Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Wild Flowers

First semester is practically over. I'm not really sure where the time has gone, to be honest. Just yesterday I was in Europe and out west in Edmonton. I think about it a lot, mostly because it was surely the most incredible thing ever.

I don't know many, but I do love answers and I love wandering, drifting, exploring, getting lost inside my head. I love adventuring. "The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure." as the very wise Chris McCandless once wrote could not be more true.

The pursuit of happiness is a common theme of discussion, and as the clich√© goes "it should be a way of travel, not a destination", but I was pleasantly brought to see a different perspective from that way of thinking. The pursuit is much more than being a passenger on a road trip. You are the driver, you can make all the decisions, pick whichever road you want. The pursuit is passionate. It is exploring, finding new places, not letting your happiness be contained to one small pin point in this wide world we all call home. Let your pursuit blossom like wild flowers in the spring time, let it be a myriad of colors and shapes and places and people. Let it be wonderful.

The summer ended with more adventures around our wonderful little province. Megan and I took a trip down to Black Beach. Some educational facts: it's black from graphite deposits. It also doesn't unstick from anything. Then we went to Lepreau Falls. I recommend going after a record breaking rainfall. So much water, so many bubbles, so many excellent things. We finished the day with New River Beach. We went off the hiking trail to the rocks and listened to the ocean kiss the shoreline, breath after breath.

September was mostly me trying to remember how to read things and remember them. But October brought many adventures. The now traditional Dunbar Falls trip with Morgan, a bundle of magic,
happened with all the colors and more laughs than I could ever have imagined possible. Although I do not recommend standing in the water in October. Nah, scratch that. A is for rebel.

The Mount Carleton Sagamook hiking adventure is the best one yet. Megan and I spent the night in the bustling town of Plaster Rock, and hiked around the pond as the steam rolled off it in the morning before heading north to the Mount Carleton Provincial Park. October is the prettiest, north is the prettiest. Combine those two things, always.

The first and biggest problem of the day: the main gates were locked. Maybe it would have changed our minds if we had known at the time just how much distance we needed to walk to get to Mount Carleton/ANY mountain, so maybe it's a good thing we didn't know that Mount Carleton trail is about 20K from the main entrance. But we started walking like we were going to get to the mountain in no time, hike the 10K trail and be back at the car in a few hours. HA. Boy, were we wrong. When the sign says "Mount Carleton -->" it's lying to you. Don't believe it. Don't believe anything. It's still about another year of hiking to go.

We passed Bald Mountain Brook trail, but still with our naivety, we assumed the Mount Carleton trail would be close by. Wrong again. Finally, Megan checked her GPS on her phone and we were hit with the hard truth (although we were convinced for most of the day that it was lying to us) that Mount Carleton was in another universe that we were not close to. Back to Bald Mountain Brook trial...the hardest trail in the park, and probably the world. It started off a really nice, moderate hike. Then BAM! Straight up a mountain. Having to actually climb rocks, and waterfalls, and pull myself up by trees made breathing painful at some points.

It was awesome.

Megan wanted to turn around, but I was summiting a mountain that day, dammit! My eyes convinced her to keep going and we made it to the part in the trail where the Mount Sagamook, Mount Head, and Mount Carleton trails split. Megan convinced me (thankfully) that Mount Carleton was still too far away, so Mount Sagamook it was. Can I just say that our dogs are the best hikers? Toffee and Gus stayed close to our heels, and Mach was the happiest on his expedition, as always, but checked in often. The Santa bell on his harness sang music all day long.

As I climbed the boulders at the top of Sagamook and broke out of the trees, I turned around to see the view and I screamed. Actually screamed. I wasn't expecting it, and that's what made it so special. I practically ran the rest of the way to the top and stood in awe of the colors, and how I could see for miles, and mentally I was stoked that I finally made it to the top of a mountain. She may be but little, but she is fierce!

Another great point of the day is when Megan found another trail that went down the other side of the mountain, so we didn't have to re hike the hell trail we just hiked up. On the way down we met some folks from the states who had almost the same story as us, but they were lucky enough to run into a park ranger, and he told them that it was too far away to keep walking so he drove them to the Sagamook trail. If only we knocked on his door.

Mach didn't stop running (literally) until about the last kilometre. When we finally made it to the car, he pretty much just collapsed and I don't blame him. I did too. We moaned and groaned all the way home about how tired we were, and how sore we were going to be the next day. After looking at a map, we figured we walked/hiked 30K that day. Mach probably did 45. Must hike more mountains, all the mountains.

Also, we saw a moose, and a black bear cub on our way home. Seeing them rivals for the most exciting part of the day.

Megan and I brought in November with another hiking trip to Howland Falls and Garden Creek Falls, and finished the month with a trip to the partially frozen Coac Falls. We've discovered we're really good at getting lost, but what's an adventure without some adlibbing?  Although I like knowing exactly where I'm going, what I need to bring, knowing how long I'll be away, all the details (for life in general), I've learned that spontaneity has brought me my most memorable experiences. Listen to the waterfalls, they have something to teach us. Go with the flow, and you'll end up where you ultimately need to be.

On the agility side of things, we entered three runs for one day. Toffee kicked it, and Mach found a new gear. Normally, he and Toffee are a second or two apart, but that day it was four or five seconds that Mach would beat her, and she wasn't walking by any means. New gear, new adventures. Mach and I entered the East Coast Scout Outs, and that was full of a lot of good stuff. Lessons, too. The dynamic warm up was so fun, although I'm sure I'm the only one who thought that. Reminiscent of my basketball days. Sometimes I miss them. We ran Standard, Jumpers, and "Steeplechase" (I put that in quotations, because it wasn't really a steeplechase. It was a jumpers with an aframe, inspired by the Ind. Agility run at EO from this summer). Mach ran like a dream. Guess what? No bars. All day. Zero. Retrospectively, that's the biggest thing I could ask for. Sadly, in the moment, I got caught up with a bit of frustration in my steeplechase run when he missed the weave entry. Finally no bars, but a weave entry? Lame, I know. We ended the day with a bang, with a win in jumpers by a couple of seconds, if my memory is correct.

Gardens of wild flowers are blooming. I feel them.

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