adventures

On my Way to Baffin Island

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Sorry I haven’t blogged lately. I have been so busy getting ready for my trip to Baffin Island! I am in Ottawa now, with a little spare time, and tomorrow we leave for Nunuvut.

I am so excited to be going to this part of Canada! It’s remote, beautiful, rugged and — did I already say “remote?” There is something in my blood that makes me want to travel to the ends of the Earth, to see things few have seen, and experience things few ever will.

And that’s what I’m doing now! I am taking all kinds of personal risks to have a really unique Canadian experience. A few people have called me brave — usually after finding out I’ll be sleeping in -20 to -30 C, or that there will be polar bears. I don’t see myself as brave. I just keep my eyes open for opportunities and then take them when they come along. I just do what’s in front of me to do. And I guess I’ve been lucky to have some interesting things come along in front of me!

I don’t mean to sound passive, or downplay what I’m doing. But I’m no hero, either! I am nervous about some parts of it! I know I may be uncomfortable for days on end. I am doing it anyways.

I bought Brene Brown’s book “Braving the Wilderness” and I’m going to start reading it tonight! It should be the perfect book for the trek I’m about to do!

Wish me luck, everyone! HUGE BIG thank you’s to everyone who has sponsored me for this fundraiser! You rock, really. And if you haven’t sponsored me yet, go do it now!! Here’s the link! Love you guys!

Trying out my super-warm sleeping bag
Good down to -32 C… tested at +20 C!! 😛

CBC Radio Interview

I got interviewed by Mark Connolly a couple days ago! Go check it out!
http://www.cbc.ca/i/caffeine/syndicate/?audioId=15683239

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Good News! I Don’t Think I’ll Freeze on Baffin Island

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My day job involves a lot of weather information, and today, I was teaching my trainees about weather models. Environment Canada has a page with several on them, and we use them to give pilots weather info beyond 24 hours. Like any forecast, there’s no guarantee, but we can be fairly accurate as long as we stay within 48 hours.
I don’t know how they do it, but Environment Canada also creates some rather long-term forecasts. I stumbled on this one, below, and it made my heart sing!

Temperature probability Feb-April

It’s not the best news for Western Canada — looks like it’s going to be cooler than normal — but check out Baffin Island! Right where I’m going, it’s going to be WARMER than normal! There is an 80-90% chance! Normal temperatures for this part of Baffin Island range from -5 C to -25 C.

In case you’re not clear on where I am going snowshoeing, I’ve made a map:
Baffin Island

See how there is a red patch right on that part of Baffin Island?! Yay! I’m super excited to be going anyway, and now I know it’s not likely to be TOO cold, so that makes it even better. I bought a sleeping bag rated to -32 C on the weekend, along with an expedition parka that is incredibly warm! Things are coming together! 😀

My Next BIG Adventure

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There’s a reason this blog is entitled Adventures With Teresa! As most if you know, every now and then, I seem to find myself having some seriously unique adventures! This time, it’s really big!

It all started when I got a subscription to Explore magazine. Reading about other people’s adventures is so much fun, and it makes me want to go on my own! img_0335Over Christmas, I was catching up on past issues of Explore, and I read a really great article about a man and his Husky dog who walked the Akshayuk Pass, on Baffin Island. They went 200 km! The dog had his own little sled to pull — it was very cute and the dog looked like he was having the time of his life! Then, in the next Explore mag, I saw an article about a canoe trip involving military soldiers, veterans and regular people. It sounded like they had an amazing trip. With all my canoe experience, I could imagine them bonding around the campfire.
The canoe trip was organized by an organization called True Patriot Love. I had never heard of them, so I went to their website. They fundraise to support military and veterans services. I clicked on the “Get Involved” tab, abd then I saw “Expeditions.” So of course I had to click on that! The very first thing I saw was an all-women Snowshoeing expedition on Baffin Island, traversing the Akshayuk Pass — the one I just read about!! Oh man. I LOVE snowshoeing, and as I kept reading about it, I become hooked! This would be sooo fun!
I told Darren about it. He said, “so, um, if it’s all women, you don’t need me to come, right?” He is the love of my life and we are two peas in a pod, but he just doesn’t quite share my (ridiculous? Crazy?) love for big adventures!!
baffin island and tent
So, long story short: I contacted True Patriot Love. They still had room and were happy to have me join. Last weekend, I flew to southern Ontario to meet a bunch of the ladies and the main guide. I had a great time, so I am IN! Woo hoo! It’s not all fun and games, ur, snowshoeing, however! I am FUNDRAISING to support True Patriot Love. Each civilian going has been asked to raise $50,000! If you would like to help support our soldiers and veterans — and their families — in their physical and mental health, please go to my fundraising page! I am paying all my own expenses for this trip, so all the money you donate is tax refundable and goes straight to the cause. 😀

Stay tuned for more posts! I am already training for the trip, which for now is essentially going snowshoeing several times a week. I will keep you updated as things unfold. I have lots of gear to buy (like a sleeping bag rated to -40C! Gasp!) and many, many adventures to come!
img_0331

Weekend Fun!

