As May quickly approaches, it’s time to get prepared to go back to the bush. This year marks my twentieth year of working in the wilderness. I’ve worked from northern Manitoba swamps to sandy Saskatchewan hills to Alberta mountains and the rainy BC interior. I tried tagging on Google Earth all the locations I’ve worked. I soon realized how hard a task this is. I must have forgotten about as many places as I remember. There are a thousand memories of events without any clue where they occurred. When you’re staring at a map in the front seat of a helicopter trying to find coordinates you can sometimes lose track of just where in the larger world you are as crazy as that may sound. Consequently, my google map is likely missing most of where I’ve been. Here is the incomplete Alberta portion anyway:
The yellow dots represent places I know for sure I’ve worked, the green are selected recreation trips. The positive locations came from zooming in and following natural features to camp locations.
In this span of years I’ve:
-supervised the planting of over 50 million trees
-supervised the decommissioning of hundreds of kilometers of old roads
-converted dozens of old oil well sites back to their original state
-rehabilitated thousands of tons of oil sand tailings
-audited hundreds of old clearcuts to monitor regrowth requirements
-walked over 20,000 kilometers through every kind of terrain
-spent nearly 2000 nights sleeping in a tent in every kind of weather from blizzards and tornadoes to heatwaves, forest fires and floods.
Living in the wilderness is at times a very rewarding experience. Seeing the natural events that only occur for a few minutes in a decade make going hungry, thirsty, cold and wet all worth while. I’m looking forward to stumbling upon this year’s hidden jewels.