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  • Derek

Mother Nature; Our Best Teacher

Every year for the past 6 years or so, we go backcountry camping a couple times per year, to our little slice of Heaven; Site #70 at Crotch Lake, in North Frontenac Parklands here in Ontario. Every year, I come out feeling refreshed, recharged and always with some basic reminders in life.

Let me set the scene for you;

-The lake is a couple hours North-East of Frankford, ON where we live

-We take a winding, private, dirt road for approx 8 or 9km into the woods to reach the lake.

-We launch our canoe at the North boat launch of Crotch Lake (which is a big lake).

-Once we're loaded up and ready, we have a 2km paddle to our site which is on a point across from "Skull Island". If you paddle past our point, the water opens to the main large body of the lake.

We love this spot because the next closest site is 1km away, with other sites being further. We love the privacy, and peacefulness.

Our camping trips are far from lazy, but also not exhausting. You're always doing something, but it's never anything that's completely draining and nothing ever feels like a chore out there for some reason, even the chores. LOL

Which brings me to the title of this post: "Mother Nature; Our Best Teacher". Backcountry camping provides so much opportunity to realize the simple aspects of life that we take for granted and often overlook.

Here are a few of my favourite lessons and most obvious ones that come to mind whenever we go back there each trip:

- You have to work to get what you need/want. If we want to have a campfire, wood needs to be gathered and cut.

If we want to cook our food, we need to gather and cut wood.

If we want some shelter we need to set up our tent.

You get the idea... In life, you don't get what you want, unless you work for it.

-Nature is so beautiful. The nature that we have available to us in Canada is beyond words! Simple as that.

-There is no such thing as "perfect". This second time back this summer was a great example of this. Yes the water looked like glass for much our trip (great for fly fishing). The nights were warm, but cool enough to sleep comfortably. However, humidity was high during the days and the breeze was not always there, so shade and the lake were welcomed elements. It was all close to "perfect" for sure, but a reminder that nothing in life is perfect. Just enjoy what you have and/or what is.

-You have to adapt to your situation/surroundings. When we go back to our favourite spot, we sometimes can have weather like this trip where the water is like glass, the sun is shining and skies are clear....

Sometimes like our last trip back in June this year, we get some wind during the days, and then rain all night long during our last night, waking up to literal lakes on the ground right outside our tents...

Sometimes you get a storm as you're paddling your stuff out like our first year there, with choppy waters, rain, wind etc...

Regardless you have to make the best of the situation and adapt on the fly.

-Be grateful for the simple things. These trips remind me I'm grateful for my health to be able to do these camping trips. I'm grateful for our beautiful country and the natural environments it provides. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be grateful for some of life's conveniences that we often take for granted in modern living... and so much more.

-Slowing down is underrated. Our society has driven us into this chaotic, workaholic infested, "always be on" lifestyle that completely is against what our evolution and physiology was designed for. The act of slowing down and stepping away from the chaos, actually improves our work quality and quantity. Not to mention, recharges our enjoyment of our work. If we don't take these breaks, that can't happen.

-We need to be disconnected. It's ok to be. Our world has become addicted and dependant on devices to "live". Which is ironic because we actually truly live, when we disconnect from them. Our first year visiting our favourite spot, I took lots of pictures because I was just in awe. But ever since then, when I hit the dirt road heading into the lake, my phone is off until we come back out. Granted we can get service on our point, so it's nice to know if we had an emergency we can call for help. I also may hop on to check a weather report if need be. Otherwise, it's off. I let my clients know and my family know where I am and remind them that I will get back to any calls, texts or emails when I get out of the woods. That alone, recharges my mental and physical battery. Add in Mother Nature to that equation and it's no wonder I feel so good when I get back from these trips.

My hope every year when I share these thoughts, is that it inspires more people to get out and enjoy the nature around us. It's so healthy for us both mentally and physically to be out in nature, where we evolved. It's our human instinct to react positively to the great outdoors.

Not to mention, it can be simply breathtaking...

Photo creds to our friend, Ryan who got this shot of Friday night's sky while sitting around the fire. The moon was so bright, the sky lit up like this all night.

It was incredible.

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