A Journey Down the Mighty Fraser

A Journey Down the Mighty Fraser

I embarked on a month long journey down the Fraser River that re-connected me with nature – where I come from. This connection is more than staring out at the scenery and feeling the beauty of it, but instead feeling beautiful and powerful knowing you are a part of it and it is an integral part of you.

The Sustainable Living Leadership Program is a lot more than an educational trip, it’s a spiritual journey that brings you to a natural state of mind. There are three connections that I experienced throughout my adventure:

Connection with Others
Connection with The Earth
Connection with Myself

At the beginning you’re in a camp full of complete strangers that you hope must be like you. They believe – possibly – in the same things as you because they are all sitting around the wooden table with gleaming eyes: hope and excitement spilling out of their irises. A group forms as names and stories are shared. Quirks begin to show, personalities bump and slide against one another, feeling it out. Lines are drawn between some or lines bind two spirits. It wasn’t difficult to face that these people would become family, no matter what challenges were faced on the trip and outside of it, the connections would stay alive even if only in our hearts. I shared my true self with ease when connecting with others, not just my travel companions. Each individual you meet along the way brings out a piece of you to share with others.

Unless you’re living in the wild it becomes effortless to forget the power our earth holds. Throughout the entire journey we were surrounded by gorgeous BC landscapes. Huge trees swayed above us giving in to the wind, or they sat still along the river valley, looming on untouched mountains. Not to forget the seemingly small things that have a huge impact. Little bugs smaller than a letter on this post, all part of an eco-system, playing their role to keep it alive. The intricate systems of life forms always connect to one another. In the middle of the trip while in the Fraser Canyon, my team mates went off in separate directions to immerse ourselves in nature for 5 hours. I had never felt so alive as I did during that day. I stood on top of a jutting rock, letting wild blow through my hair and across my naked skin, heeding my instincts. When it was time to visit the river, I went. I bathed in the water and rubbed wet sand on my burning skin. It was 5 hours of complete serenity, the energy of the earth took my swarming thoughts from the clouds, sent them into the breeze and re-grounded my mind and soul.

That moment stayed with me for the entirety of the trip. I had joined the program to meet individuals who were passionate about the same issues as me but the person I connected with the most was myself. Attributes that had been buried inside began to shine through me. My awareness of others’ energies and my own around me improved dramatically. I felt the strongest I had in a long, long time. Most importantly, I felt happy. In every moment, I was happy to be in that moment. I didn’t wish for anything else. I knew myself better than ever and had developed an understanding of what others saw and felt when they looked into my eyes. Even now, more than a month later I’m trying to keep the lessons I learned from slipping through my fingers.

Travelling down the Fraser River has changed the way I view my life – the life of human beings on this planet. There is so much more to this life than most of us acknowledge on a day to day basis. You can feel what is missing when you submerse yourself in the wild.

Journal Exerts

MountRobson
Today was the beginning. The beginning of a journey down the river that will open my heart, my eyes and my soul. I know after today that I am supposed to be here. All of the individuals on this trip will contribute towards me growing and planning for a future without environmental destruction.” – July 14th. Day 1
Viking Camp Sky
My animal card this morning was an eagle. It said connect with spirit, feel the freedom found in oneness, let your spirit soar!” – July 17th. Day 4
"After we shared project ideas, it began to pour rain. I took the lead spot in the canoe and accidentally forgot my rain resistant jacket. I didn't realize it at the time but I lead our team through a complete down pour of rain without stopping, singing almost the entire time before stopping for a lunch break... I motivated the entire team and brought us through the rain. While paddling I saw many herons, giving me the strength of the earth to push through the soreness in my body. I also saw 4 eagles along the river, reminding me to be bold in my leadership and to be perceptive." - July 18. Day 5
After we shared project ideas, it began to pour rain. I took the lead spot in the canoe and accidentally forgot my rain resistant jacket. I didn’t realize it at the time but I lead our team through a complete down pour of rain without stopping, singing almost the entire time before stopping for a lunch break… I motivated the entire team and brought us through the rain. While paddling I saw many herons, giving me the strength of the earth to push through the soreness in my body. I also saw 4 eagles along the river, reminding me to be bold in my leadership and to be perceptive.” – July 18. Day 5
Goat River Team
Each day brings me closer to these beautiful people, they feel just like family.” – July 20. Day 7
Ancient Forest
In the morning Roy and Alex from the Fraser Head-water’s Alliance came to visit us and talk about their work. A historic trail runs from the Goat River site all the way to Barkerville, passing through the Bowron Lakes on the way. It’s amazing they are the only ones servicing the trail and ensuring that the area is kept safe. All of that work put in by the last generation of fighters will go to waste if it is not continued. The entire army of companies waits to roll in on the resources that will make their money. That’s all it’s really about, fighting against the system that domesticated us which focuses on wealth, not health.” – July 21. Day 8
"I thought the Trudeau government was supposed to be actually DOING something about the environment, but instead it's a whole lot of talking. How are we ever going to make the switch to clean energy if we never do anything that forces industry to start the switch? Why does it have to be so complicated? Government policy has become so complicated that people are discouraged to make change and participate before they even begin." - July 23. Day 10
“I thought the Trudeau government was supposed to be actually DOING something about the environment, but instead it’s a whole lot of talking. How are we ever going to make the switch to clean energy if we never do anything that forces industry to start the switch? Why does it have to be so complicated? Government policy has become so complicated that people are discouraged to make change and participate before they even begin.”   – July 23. Day 10
"I wandered off to a rock jutting out of the landscape. I didn't bring anything, just me sitting down on this cliff starting out at the river. I let go of the thoughts spinning in my head and tried not to reflect but to live in the now. I waited until I was completely at peace in that spot, then wandered to the water below, using my feet to make a beat and singing to myself...This is what is in front of me, this is what I'm okay with worshiping and believing in. I believe in the landscape, the water and the beings right in front of me." - July 28. Day 15
I wandered off to a rock jutting out of the landscape. I didn’t bring anything, just me sitting down on this cliff starting out at the river. I let go of the thoughts spinning in my head and tried not to reflect but to live in the now. I waited until I was completely at peace in that spot, then wandered to the water below, using my feet to make a beat and singing to myself…This is what is in front of me, this is what I’m okay with worshiping and believing in. I believe in the landscape, the water and the beings right in front of me.” – July 28. Day 15
"Right now our group is the only one in tents on this campsite. They say they love nature as they let the generator for their motorhome run all night have have a motor boat for fishing parked along the sand. They say they love the beauty of it but won't wander outside of their trailer spots and really take it in." - August 2. Day 20
Right now our group is the only one in tents on this campsite. They say they love nature as they let the generator for their motorhome run all night have have a motor boat for fishing parked along the sand. They say they love the beauty of it but won’t wander outside of their trailer spots and really take it in.” – August 2. Day 2

“Learn to let go of the last chapter in your life, and to embrace the new one. You cannot fully embrace the new if you’re holding on to the old.”  – Orion Radies

Thank you to Simon Zukowski, Oliver Berger and David Tracey for some of the photos here and thank you again to the Rivershed Society of BC for making it possible to go on this life changing journey.

Megan Rempel

To see the original blog post visit Low Tides.

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