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Whew, I had a fun weekend here in Wrigley! Yup, I am back in the little community at the end of the all-season road, and from my very first night here, the fun began. A friend of mine here ended up house sitting, except with one surprise — there was also a 10-year old girl there! So, it was house/baby-sitting. I decided to go over and see how it was going for him.

When I got to the house, he wasn’t there. I figured he must have gone out snowmobiling, so I decided to go for a walk and check back later. Sure enough, he pulled up in a few minutes and I hopped on! It’s been years since I was on a skidoo and man, was it ever fun! Woo hoo! I screamed, I squealed (yes, like a girl), I shrieked, I leaned, I bonked heads (gently) with the girl, and then got into a minor giggle fit! We blasted our way all over Wrigley, which is basically mecca for snowmobilers — treed trails, hills, the river valley, and a labyrinth of paths all over the community. It’s totally acceptable to cut across anyone and everyone’s yard in winter with a skidoo (usually going mach 3, often in the middle of the night)! We had such a blast!

We went back to the house, and I decided to stay over. I was partly feeling sorry for my friend who had this job sort of dropped on him, and partly to spend time with the girl, who is a pretty cool 10-year-old. It wasn’t a terribly late night, but I was ill-at-ease due to the TV being on. I am so deconditioned to it, it makes me feel quite strange. The next day, I went to work and in the evening, it was the girl’s birthday, so we had a great birthday party for her — chicken dinner with a chocolate birthday cake, icing, candles and everything. I mention this, because you can’t buy birthday candles anywhere in Wrigley, but I had bought them in Fort Simpson a couple of weeks ago for my friend’s birthday! So we celebrated both birthdays and had a great time. Not surprisingly, the local kids found out about the cake, so they had some too. It was coffee cake, so you can imagine the effect! The whole gang left shortly after a couple of our adult friends came over — another party was in the works!

I stayed with the adults for a bit, but decided to go see if my friend needed back-up with all the kids hopped-up on coffee-cake having a sleep over. Yup, he did. Yikes! They were wild. A major pillow fight was underway when I arrived — I took my glasses off to make sure they wouldn’t get broken! Crazy! Eventually, they calmed down a bit and a couple went upstairs to play video games and a couple slept. I claimed the love seat, got comfortable and slept okay until one of the kids turned the TV on. Ugh. Anyhoo, that was the end of Friday.

snowshoesSaturday I really wanted to go snowshoeing! I was getting ready to go when, you guessed it, a few kids came over to see what we were up to. I had three little shadows as I went, and it was hard going. I thought I would be slow compared to them (this time, it was Pepsi!), but in the deep snow and crazy ice on the river, the snowshoes really shone. They are so amazing! So, I had to slow down and help the kids and they didn’t last long. One little boy kept trying to stand on the back of my snowshoes (a big no-no, for those who don’t know!) so I finally offered to carry him on my back. Wow, never done that before! Not easy! I really wanted to cross the river that afternoon, so the kids went back to town and I did my thing on the river. It was amazing. It’s about 1.2 km across, and I made my way there and back. A couple of the older girls had followed me after all, and they were cheering for me to go all the way. They fared a little better in the deep snow, but it still took a while to slowly pick our way back. I let each of them try the snowshoes, and they did really well. These shoes are about 54″ long (137 cm), by the way.

partofthetrailOn Sunday, we ended up all going for a nice hike down to Hodgson Creek, the creek that never freezes in winter. Actually, that’s not true — where we were, farther upstream, it had nice thick ice on it, but at some point a little ways downstream, as far as we know, there must be a little hot spring. The result is pleasant gurgling water all year round! 🙂 We had fun, walking, playing, making a fire, and roasting apples over the fire! Delish! You have to cook them slowly and let the skin totally burn. They, scrape the skin off and enjoy the yummy baked apple! 🙂

Walking back to the village, we invented a new game. It involved kicking trees to get all the snow the fall off on you. We have some serious snow up here — I shovelled for an hour on Friday afternoon at work — and it sticks to the trees wonderfully. Then, a little play wrestling in the snow and we eventually made our way home. One little girl asked me three times if she could come over, but I had to say no. It isn’t easy, since I know she doesn’t want to go home and spending time with me is far more fun, but I just have to keep some boundaries. I can’t take every kid home or let every kid in who wants to. It’s a strange world, where kids play in the streets all by themselves, where parents aren’t too fussy about where they are, where the outdoors is their playground, but they still have satellite TV (some of them) and video games. They like to be outside (and they know how to bundle up), but they are afraid to go into the woods alone. There are wolves around, so their parents have instilled a hearty fear into them. I sometimes feel it’s too bad, but on the other hand, it’s a safety thing and they will probably grow out of it when they are older and go into the bush on their own (or at least the boys might).

