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Welcome to my Campfire. Take your time and browse. Please sign my guest book before you leave and let me know what you think.
The view from here.
Some of the most special moments of any camping/ canoeing trip I have ever taken, have usually happened around the campfire...it is a special place...providing sustenance for the body and soul, lifegiving warmth, and light to ward off the boogie man. The campfire almost takes on a mystical quality...even at times giving spiritual meaning in its ritual. Whether tripping alone or with friends, whether in the interior of a Provincial Park, on crown land or on a car campground , the ritual changes but still stirs us deep down where the normal day to day routine of life cannot reach. Its flames draw the tension out of the mind. Its warmth seeps into tired, aching muscles and soothes. Its light reaches into the darkness to drive away demons and monsters alike. Its coals draw us closer and the rituals begin.
So it is that I chose "The Campfire" for the name of this site.
Getting "back into the country" is a passion. I am fortunate to have family and friends that are so supportive and encouraging of my passion (addiction, affliction, obsession...I guess you have to fill in the blank for yourself on that one). Although I have been "Getting back into the country" since I was just a wee young boy, I still feel pretty new to the art of the canoe. I first paddled a canoe 12 years ago and fell in love with the craft. But the more I get out and paddle into new places the more I get the itch to really get out there and explore. I bought my first canoe just two years ago...promptly sold it as I bought my second a year later. My short fledgeling journeys through Canada's great Outdoors have only just whetted my appetite for the Wilds.
So pull up a log or a chair....grab a mugga something....and I'll try to let you glimpse some insight into my obsession...the campfire is crackling, the full moon has lit up the shoreline and the mournful cries of the Loon reach out to us...and yet the journey has only just begun!
On Solo Tripping!
The Solo Trip...to most it sounds so intimidating...heading out into the wilds all alone to face Mother Nature by yourself. To test your skills and wit against whatever the wilderness decides to throw at you. To badly paraphrase one of the greatest canoeists, Bill Mason...." I have often been asked why I head out alone....but never by anyone who has ever done it." Those I know who do not canoe think I am nuts when I tell them I canoe and camp alone, those who canoe and camp but never solo look at me with a measure of respect for soloing, but you can often see in their eyes they are not totally sure if I am sane. I have even had people use the phrase"thats hardcore" when they hear about solo trips. Hardcore?... No. Sane? ...Probably not...but that has little to do with my choice to solo. My first forays into the woods alone were day hiking trips in northern Newfoundland, usually associated with berry picking, hunting partridge, "troutin", or just roaming the hills looking for cool places to hang out and watch the whales and seals in Hare Bay. Now, the idea of a solo trip is a source of incredible excitement for me. Starting with the planning, the gear preparation and the food planning all the way to the drive to the put in. Everything about a solo trip is enhanced ten fold when compared to a tandem or group trip. The first dip of the paddle as I push off from shore signals a return to long lost boyish dreams of explorers and adventurers discovering new lands. Then the rhythm of the paddle takes over...each stroke takes me a little further away from the day to day grind of work and committments and at the same time my thoughts focus down to the aspects of living in the great outdoors, leaving behind me an endless wake of time tables, schedules, appointments, emails and all the other minutae that bogs us down in our lives. As the tensions release their holds they are replaced with the telltale signs of working out muscles that get so badly unused otherwise. Now I am alone. Now I set my own pace. Now my mind clears and I start to see and hear with an acuteness not possible if distracted by another paddler. Now I can feel alive.
Despite hundreds of nights spent beside a campfire under a canopy of stars, there is still that awe and wonder that infects my soul as I light that first campfire of the trip. The gentle lapping of water on rock. The small rustles of night critters. The stillness. The loon cries its mournful song as I lay down to rest weary bones. I close my eyes and I am home....
by Alden Nowlan
Strange how the body
accepts the hardness
of the earth,
of the grass.
The sharp stones
under my shoulders
hardly disturb me
where there is no
I am no longer