The Big Freeze is Coming

We’re into the second week of November now and still no snow on the ground here in Elliot Lake. Still, the signs of winter are slowly creeping in, as you can see here;

Many of the smaller, and calmer ponds and lakes have a thin layer of ice on them now. Mostly due to freezing at night, but the days are not warm enough, and not enough sunshine to melt that thin layer.

I did have visions of getting out for another paddle in the kayak, but I think that I can now put those visions to rest for the winter. The larger bodies of water are still very open, but this year, unlike last year, has been on the windier side, so the big lakes are usually fairly rough, or at least unenjoyably rough, in my play book.

I have been going out for walks though, but I don’t post about all the walks I go on because many of them are repeat routes. I did do a sort of exploratory hike the other day, on a snowmobile trail that leads to a lake I wanted to paddle. However, when I got quite a ways down the trail, I spotted a vehicle parked on the bush road and it seemed odd to me. My gut said, “this isn’t right” and I always listen to my gut now, so I reversed course, without reaching the lake I wanted to investigate.

This brings up a subject that I was quite often asked about, when I had a job back in the world of the human mind. People were always interested in how I felt about being way out in the bush all alone. “Don’t you get lonely?”…”Aren’t you afraid?…”What if something happened?”

Well, No, I never get lonely. This has a lot to do with the way I look at life. If you always think of life in human terms, then you will probably always need human interaction. I see life in everything, so anywhere I am there is life too, so how can I be alone?

As far as being afraid goes, I’m more afraid of people than being alone in the bush. The conditioned human mind is the most destructive force on the face of this earth so, compared to that, the simplicity of nature is a definite refuge. That’s not to say that there’s nothing to fear way out in the middle of nowhere. Accidents can happen or, even in very rare cases, encounters with dangerous animals could lead to injury or worse. However, the chances of any of these things happening can be mitigated if one uses the tools that nature has given them.

Some call it intuition. I refer to it as a ‘gut feeling’. Many people get themselves into trouble because they are completely lost in their minds. They aren’t in touch with who they really are. Animals live completely as who they are, they have no thinking process to interfere with the way they behave. If something doesn’t feel right, they automatically react in a manner that will most likely preserve their life.

Human ego is a very perverse trait. So many people do things trying to impress others, putting themselves at risk in the process. To them, it’s more important what other people think about them, than life itself. Countless people have died because of this, and it’s not always someone trying to impress someone else. Sometimes it’s the very same ego trying to impress itself. Go figure.

Anyway, the key to getting out of this way of thinking is to realize it is in you first. After you notice it, in the way you do things, you can keep an eye on it, until you reach a point where it no longer rules the way you behave. This is not talked about very often in survival courses, or the like, probably because the teacher is, more often than not, lost in their own ego.

The point is, there is nothing to prove, to yourself, or anyone else. This is the way I live now. If something doesn’t feel right, I have no problem at all just walking away, even if it means I can’t complete something that I intended to. If I get another chance, I can always come back again.

This is much harder to do if someone is with you. The human ego is much more excitable in those situations. You don’t want to look weak in any way, so you are more likely to do something that will put you in harms way. So, in this case, being alone is a benefit.

While I was out the other day, I also took a drive down a long dirt road, that runs along Dunlop Lake. It was a very curvy and hilly road, with deep ravines along the sides. The reason I wanted to go down this road was that there was another boat launch going into Dunlop Lake 10kms down this road, and I wanted to check it out as a possible kayak launching spot.

It’s a fairly good dirt road, besides the fact that it’s winding and hilly, because it is the main access road for many cottages/houses/mansions, that are built on Dunlop Lake. These buildings, which are basically stacked on top of each other, each desperately clinging to their ‘own’ short section of lakefront, had driveways that could rival the downhill ski run of an Olympic venue. I can’t imagine how they would get in there in winter, although getting in there in any kind of weather on some of them seemed a bit of a challenge.

As I drove past them, I had to wonder what in the world people were thinking. Here I was, almost penniless, and I could enjoy Dunlop Lake anytime I wanted, just by driving down and launching my kayak. However, I could tell that some of these people had spent millions on building their, so called, dream home, squeezed in between all the other like-minded dreamers, only to find that it wasn’t as quiet and serene as they expected. Or, as I spoke about above, it was just an ego competition to see who could build the biggest house.

I did eventually find the boat launch, but it was one of the worst launching points I had seen yet, with a very steep hill down to the dock. I wasn’t all the keen on paddling Dunlop Lake anyways, since I knew that motorboats would be frequent and, with parts of the shoreline dotted with buildings of one sort or another, there would always be some kind of activity, noise, and even the odd “what are YOU doing here?” stare to be had.

There was one point of interest about Dunlop Lake though. Across the lake from this access point there is a short portage that will bring you to another, quite large, lake called Ten Mile Lake. It looks like an interesting wilderness lake that I might want to paddle eventually. Other than that, I have no interest in paddling Dunlop Lake.

The fact is, there are so many lakes that I haven’t paddled yet that there is no reason to paddle a populated lake. Of course access is always a concern, so that’s why I like to check out these launching points because, many times, you can reach other lakes easily from the lake that has a boat launch, and motorboats are not likely to portage, so these lakes will probably be very quiet.

As the big freeze slowly sets in, I’ll be out there hiking in new and old places, while the ground is still clear of snow. Every season up here has it’s benefits, and I do like the fact that there are no bugs now, and you can see very far through the forest with no leaves on the trees. Also, I like the cooler weather for hiking, since I tend to overheat very easily. I see a few sunny days coming up on the fickle forecast, so maybe I’ll have some more pictures on my next post, which will be……drum roll……my 100th post.

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