Usually people say they feel small when they are upset or feeling down about themselves. When I say I feel small, it is almost always because I am in an environment where I am surrounded by beautiful scenery and in that moment I feel insignificant. It’s strange, but I love that feeling. Like when I’m on top of a mountain and can’t see anyone else, or in the middle of a forest and could yell and nobody would hear me. I feel so incredibly peaceful in those moments, like nothing in the world matters except for the trees around me, the wind blowing in my hair, and the quiet.
I was lucky enough to experience nine days of this peacefulness when my dad and I went on a backcountry camping/canoeing trip in Northern British Columbia, Canada. We travelled – mostly paddled – over 150 km, and for a good chunk of the trip we both were silent and were able to fully experience the moment and the beauty that our country has to offer. We started in a rain forest and moved through a circuit and got to see so many different landscapes, wildlife, and of course, bugs. Lucky for us the bugs weren’t mosquitoes!
Nine days of paddling was an amazing shoulder workout, and I’d be lying if I said it was easy. We pushed hard most days but definitely had days where we were more relaxed so we could find balance. There was never a moment on the trip where I felt stressed, unprepared, or worried. I trusted my dad as my canoe partner (I think he trusted me! He must’ve by the end of it!!) and we were able to maneuver the lakes and rivers with no “bumps in the road”. This trip was beyond incredible and I can’t even begin to put it into words, I would probably end up writing a novel if I tried. Instead, I’d like to share three important things that I took away from this experience.
- I can always count on my Dad: My dad wasn’t my initial partner for this trip. My boyfriend was supposed to come but due to a mountain biking injury he was unable to come and my dad stepped in. My dad had four days to get ready but with some help from my mom, he was packed and ready to go! Throughout the trip there were a couple moments where I realized I am so lucky to have my dad in my life. There are not many people I would go backcountry camping with, but I would definitely go again with my dad. I trust him 100% as a canoeist, experienced camper, and as a levelheaded human. I can also get along with him for nine days which says a lot!
- I love my Country: Canadians are not really known for being patriotic. Sure, it’s great to live in Canada but we don’t often reflect on WHY it’s great to live here. That list can go on and on but this trip definitely reminded me of some of the less political reasons why Canada is so damn great. Canada is big, like really big. With all that space we are so privileged to be able to safely (if you are prepared) explore our country and see how beautiful it really is. My dad and I were also reminded how lucky we are to live in a country that has an abundance of clean water. We took water purification tablets, but we had fresh water every single place we went, something that can so easily be taken for granted.
- Lastly, a huge takeaway from this trip was how important fitness is. My dad (and mom!) got a personal trainer almost a year ago. If this was last summer my dad said that he probably wouldn’t have been able to go on this trip. Honestly, if I had wanted to do this trip before I started on my fitness journey I wouldn’t have been able to do it and enjoy it as much as I did because of how much I would have struggled. This is one of the main reasons fitness is so important to me – I don’t want to miss out on things because I can’t physically do it. I was so proud of my dad and I for going on this trip and crushing the portages, paddling, and hiking.
Sorry for the longest post ever, if you didn’t read it I totally understand! Please try not to judge my poor GoPro skills and my even worse video editing skills and enjoy a few clips from the best canoe trip a girl could ask for!