The Lost City

The Lost City

I’ve never really liked hiking. Don’t get me wrong, I love the outdoors, but for some reason hiking and I have never really gotten along. As a kid, when my parents would announce we were off on a family hike, I would hide. Then I’d sulk all the way up the mountain and back, making sure that in my true stubborn fashion, everyone knew I didn’t want to be there. If I dislike hiking so much, then how did I end up on a seven day hiking trip to Colombia’s Lost City? The answer is simple; I was on the search for clarity...

Down River

Down River

Around the 20th of May, 2006, I left my abnormal life in Quito, Ecuador to explore the enormous continent of South America before time consumed the opportunity. I had been living and traveling in indigenous areas of the Amazon for the previous 3 months, and as much as I loved it, my bag slowly began to pack itself, my mind became full of dreams and my maps covered in ink. I decided to head down to Peru on an Amazonian tributary known as the Rio Napo. For around 1000 kms, it snakes its way through some of the most remote rainforest in the Amazon basin before spitting into the river Amazon just below Iquitos, Peru. A Danish guy who heard I was doing this trip asked if he could join me. I knew that there were no scheduled boats, and that one could be stranded for weeks, or be forced to pay exorbitant sums for short rides on leaky boats, so after a bit of hesitation, I agreed...

Desert Paddling

Desert Paddling

One might expect a kayaking trip into the desert to have some odd turns. But having our kayaks mysteriously broken into in the middle of an empty desert was truly not on our radar. We were returning from a hike up Slickrock Canyon to see some Anasazi ruins, but as we approached our boats Kim noticed that the deck and seat of her kayak were covered in bits of ochre coloured sand and mud.  Her paddle was not where she had left it.  Strange we thought...

Atmosphere

Atmosphere

Whenever I visit my grandparents in Grimsby, Ontario, I try to make it up to Beamer Memorial Conservation Area on the Niagara Escarpment. It holds many fond memories for me, but I am now just beginning to appreciate all that it is! Beamer is well known for it's incredible view of Lake Ontario as well as a main stop for the annual hawk migration. Venturing off-path can take you deeper into the core of the woods or down the cliffs..

Down the Trans Canada

Down the Trans Canada

It was a cool late summer day in Peterborough when a friend and I decided we needed to get out. To have a little local adventure. We met at Jackson Park at the bridge with the dam. Water was crashing by below us as we exchanged greetings and prepared for the journey.

"Are you ready?" he said.

I replied with a wink and a grin, "I was born ready...

Kawartha Highlands Traverse

Kawartha Highlands Traverse

Pulling up to Little Turtle Lake, I step out of the car and take a couple deep breaths of the crisp, fresh air that I will be surrounded by for the next four days. Under a bright sky of mixed clouds, the shoreline of the lake is splotched with the green of the conifers and the yellow, red, and brown of the deciduous trees, already a bit past their peak of autumn colour. After all the difficulties faced over the course of planning this trip, finally all that remains is to toss my bag and barrel in the canoe and push off...

Half Dome

Half Dome

The image of Half Dome, an iconic landmark of Yosemite National Park in California, is displayed on the Macintosh computer screens in Bata Library at Trent University. Passing these computers now, I’m taken back to a year ago when I first entered the library. It was early September 2015 and I was just beginning my Master of Arts Degree in English.

I’ve always used PC computers and I was surprised when I saw Half Dome glowing on the Macintosh screens. But it wasn’t my ignorance of this detail that made me acutely aware of the desktop background.

Two weeks before school started, I had stood at the very top of that iconic peak, perched out on an overhang with my arms triumphantly raised in the air...

From College to Kokopelli

From College to Kokopelli

As part of Algonquin College’s (Ontario, Canada) Outdoor Adventure Program, students are introduced to all things adventure related – the kinds of activities everyone wants to try but often never get around to. I often describe the program as a shotgun experience with variety of different activities, giving us the skills to decide what we want to specialize in the future. The 2-year program ends with a culminating project or advanced expedition, a chance for the students to venture out on their own expedition style trip to truly test what was learned both in and outside of class.

I came into the program with a university degree from Trent University, a keen interest in road cycling, and no idea that bikepacking even existed...

Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine

As I watched my 59-year-old father dart through the crowds of people on the narrow path we were traveling along, all I could do was laugh and murmur “lo siento” - meaning “I’m sorry” in Spanish. He was essentially pushing young travelers out of his way to ensure he was the fastest on the trails of Torres del Paine in Patagonia, Chile. His Tilley hat and cargo pants defined a man of practicality. We were never in any great rush, but for this man, life is a race and there is no other option than winning. I was his 26-year-old daughter, nervous about what I had gotten myself into!

For many Chileans, a basic rite of passage is traveling far south to the National Park Torres del Paine in Patagonia.

Trek to Toubkal

Trek to Toubkal

As the light faded into darkness and the clouds rolled into the valley, we peered through the window with anticipation of the impending summit attempt. Through the fog I could see the lights of the dozen or so tents that sat amongst the mist at the base of the rocky steppe. Tomorrow we would summit the third highest mountain in Africa.

Arriving in Morocco eight months prior, I had been dreaming of one day making my way to Jebel Toubkal (4,167m), but a botched dental surgery had threatened to take that dream away...