Take Heed Lone Wolves



We shall not cease from exploration 

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

-T.S. Eliot

       The life of an explorer is often lonely. Soldiers and sailors have their bonds of brotherhood- but explorers tend to be lone wolves, solitary sots not given to intimacy. The more time they spend beyond the reach of civilization- in a place where life depends on cunning and where they alone are the sole authority- the more difficult it becomes to adjust back to a normal life. Some of the world’s greatest explorers- men who had endured adversity and dangers beyond counting- later found themselves forlorn, wracked by self-doubt and overcome by despair. Meriwether Lewis, lionized for his crossing of North America, was later consumed by inner demons. Spurned in love, lonely and drinking heavily, despite the fame and accolades bestowed on him, Lewis fell irretrievably into despondency. One night, unable to cope any longer, he shot himself in the head. The bullet only grazed his skull. Grabbing another flintlock pistol, Lewis shot himself through the chest. Still, he did not die. Fully conscious, but out of ammunition, in desperation he reached for a razor. In the words of a horrified witness who burst upon the scene, Lewis was found “busily engaged in cutting himself from head to foot” Choking with blood, Lewis gasped”I am no coward; but I am so strong, [it is] so hard to die.” Only after agonizing pain that lasted for hours did Lewis – one of history’s most fearless explorers – finally succumbed to his self-inflicted wounds.

         John Hanning Speke, after discovering the source of the world’s longest river in 1858, a riddle that had been puzzled over since the days of the pharaohs-became ensnared in bitter controversies over his discoveries back in England. His fellow explorer Sir Richard Burton disputed the Nile’s source, and the acrimonious debate resulted in angry polemics in journals and newspapers. Speke had braved every imaginable danger in the wilds of Africa, but he found the hounding of the civilized world insufferable. On the afternoon of September 15, 1864, shortly before he was to appear at a session of the Royal Geographical Society to debate Burton, he fatally shot himself while hunting in the English countryside.

        Some explorers simply vanished in the wild, never to be seen again, their fate a mystery, such as Percy Fawcett in the Amazon in 1925 and Hubert Darrell, a forgotten hero of the Arctic and solo explorer without equal, who disappeared in northern Canada in 1910 while on a lone journey into unexplored territory. Others lived into old age only to discover that their singular experiences had rendered them unsociable and incapable of developing deeper bonds with other people. They lived out their days filled with loneliness. But not for anything, I think, would any of them have traded their wilderness explorations for a more settled existence-like Faust, they could not repent, for they had seen and done things no one else had.

[Excerpt from Alone Against the North by Adam Shoalts]

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The Mask You Live In

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A not so perfect day

Coastal If I could tell you one more thing
If I could have no regret about yesterday
I have a curse
Yes a curse
I’ve been burdened with these eyes
And they see old souls in pain
And I don’t know how to tell you
But I felt yours
In a certain moment
I seen it plain as the fire in the sky
I’d like to take it all away
To tell you
We all have had it rough
Our hearts torn asunder
Invisible wounds bleeding on dry earth
Yes, I feel it too
I feel it also for you…
It choruses along with my own hurts
It is the curse of being a Lover
A curse of having my heart growing on a sleeve
A curse of these lovers eyes
And I wish I could have hugged you longer
And took it all within my being
So you could be free
And I could return to tread these stormy seas.

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IMG_1230Parts of a Bohemian’s Rhapsody

   No, I’m not talking about those people. Not talking about concrete bunkers. Nor the zombie apocalypse. I’m talking about being ready to pick up and go. Planning an adventure. Whether it be the weekend camp trip or a cross Canada jaunt. Just getting out into the world. The unknown.

I don’t know about you, but when I read about interesting tours in a guide, I tend just to look at all the pictures and skim the rest. Strike one for me. It just doesn’t seem to sink in. I guess, I feel as though I don’t have enough time to read the small print. Sometimes, they can read more like your Mum’s meatloaf recipe. It just doesn’t stoke my imagination. Sometimes, I’m just sick of all the small print in general! Most of my trips I hear about, are through other individuals and their excitement is infectious. Researching each of those little lines can save a lot of hassle and head scratching in the long run.

Certain people learn through the process of doing. Some will take the gamble and pack what they think they need. They will take the hard road and learn through experience. Others might augment their knowledge by taking a course, reading a book and/or watching some youtube for ideas. Also, pairing up with somebody who knows the ropes can be of great help. But buyer beware, there can be some very misleading information out there. There are few standards present and ultimately you will not know what works, if you don’t put yourself into those situations.

Some people are totally unprepared. Clueless. I bumped into a few of them on the last hike I did. It’s a popular trail, but also a very demanding one. I don’t know how they came to the decision to travel it or didn’t hear the piles of warnings in the mandatory orientation. They over-estimated how far they would travel in a day over very rough terrain. Under-packed for a party of three. They forgot a sleeping bag at a campsite. Only by the courtesy and alertness of other campers they had it returned. Doubling up in very close quarters for heat and sleep? No thank you, I’ll save that for emergencies. The point I’m making, is that everybody on the trail, who could see this inexperience, was now having to keep an eye on them and worry about them. If they so chose. What if they were alone and making these mistakes?

Often travelers bring major assumptions and mind sets on how a certain place will be. These locales are generally neutral. It’s what you make them. The skills, knowledge and research, will make all the difference. It’s being willing to accept some adversity and hardship for unknown rewards. For those memorable surprises that can’t be scripted. For pictures that turn out to be timeless. To feel like you’re pushing the edges of your boundaries and living life. Who wouldn’t want that?

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A friend of mine who paints magnificent paintings!


A new painting. Currently in Winnipeg, painting up a storm.


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Screaming So Loud

I’ve been thinking about 

You then Me

I’ve been thinking about

Your Insincerity 


….and this rage

…in this silence

Your leaving, without a trace

…..And I just want to see a another sunny day?!


I’ve been screaming about

How yah done me wrong

I’ve been screaming so loud 

What am I doing here? 


….In this Rage

in this silence

Your leaving, without a trace

….and I just want to see another fucking sunny day!


I’ve been dreaming about

Leaving this place

I’ve been dreaming out loud

The day I’ll be free of you 


…and this rage

…and this silence


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Well, it’s been awhile. Yup. Much has changed and is changing.  In the process of getting out of a rut. A career. A town. A house. A relationship. It’s amazing what changes after four years and what doesn’t. I just need to spread my wings. I need to find some courage and inspiration to do so…Image

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