoeing down the river with inexperienced people, I would take a course. I signed up to learn how to canoe through Wolf Den Expeditions and took an ORCKA class. This made me feel a thousand times more confident about being in the canoe so from there I signed up for their Canoe trip leadership course, which brought me to Algonquin for a few nights. The rest is history.
I still sometimes have anxiety about things that I want to do or try. And I suppose that that’s my reason for writing. For now this blog is just for me. I hope that other people in similar or different circumstances can find the motivation to do the things that they want to do. Whether it be backcountry camping or whatever it is, the point is to do what it takes to get out and do it.
For now I’ve got a few solo trips planned with my pup, and I’m leading some ladies on a trip to Algonquin next month. (That’s going to be interesting!) And who knows what other adventures await!
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