In my grandmother’s kitchen sat the largest green bottle of Palmolive you can imagine. To this day, the smell green apple or the sight of its weird green pantone transports me right back to Northern Ontario. We would visit for a couple of weeks in the summer while Dad was guiding and doing the dishes was delegated to the grandkids. In my mind, dealing with this giant slippery bottle was on par with wrestling my first lake-trout into a canoe. True heroics!
Each summer it is our privilege to guide expeditions, sharing remote corners of Canada's North. We know these are big trips, likely the adventure of a lifetime. The destination, your guides and an impeccable menu are the foundation of a successful expedition. But once you are out on trip it is often the small things that help make a portage comfortable and that boost your confidence before a big rapid. Our commitment to quality means no detail is overlooked and we have sourced the finest equipment made.
There is a difference between doing something and living something. I believe that when you are living you are filling the moment. You are finding a way to take it all in and you develop another sense. With a day’s tasks piling up it can be hard get beyond simply doing. As I work to share who we are as a company and as a family the to-do lists can seem endless. But of the blue it can become something beautiful.
For my father being an outfitter was much more than simply selling his brand of adventure. It was about sharing an intimate love of wild places with like minded individuals. About knowing that each paddle stroke was a joyful release for each trip participant. In close to thirty years I have never seen him return from a season, not happy to have shared the river and himself with guests from around the world. The hundreds of stories told and countless cups of coffee as much the tools of his trade as a canoe, a paddle and a lifejacket. He made memories with his guests that would remain with them for the rest of their lives.
Growing up with a guide for a father taught me many things. Some basic, like the value of good rain-gear, dry socks and a secret stash of chocolate. Some more advanced items too, such as the evils of camping in sand, knots to use in a rescue situation and that you always double check how your boats are tied up for the night... But the most significant lesson was how to love a wild place.
"How do you come up with your menu?"
This might be one of the most common questions we are asked, usually shortly after fresh cinnamon buns grace the breakfast table, deep in the Northern Wilderness. Like anything, if you want to be good at it you have to practice. And to practice you have to enjoy it.
Late winter is a weird time of year for someone who identifies as an outfitter, conservationist or adventurer. We leave the well travelled paths that takes us to our happy places, the lakes, rivers, mountains and forests. We find solace in the yoga mat or a recommended ale, we trade in a hug from loved ones for the handshake of the cabbie. It is different. But this difference is essential and drives us to come out of our bubbles of nature, gear, photographs and maps. It drives us to connect.
This is why we do what we do. To share what we love. To remind people where our country came from and that if we are truly to realize our potential as a nation our wilderness will have to continue to shape who we are.
So, while we stretch stiffening knees after long flights, and search with sleepy eyes for a decent cup of coffee you can be sure we look forward to meeting you.
Toronto, thank you for having us. Your are lovely, your beer delicious and energy infectious.
Vancouver and Calgary, we look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks.
Vancouver Outdoor Adventure Travel Show: March 4-5
Calgary Outdoor Adventure Travel Show: March 25-26
Interactions with bears are a proper concern when some is considering a journey into our backcountry. Knowing what situations might arise, how to deal with them and prevent a negative outcome is worth putting some thought into. Nahanni Wild has been working and traveling through wilderness for decades and we are happy to share some of the theory and techniques that we employ on our expeditions