The Wilderness


This Grand Adventure has us in a wilderness, places with no internet and very spotty phone service, so blog posts will be posted when I can.

This wildness we are in is ancient. There are signs that many have tried to civilize it, or at least take advantage of it, but the wild, so far survives. There are “scars upon the land” (John Denver), but the vast ruggedness heals itself. These mountains are rocks with trees that can grow on the tiny bits of soil that can cling to rocks.

I thought we’d entered the wilderness in the Gorge at Cortez Island. After all, we’d passed abandoned logging operations and a single, tall, white chimney visible from mid-channel. We weren’t sure what it had been, but it was just a relic when we passed. The wilds had taken it back. We’d moved away from the Sunshine Coast and on to the north.

We had crept through a tiny opening to Gorge Harbor Marina into a little bay. The place reminded me of lodges I’d been to in the forests of Oregon – red buildings, a little store, a laundry and a restaurant along a steep path. They had to charge for garbage because it had to be barged out, so we paid ahead of time and left our garage by the boat. Roughing it was easy! We did our laundry, played boule on the lawn, and the guys went crabbing in our dinghy.

Then we moved on, deeper into the wildness.

Kwatsi has a funny name and is truely wilderness. When moored, at our our bow was a raft of sorts built with logs and parts of various decking pieces. Tall yellow plants would be called weeds anywhere else but on that little piece of dock sheltered a Blue Heron who’d found a home among them. Herons nest in trees, but they should be able to have a special spot to sit and watch the crazy humans who float in on noisy logs made mostly of white shiney stuff never before seen in the natural world.

Part of the wildness came from the fact that OSHA had no power over the local marina owners. Often big gaps lay between sections of dock, gaps that go directly to the wood and seaweed-filled water. Pieces of wood are sometimes provided as a little bridge for the short legged, leaping-challenged boaters, sometimes not.

I love it that we are trusted to survive, on our own, these little impediments.

Logs are everywhere in the water. It’s up to the boaters to avoid them though we had one marina owner take a skiff out and steer a particularly large one to the far shore so our little fleet could dock. The log was back in the morning.

Small mountains too rugged to be called hills formed a partial bowl around us at Kwatsi. Each was shaped differently but all were covered by evergreen, cedars and hemlock mostly. Some, sadly, were dying because of a deadly lichen that seems to be spreading in this area. Maybe it was brought in by humans; maybe it’s just nature’s way of culling. Here, nature wins.

Moonless nights are dark. Electricity comes from generators and lights are amenities not often provided. It makes dock-walking dangerous but also makes the night sky eerily beautiful. This is night as it was for the original inhabitants and early explorers. Clouds or mist often obscure the sky, so we sleep well in a cocoon of mist and dark shadows.


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