Meet Tammy (Rain) La Rue...who hates canoing!
Even though Tammy said she does not like canoing, she was a strong canoer with
me on some canoe trips to crown land reserves. Portages are her gifts, as she carried her backpack over the Chlkoot (Gold Rush Mountain Trail) from Alaska to the Yukon. I asked Tammy what drew her to attend the Algonquin Park Canoe trip and her memories of time in the wilderness. Here’s what she said:
It was the opportunity to venture back into Algonquin Park after more than 45 years, with a great group of like-minded people.
In high school, I joined the Outdoors Club. Every Victoria Day and Thanksgiving weekend, we canoed and camped in different parts of Algonquin Park. The experience of those trips definitely kick started my love of spending time in nature.
The restorative benefits of splendid -- even sacred - space
I am excited to return to the Park as an adult. Through my much older and, hopefully, wiser eyes, I will better appreciate the opportunity, the beauty, and the restorative benefits of spending time in such a splendid -- even sacred - space. With luck, the Park Gods will remember me with equal fondness - time will tell!
Nature is my Shepherd
Having more time to absorb the restorative powers that come from spending quiet, reflective time in nature. It often makes me think of the first few lines of Psalm 23 when I camp, hike and explore in the wilderness. Without the intent to show disrespect to this particular piece of sacred scripture (as I am not a religious person), I find it easy to replace the "Lord" with the word "Nature" in the first few lines. For example,
Nature is my Shepherd I shall not want
It makes me lie down in green pastures.
It leads me beside the still waters.
It restore'th my soul.
Sitting around the campfire chatting
Yes, I am looking very forward to having more time to restore'th my soul during our trip. Hopefully, some others will enjoy a hike through a pine forest (that experience would be heaven sent for me!), sitting around the campfire chatting through one of your exercises (as you know, I'm a huge fan of them), sitting by the water and reflecting on my surroundings, and maybe ... just maybe ... learning to like canoeing (note the use of "like" not "love" - I can't expect too much of myself, right?!?)
I somehow belonged to "all this"
Fondest memories actually happened at Algonquin Park. It was Fall and was 14 or
15 years old. I had woke up super early and was down by the lake washing my hands. The campsite was quiet and the water was so calm -- like a mirror. As I squatted down to rinse my hands in the lake, I noticed the reflection of the Fall trees in the water - a halo of beauty surrounded me and I was filled with a great sense of awe.
I didn't realize at that time but it was my first experience of feeling that I somehow belonged to "all this". I wasn't a separate entity from nature and all its beauty; I was a part of it -- welcomed by it, calm within in it, and spiritually connected to it. I guess my inner spirit awoke that day and I've been hooked ever sense to find spaces that fill me with the same sense of awe and gratitude.