The storm after the calm

October was a pretty benign month, weather-wise, and I was happy about that, particularly for the recent trip spent camping in a remote location. Since the end of that weekend, temperatures have fallen slightly, and rainfall has increased a great deal.

Oh, October sun, I’m missing you!

Ah, the rain! We kept a close eye on the sky last weekend, timing a walk out with Scout to the least rainy portion of the day. A wander along the Wild Pacific Trail revealed churning water and some scenic stops under trees.E632E49C-1F86-49C9-9F39-CB13440B10B9

Back to that bright and sunny trip. When we moored the boat, students were keen to get ashore and light a campfire. Armed with knives, a fire steel, a lighter and some backup matches, they couldn’t wait to try out their skills. Great focus and teamwork when they were lighting the fire, sticking with the task when the wood didn’t immediately ignite. They shaved feather sticks and small pieces, piling them carefully and aiming to start with the tiniest and feed the flame as it grew. A couple of unintended extinguishes later, and they soon realized patience was the key to success.

We will make fire!

Yes, they used a match, but they know it is important to have more than one way to start a fire, and they’ll try again with the fire steel another time. I’m looking forward to how they’ll get a fire going when we return later this month. It has been very wet, so fire starting out there will be a challenge. The group spent quite a bit of time collecting and splitting firewood, stacking it in a dry location, with enough stacked for the next visit. Preparation and planning!

I can see November on the horizon!

Those not setting the fire got busy with putting up tents and squaring away supplies –  it is amazing how much gear can be packed into a small boat, and even more amazing how much food is needed to keep teenagers fed and functioning!

One PC tent – very tidy

One section of the weekend was a hunting trip to try and supplement the goods brought out. Being vegetarian for the past three decades, I wasn’t too sure about hunting, but the trip wasn’t about my sensibilities. A part of being out on tribal lands was for the youngsters to learn how to be a provider beyond going to the store. I’ll write about the hunting in a future post…

I see feathers, but no duck. Hmm…

Hatchets, axes, chainsaws and machetes were wielded with intent and to great effect, and not just for firewood. Old trails were cleared and improved, the goal being to make the camp easier to navigate for visiting elders.

Did I mention the bears? We didn’t see any the entire time we were there, but judging by the fresh bear scat all over, I hope the bears continued to enjoy the cleared trails after we left. Light-coloured birch branches and stones were used to mark the edges of the trails, and larger obstacles like fallen logs were removed, or had chunks cut out to minimize the climbing and scrambling. For parts of the trip, I was the oldest participant (that changed when a chainsaw carrying elder in his seventh decade arrived to assist) and the consensus was if the old Plaid-wearing guy can traverse the new trails without incident, then it’ll be fine for everyone else. I have my outdoor uses…

Calm – ten steps from the tent

I’ll leave it there for this week, with a happy PlaidCamper warmed by the fire and exertions from trail-clearing (don’t worry, most of the heavy lifting was done by those far younger than me – they enjoy it!)

We are expecting a bit more rain for the next few days (weeks and months) but we’ll keep out on the trails, whatever the weather. Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

“I think it is clearing – is that July on the horizon?”

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I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

18 thoughts on “The storm after the calm”

  1. Thanks, PC, for sharing this report and beautiful photos of your camp-out with the youth of Canada. They’re a lucky bunch to have you as a mentor, and I’m sure you felt greatly rewarded by their confidence, as well.


    1. Thanks, Walt! Happy to share, and happy with this “work” – I’d be doing this for fun anyway if I could, but the pay check helps keep us stocked with craft beer and coffee…
      I hope you’ve had a great weekend!


  2. Beautiful scenery and photos, Plaid. I’ve been doing some trail maintenance on my own on some of the xc ski trails I use. It is rewarding, some requiring more effort than others. Now, as long as the trees don’t drop any more limbs on them…
    P.S. Starting a blaze with a fire steel is kind of a PIA under all but the most ideal situations.


    1. Thanks, Bob! I hope you get to enjoy those cleared trails soon – a fine reward for a big effort.
      Yup, the fire steel probably won’t do it out here, it’s too wet almost all the time. I mostly use it to ignite the Trangia! It was great in the tinder dry conditions found in summertime Alberta.
      I hope your weekend has been a good one!


  3. Nice variety of photos from calm to stormy especially the semi-silhouette at the end. You mentioned Tribal lands and elders, were these Indigenous youth on a camping and hunting trip? A great experience especially with the younger people doing a lot of the work which left you time to take photos.


    1. Thanks, Jane! Yes, the youth are indigenous youth – I’m employed by a local First Nation to support their youth in and out of school. Enjoyable work, especially on trips like the one we took. The youngsters doing the heavy lifting and showing they are responsible certainly gave me time to take photographs and record their progress!
      I hope you’re having a pleasant weekend!


  4. Enjoyed reading about your outdoor adventures with the local community! Love the fabulous photos, especially the stunning Calm photo and the shots of the waves. It’s wonderful these youngsters have an experienced older (but not elder) outdoorsman leading the way through the trails. We have had more rain than normal and actually have a chance for snow later in the week. Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!


    1. Thank you! I have to admit, it’s mostly these youngsters leading and showing me the way as I struggle to keep up – this older elder in the making enjoys it all, especially when the weather cooperates…
      If you get snow this week, I hope it gives you the chance to get out and have fun rather than keeping you inside. We had a very wet stay indoors day yesterday that turned out to be pretty good – starting with watching Everton win against Brighton (as they should!) and then watching quite a bit of Bodyguard – a BBC/Netflix drama that has been entertaining so far.
      I hope your weekend is going well!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had planned on watching Bodyguard this weekend after hearing great things about the show, but the college and pro football games have been so good that it will have to wait until our next rainy day. Glad Everton won so they could stay within two points of Manchester United after their win.😁


  5. clearing trail is like putting your fist into water.With draw quickly & thats about what happens with the forest reclaiming what you’ve cleared.
    Learning how to start a fire is a science.When you mentioned a “fire steel” are you talking about using magnesium? It has its own oxygen which is why it burns under water. I had a pair of magnesium snow shoes once.I’d whittle a bit off the tail to start a fire.


    1. Yup, the fire steels I have are magnesium rods, not bothered by rain or snow, they work every strike. The challenge is having dry tinder and wood and a patient technique. Lint from a dryer kept in a ziploc bag is handy! And magnesium snowshoes!
      I hope you’re able to get out in this drier spell before the next bout of rain!


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