A few hundred meters from the tent where Leif and Colin lay a wolf howled, a haunting cry punctuating a day filled with wildlife experiences. Bald eagles, a falcon, seals, otters, cormorants and countless other animal sightings were making for an enthralling camping trip. It was hard to believe that Colin and Leif, completely alone on Discovery Island, were only a one-hour paddle from our house in British Columbia’s capital city. It is times like these, exploring our own backyards and sharing outdoor experiences with young ones when the magic of camping comes alive.
While Colin and Leif were communing with the lone wolf that resides on Discovery and Chatham Islands, a small marine park near Victoria, I was at home partaking in an entirely different type of adventure, tending to our newborn, Oliver. That’s right Oliver was born on June 10th weighing a healthy 7 lbs 14 oz.
Having a second child is a little like going on a second major expedition. You have more experience and challenges are dealt with more efficiently. But, as is often the case with greater experience, you tend to have higher expectations of yourself which aren’t always realized.
It’s been a magical five weeks watching our tiny baby transform. As with all newborns he started as a shrivelled helpless form, governed entirely by reflexes. Now he’s looking more like a rotund baby, even teasing us with occasional smiles. Smiles are the first non-grumpy form of communication, and it feels like our interaction is no longer a one-way street.
Colin and Leif’s trip to Discovery Island was meant to give mom a break, and to prepare Leif for the backpacking trip up Mount Albert Edward he will be doing with daddy in August. Colin nestled Leif in the stern hatch of one of our expedition rowboats and packed 3 days’ worth of food and gear in the other compartments. Leif isn’t paddling yet, but he’s great at spotting seals and tossing stones into the water. Once they reached Discovery Island, Colin kept Leif amused by paddling along the coastline, fishing and hiking to the lighthouse (great until they stumbled onto a nest of wasps and Colin was stung 5 times). Leif’s favourite part of the trip was sleeping in a tent, followed by making bacon and eggs for breakfast. He also loved the fishing, despite the fact all three fish were too small and were released. It’s what camping is all about.
There’s a lot to be said about the beauty and simplicity of adventures close to home, which is what our friend British adventurer Alastair Humphrey wrote about in his most recent book, Microadventurers: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes. It’s a great read for anyone who loves adventure and wants to learn all the tricks for maximizing the fun on reasonable budgets and limited time.
On the other extreme, Sarah Outen is still charging along on her macro-adventure: self-powering around the globe. In September she completed her solo row from Japan to the Aleutian Islands and in May she continued her journey, kayaking eastward through the Aleutian Chain. Sara’s just reached mainland USA, meaning she has finally completed her crossing mainland to mainland across the Pacific Ocean. It’s taken her three years, three different boats, a typhoon and a deep sea rescue to get across the full North Pacific. She’s continuing along the Alaskan coastline by kayak towards her destination of Anchorage where her bicycle awaits. Take a moment to check out the stunning photos and stories on her blog.
Another adventure we’re following is the Great Pacific Race, the first rowing race across the Pacific Ocean. There are still 8 teams in the race to row from California to Hawaii and the lead boat, an international team of 4 rowers from the Netherlands, New Zealand, Great Britain and South Korea, only has 40 nautical miles to go! Follow the teams at the Great Pacific Race website.