Get outside

A weekly sports column from the 100 Mile Free Press

Mother nature has seemingly skipped spring and has gone right to summer. There is no better way to waste your time than getting out into the sun and enjoying the wilderness of British Columbia, whether it be hiking or paddling.

Get off the PlayStation or the computer, stop watching reruns of Golden Girls or whatever it is you watch and go buy a nice pair of hiking boots or a canoe.

Everything feels better when you can turn off your brain and paddle down the various lakes the South Cariboo has to offer, never mind the province.

When I was a kid, my parents used to send me off to summer camp for the entire break, presumably because they were sick of me but it did me a lot of good.

The camp was Camp Pine Crest and it was located in the Muskoka region of Ontario and depending on the age I was, we would go on canoe trips for three to eight days and learn skills needed to survive in the wilderness. We learned how to identify animal tracks and plant species, tie knots, build fires, even cook and read maps.

The longest trip I did was on the Dumoine River in western Quebec when I was 16 and in the camp’s adventure leadership program, which had longer trips then every other program.

We were on the river for 17 days and also learned how to handle whitewater and a lot more survival techniques and tricks needed to lead an expedition.

My favourite part was always paddling though. It was the whole reason I got out of the tent every morning. We literally spent entire days in canoes, paddling from sunset to sundown, taking the necessary breaks but I think if you asked me or the seven other kids I was with none of it would have any other way.

There is something satisfying about the rhythmic paddling and just being out in the wilderness for a long period of time, where everything grinding you down back home pushed away to the back of your head. It is truly relaxing and is also a good way to get and stay fit.

It also makes me sad that I’ve stopped doing something I really enjoyed in my younger years, but no better time to start again.

With several lakes just minutes away from my apartment it would be a shame not try and get out on the lake, even if it’s for a half day’s paddle. I’d encourage you all to do the same or at least something similar.

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