At the center of genuine wilderness adventure there is a capacity for silence, listening, and receiving. Adventure is not just about adrenalin and excitement. It is also about bearing witness.
To bear witness to the wilderness means to see and to hear and to feel and to sense many types of “unfolding“.
To witness the unfolding of:
- the weather and the seasons
- the territory as I move through it
- my body as it responds to the demands of the trip
- the sky as it turns from day to night, and from night to day
- the comings and goings of the local wildlife
- all manner of natural phenomena and apparitions
Here are some examples of the unfoldings in picture form:
aftermath of a snow storm in July 2011
Cataract Pass area, Jasper National Park
fresh avalanche debris in May 2008
Rock Lake, Mt. Assiniboine area
forest fire haze, August 2015
North Buhl area, South-Central Purcells
(and I’m still 2 days from the pick-up point!)
a surly moose, July 2010
Leman Lake area, Banff National Park
Grizzly bear print in the snow, May 2008
Ferro Pass, Mt. Assiniboine area
fossils, August 2011
North White River Basin
receding glacier, August 2007
Elk Lakes Provincial Park
(We should be concerned!)
the larches turning gold, September 2021
Top of the World Provincial Park
the night sky through the forest, September 2020
Height-of-the-Rockies Provincial Park
Upper White River (Middle Fork)
There are many things to see and hear and feel in the wilderness. And they all have a message — but only if I am ready to listen, only if I am ready to receive.
- I am indebted to some of the writings of R.T. Allen in a book titled “The Philosophy of Leisure” (1989) for the connection between leisure (adventure) and listening.