A Grown-Up Camp Wimp and Lessons from the Canadian Wilderness

I’m forever grateful my parents had the adventurous spirits to get us out of Chicagoland and discover the world through the National Parks.  We “camped” in a BIG motor home. Like, we had a lot of beds.  And a large shower, full kitchen with built-in coffee maker, multiple TVs, you get the idea…And one time, when it got too hot in August at Mammoth Cave National Park, we promptly escaped our reservation and checked into a local hotel.  Imagine a family of five classily trucking our clothes in grocery bags from motor home to hotel room.  That night, we deemed ourselves what tenters everywhere had been calling us all along: “Camp Wimps.”

The truth is, my childhood opened the door to an adulthood of exploration.  Stepping onto a trail is familiar territory.

Last year, friends and I backpacked Lake Superior Provincial Park.  Check out those scenes here and here.  This year, only my friend Rachel could go, so we decided upon a different adventure- take the kayaks and stay at Agawa Bay Campground on the water.  It was another glorious way to explore the Canadian wilderness.

What I learn in Canada each year is this: around every bend in the trail I’m hiking, or section of the lake I’m paddling, there’s going to be something even more breathtaking than I just saw.  Go expecting.

Which begs a question for my life back in the good ‘ol USA.  Why do I not LIVE EXPECTING?  It seems so clear, so easy, when I’m in the wilderness.

God, the creator of all that splendor, wants to give us such good things. He has such spectacular things around the bend.  And then the next one.  And the next one.  How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.  Psalm 31:19

Oh, and, sometimes, Canada is challenging.  Hiking straight up (or worse for me- a flat, boring trail) with no view is hard.  You don’t have those constant visual reminders of God’s power.  This parallels real life so well. But what do you do on a trail?  You just keep hiking.  Sometimes, you even speed up with more determination.  You don’t really think about doing something different.  And you don’t complain because you know that with the the mundane comes the thrilling.  It’s all going to be worth it.   And then, when you’re least expecting it, the view takes your breath away.  More than you ever hoped.

As I look back, I think maybe, just maybe, the best part of Canada wasn’t experiencing  summits or the breathtaking views around the turns.  The prize was what I learned step by step.

One thought on “A Grown-Up Camp Wimp and Lessons from the Canadian Wilderness

  1. Oh how I love the northern Ontario wilderness. Makes me wish I was there. But hey wait, I’ll be thre in 2 1/2 weeks. Now that I’m thinking about it- thanks April for assuring the next days of mine go real sloooooow.

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