So that was my busy, fun, crazy weekend! 🙂 Hope you are having a great winter too!

snowshoes

Security is a Myth

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“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” – Helen Keller

I first heard the phrase “security is a myth” from Steve Pavlina, a personal development guru-of-sorts. He’s a bit unconventional, but a very interesting guy and author of Personal Development for Smart People. I went to one of his Conscious Growth Workshops where I met some amazing people, many of whom are still great friends of mine. So, I’d like to talk about the idea that “security is a myth” to share my insights.

My husband listens to a podcast called “Security Now,” where a couple of very smart computer guys discuss the latest issues in computer security. It seems there is always something new in this arena, and as soon as one hole in security is plugged, another is found (or made). It seems to be an unending cycle of trying to beat the hackers and keep a system secure.

What about personal security? There are dozens of different home security systems, car anti-theft systems and personal defence items like pepper spray or nun-chucks.* All this, because we want to feel secure. We feel, because we’ve been told, that our security is at risk. Consider the United States’ national security alerts — with all the colours of the hot part of the rainbow, it can tend to make people nervous.

Yet Steve Pavlina says security is a myth. Is there no way to be secure? Is there no way to be sure that you’re going to be okay? Sounds like a formula for worry! Well, if so, remember that the cure for worrying is to trust. We simply have to trust that we are going to be okay. We can learn to trust that our true self cannot be harmed. Our physical bodies are just weak impressions of our true, multi-dimensional selves.

All this emphasis on security is a sort of distraction. By trying so hard for something that is unattainable, we expend a lot of energy that we could be using for something else — personal growth that is helpful, expansive and life-changing. In many ways, struggling for security just puts walls around us, walls that prevent meaningful friendships and fun adventures. The biggest change is felt by releasing ourselves from the quest for security, so we allow ourselves more freedom — freedom to go have fun and make mistakes, to be unafraid of our neighbour and stop looking for the threat in everything.

What if you told yourself “there is just no way to be secure.” Would fear overwhelm you? For a few minutes, perhaps. What if you followed it up with “security is a myth. It isn’t real, so maybe the things I have been afraid of aren’t real either.” At the very least, they are probably inflated, made to be bigger than they really are. If you think about that, and keep breathing, you will soon be able to come to peace with the idea that security is a myth. You will feel a release, a lightness, and as this truth settles into your core, you’ll feel like your spirit is a cork, bobbing on the ocean of the universe, unsinkable and free.

Another way to think of it is “do I get my security from external things or internal things?” Obviously, feeling secure from the inside is the way to go… and then we can get on with having our “daring adventures!”

*No nuns were harmed in the writing of this blog post. 🙂

Not the Captain

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I’m back after a week on the York boat, this time as a simple crew member instead of Captain. What a difference it was to not have to make every decision and feel the weight of responsibility for everything that happens on the boat. I felt so much more relaxed than I did last year and it really was like a vacation. Jae was the captain, and it was interesting to see him act almost exactly as I did last year – a bit like looking in a mirror. I could see him considering the best place to come ashore, the best way to set up the oars to be bridges to shore, the best route in the river, looking for the best current and making a hundred other decisions about things that happen over the course of the day.

You know, it was stressful to be Captain. Responsibility weighs heavy on the person in charge. But if no one was ever willing to take that on, who would lead? I suppose the people with the most ambition or the most nefarious plans would be happy to take it on, and they would probably not even feel the responsibility of making good decisions, leading the group to the best possible outcome and with the most safety. I am really glad that Jae was willing to take this responsibility on when I couldn’t, and I know it was a heavy burden and a lot of work!

In a similar way, we can sometimes be unwilling to take responsibility for what goes on in our own lives. We can easily fall into the trap of thinking that things happen because of fate, or the government, or for no reason at all, rather than admitting that we have made the bed we lie in, and if it’s lumpy and uncomfortable, we have no one else to blame. The responsibility for our lives doesn’t have to be a heavy weight – we can consider it a great honour, a puzzle or interesting challenge, or game — it’s fun to think of creating our designer life! And it is easier to stay lighthearted if you take it in small portions – one day at a time, or even just the morning drive, the morning at work, the afternoon, and the evening. What would you like your day to look like? Smooth flowing traffic? Interesting work? Productive times and good interactions with coworkers? You can think about what you would like, and when you believe it is possible, it’s a good deal more likely to occur. If you can focus on it so intensely that it’s all you see, and there isn’t any way for it to possibly be different, then it is as good as done – it’s only a matter of time!

Anyways, just a few ponderings for now! Pictures from the York boat trip will have to wait while I find the cable to my camera… Go have some adventures!