Adapting our mindset for a new adventure
For over a year, we've had to repress our need for adventure. At the beginning of this pandemic, we were most scared of getting hurt and being an extra weight on an overburdened health system. After a while, it was just that we didn't want to travel outside of our community for obvious reasons.
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Most of us lost our connection with our climbing, paddling, biking, and skiing buddies. We had to retreat to our dens having only the option to stream the Mountain Film Festivals to stay connected to what used to be our lifestyle.
Hugo and I have been adventure partners for over three decades. The ongoing joke is that we probably spend more time together than with our girlfriends. But this year, we didn't. By the spring, we had enough; adventure was calling. We looked at different options and decided against travelling far away. Instead, we gave ourselves a challenge: we had to leave Vancouver (our home), be self-sufficient, and not interact with anyone for a whole three weeks. These parameters are how we decide to go sea kayaking. After a week of dehydrating our beef stroganoff, chilly and many gourmet meals—yes, we are foodies—we launch our kayaks under Lion's Gate bridge. We had one thing in mind—to explore new places. This expedition was highly unusual for us; when we climbed Denali, the summit was our goal. When we paddle the Grand Canyon, there was no other way than following the river, but this time it was different. We didn't care where we were going, as long as we were going somewhere new to explore.
Good food and a laid-back approach didn't stop us from having an expedition mindset. We would wake up at 4 am, eat under pouring rain, and do a long push until we would seek the shoreline with our flashlight, hoping to find a suitable spot to pitch a tent.
Not caring where we were going brought another dimension to our trip. It made us appreciate the time together, the laughs, the views. It allowed us to make a 100km side trip to see a primary forest simply because it looked cool. Instead of pushing the paddle with our heads down, we explored the coastline. We hung out with dolphins, picked fresh oysters, and tasted different seaweed, just for the fun of it. This 22-day expedition led us to paddle nearly 700km through the most mythical sea kayaking destinations, including Texada Island, Copland Island, Desolation Sound, Discovery passage, Surge Narrow, Broughton inlet, the Broughton Archipelago, Gods Pockets, and many more. It made us feel more connected than ever to our beautiful coastline. Laugh, eat, paddle, laugh, sleep, and repeat! No mask, no computer, no traffic, only a sunset to binge watch, a wave to catch, and a whale to greet!
Words and images by FX Gagnon