October 8, 2019 - Sechelt, BC
I've enjoyed an adventurous spring and summer. During May and June, my girlfriend and I traveled overland to the Arctic Ocean. We camped along the way and discovered many inspiring locations during our two-month road trip. We arrived in Tuktoyaktuk in early June, the Arctic Ocean was still frozen. Camping was a little cool at times, yet we appreciated that the insects were not numerous. (Unlike Haida Gwaii, some regions of the Arctic have a reputation for swarms of mosquitoes.)
One of my favourite aspects of northern springtime exploration was the perpetual light. The sun never set while we were at our most northern latitude.
Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk - June 2019
In late June, I was back home in Sechelt for a week. Butterfly Tours preparations were already completed, so I was able to unload from the Arctic trip and load for the Gwaii within a few days. I guided seven trips during July and August. A few experiences remain particularly vivid in my memory:
The Cape Freeman Expedition had near perfect outer coast conditions. On our way back from the Cape, our group was paddling offshore in calm seas. Visibility was unlimited, a whale was blowing in the distance. We paddled silently for some time. The rhythm of the sea and the cadence of our strokes seemed to be in harmony. There are moments like this on each trip, yet that moment had a unique depth to it.
My next trip was an Outer Coast Expedition. Three Butterfly Tours past-guests arrived to experience the Gwaii once again. Early in the trip, the weather radio broadcasted an approaching storm system. Before the wind picked up, we paddled several miles up an inlet to a sheltered location. There, we camped for three days while a powerful storm passed over us. The weather system was humbling, we were grateful to be in a reasonably protected campsite. Storm camping can be challenging, yet our group of seasoned kayakers was able to enjoy campfire camaraderie under the tarp while witnessing the effects of the wind in the distance. It felt very good to launch the kayaks after the storm had passed, yet I look back at those days on shore and feel that our small group experienced something raw and rare.
My winter plans include driving to New Mexico with my girlfriend and our mountain bikes. We've recently acquired a compact teardrop trailer, so this will be our first big trip using a new mode of travel.
My 2020 Gwaii season will be shorter than previous years. I'm scheduled to guide five trips during July.
I look forward to being back in the seat of a fully-loaded kayak, enjoying the simple freedoms of self-propelled wilderness exploration.