Thursday 20 December 2012


I love to explore.
As a boy I spent countless hours on the move.
Forest and lakes, fields and swamps.
Even as an adult I yearn to see what's over the next ridge.
In this part of the world, the terrain is almost limitless.
It takes a lifetime to learn the expansive wilderness well.

Our township is almost entirely crown land.
That means our backyard is about 35,000 hectares.
It's watershed country so the wetlands go on forever.
There are steep ridges and different types of woodlands.
Wildlife is well represented.

Our hope is that the kids love to explore.
It may not be their way, but if it is, there's more than enough land for them.
They're interested so far.
There's no need to drag them out for a walk.
I asked them if they wanted to see a pond that they'd never seen before.
No arguments there.

Once out, they travel well without prodding.
The landscape changes every hundred meters around here,
so it's hard to get bored.

Animal sign is everywhere, as is fun plants and fungus.
Wildlife is scarce when noisy children push through the forest,
but tracks and scat make for enough conversation.
The kids are showing some interest in hunting and appear willing to work on keeping quiet.
We'll see.

The going is good when the way is clear,
but they're not ready for heavy bush yet.
Bogs and alder swamps, bramble patches and balsam thickets are too much for our kids.
At least until determination outweighs discomfort.
Some height would help too.

Auren is showing a great sense of direction.
He's practically ready for some orienteering training.
Fern is not quite there.
Although that doesn't stop her from voicing opinion on the matter.

There are many valuable lessons to be found in the wilderness.
But I have other motives for encouraging the kids to explore the land.
It gives us a chance to spend time with them in an environment that we prefer.
And I get to satisfy my own wanderlust.


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