There is something quintessentially human about finding communion with nature. The anonymity found amongst the masses can leave us feeling unheard and isolated by the daily crush of society. As the majority of us live in cities, by design, it’s fascinating that we need to escape the throngs of people to find connection; be it with a select group or on solo trips. Here in Canada, the summers are the perfect time to recharge, with vast swaths of land from the Mi'kma'ki on the East Coast to that of the Quatsino in the west, there is no shortage of swimming holes and forested hideaways to pitch a tent and get back in touch with ourselves. 

Sometimes we’ve just got to roll with it. Having a couple bikes in the crew breakdown before heading out on Liǧʷiłdax̌ʷ and Xwémalhkwu (Homalco) territories,* an area now also known as Strathcona Park, just outside of Campbell River, B.C., I decided to go it alone. Finding myself alone in the woods isn’t a new experience for me but always brings equal parts excitement and anxiety. The thrill of taking new roads through unknown turns sits atop the unease of having half-baked plans. Not knowing where I will find a safe spot to set up camp is overshadowed by the ultimate sense of adventure.

Having found that sequestered spot off the highway or down a logging road, camp is set as the sun drops behind forested mountains, lush with endless hues of green against the darkening cobalt sky. There’s no campfires as mandated by the fire bans and on this particular occasion, no friends to banter and laugh with through the night. Just a journal, a giant knife (just in case!) and a bag of M&M's to keep my mind at ease.

Knowing that I’ve only dipped my toe into the abundance of cutbacks, twists, and riverside coffee stops that lay ahead of me, I’m eager to crawl into my tent. Exhaustion and knowing the smell of the first cup of coffee as it percolates in the morning are enough to bring my head to the pillow. The coming day brings a promise of new adventure.

Photo Credit & Words: Michael Farley (@the_boring_glory)


*These territories are the lands of Liǧʷiłdax̌ʷ Nations including Wei Wai Kum, Wei Wai Kai, and Kwikiah Nations, Xwémalhkwu (Homalco) peoples including K’ómoks (Sathloot, Sasitla, Leeksen, Ieeksen, and Xa'xe) and Pentlatch and Klahoose Nations, and an area also recognized as proposed Laich-Kwil-Tach Treaty lands.

Michael Farley