Outward Bound K89 1978 Keremeos, B.C.

I’ve written about this magic before, so I won’t use words, but to say that recently I took some old slides to be converted digitally. They really didn’t process well…so much dust, scratches and such, but I am excited to have an archive of these. The summer of 1978. In April of 1979, I would be holding my first born in my arms. What a journey!

Training phase, in camp, involved rope obstacles, wall climbing, jumping pillars, 6 a.m. swims, running through arid cactus-riddled landscape.

Busing to locations for skill delivery/practice like advanced river crossings, rock climbing and mountain rescue as well as first aid…

I don’t have a single photo archived as it relates to three days white water kayaking on the river.

First hikes and orienteering sessions, mountaineering, minimalist camping/food preparation in preparation for our 11 days, without instructors…

Could this have been Apex? I wish that I had kept journals of actual locations and such…instead, I remember I wrote a lot about my internal landscape instead.

Out on our own, followed by three day solo.

Ladyslipper Lake in the depths of Cathedral Provincial park.

I caught a fish in this lake and we cooked it for dinner on one of our makeshift hibachis. I remember how flavourful it was after multiple days out on the trail, with no fresh food. We sheltered under sheets of plastic, light weight and quick install, sometimes the entire group of us laying on top of ground sheets.

Three days solo…left in a spot on our own with our sheet of plastic, a journal, a sleeping bag…three lemon candies.

This is Liz, our advanced instructor and a very accomplished mountain climber. Since 1978, I’ve wanted to reconnect with her, but didn’t know her last name. Sad, I know, but true.

This is a photo, along with one or two others, that someone in my group shared with me. I never had any other contact with my group members after the course, and I have no idea where my record of contact went after the program. Pregnant, shortly after Outward Bound, trust me, I had bigger fish to fry.

I’ve recently located an Alumni group and I’m looking to reconnect with the other nine people from across Canada who shared this experience with me. That was the motivation for having my strangely formatted slide film digitalized. My apologies for the excruciating condition…the dust. I’m just so happy to have the images collected and presented in one place, with only one image missing…we’ll see if it surfaces.

Adam’s River Salmon Run 2018

I headed out on the ninth of October on a bad-weather day, first to meet up with friends and next, to drive early-morning to the Adam’s River, north west of Sorrento in British Columbia.  Days have passed and I’ve been unable to sit down in order to write a post.  I’ve asked myself, ‘Why the hesitation?’  To some degree, I feel like my words can never contain the powerful meaning this experience had for me.  While the numbers of returning Sockeye did not match predictions at the time, given that 2018 is a ‘bumper’ year, it didn’t matter to me.  I have spent half of my lifetime wanting to be a witness to this journey and with all that is impacting various species globally in the present, I jumped at the chance to go.

I wish to contain the archive of this experience on my blog.  However, I will note right from the beginning, that there are no words for the experience of standing on rounded river stones and looking out to see the brilliant red backbones of so many fish, struggling against current, with an instinct that insists somehow that they must go home.

To begin…a short video.

On the evening before my firstborn’s wedding day, family members gathered in my studio…not all at once, but a few at a time.  My brother Cliff owns and operates a salmon charter business out of Comox, British Columbia.  His company is called Cliff’s Chinook Charters.  More than anyone, he has taught me about salmon populations and what variables contribute to a healthy population.

My brother wrote a piece that he called, The Salmon’s Plight onto my studio wall.  These words have been embedded in a few different paintings over the years since and every time I read them, I cry a little…for the memory of the salmon and for the memory of my brother.  Given our family’s military history, we live in every part of our great nation.  I miss my brother very much.


I was blessed to ride along with Cliff and catch a couple of fish with him, my father and my daughter.  It goes down as one of the most beautiful times of my life.




Bad road conditions took us all the way to Lake Louise and then it seemed that the skies opened up and the mountains became crisp against a light grey sky.  Gratefully, Pat shared oatmeal cookies that were so buttery that they melted in my mouth. After a stop in Golden to enjoy our packed lunch of turkey sandwiches and garden carrots, we were off, on the last leg of the journey.

We headed immediately for the Adam’s River Salmon run.

Adam's River

At this point, I’ve decided to post some photographs…if I write anything at all, it will be heartfelt.  Years ago, having completed a 30 day Outward Bound course, I accepted myself as the artist in the group…that person who was taking in the sensory experiences, but not necessarily bound to the physical achievements and the orienteering.  My head was in the clouds.  Consistent to that, I was completely plugged in to this earthy, fishy, visual encounter with these amazing salmon during their upward surge.

I highly recommend CLICKING on some of the images of the salmon…they are just so absolutely beautiful…powerful…mesmerizing.




Pacific Salmon

We stayed that night in a local Bed and Breakfast in Chase.  I highly recommend the Sunny Shuswap B & B.  This was breakfast!


We checked out and headed right back to the Adam’s River.





Poems to follow…I need to head out with Max.  I am blessed for having had the opportunity to see the salmon run 2018. Grateful.



Herald Nix…Alone on the Stage

Such a different flavour of music last evening compared with the music enjoyed some years back at the HiFi Club.  I really got a better sense of Herald’s writing and musicality.  This was an excellent night!


Thanks to my beautiful sister-friend and cousin, Margy, for being my passenger in a blizzard on Deerfoot…just so that she could share in my love of Herald Nix’s music.

Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

Here’s a wee clip I captured…

And…here it is again.

My new cd…

P1090325 P1090329

Youth: Outward Bound Mountaineering School in Keremeos, B.C.

Crevasse Crossing

I’ve been sorting through stuff.  This afternoon, I was looking for a missive I had written some years back about the Woolen Mill and finally found it.  Interspersed with ‘stuff’ was this photo and I have to say that it represents one of those moments that I will always think of as ‘magical’.

I trained for a year to be ready for Outward Bound, this particular 30 day course in 1974, outside of Keremeos B.C…it was my first year of teaching and I submitted my application at the beginning of the year.  By June, I was running ten miles in hiking boots and was in my personal top form.  This was 31 years ago!

The photograph represents one of my ‘hang-ups’.  Everyone, in 30 days, had some sort of hang-up and this was mine!  The crossing involved dropping forward, across a wide open abyss 500 feet straight down…reaching out my hands to grab onto the rock wall and then, using core strength, bringing my body across.  Of course, I was on belay, but the rope didn’t give me the confidence that I needed to REACH OUT and DROP FORWARD, not for ten slow and agonizing minutes.  My toes clung to the inside of my hiking boots.  I remember the feeling as though it was yesterday.  As Liz called out, “Drop forward, but don’t look down!”, what do you think I did?  Uh huh!  Well, in the end…someone took a shot of the moment and I’m so grateful that they did!  For me, it was momentus!

A long while ago, I had someone print a photo from the slide that was shared with me and so you see the imperfections…but there was no way that any of us had the capacity and equipment to take and edit zillions of digital shots along the way…not ‘in the day’.  I am so grateful to have this simple reminder of a day shared with nine other Canadians atop a beautiful mountain.

‘Not I, nor anyone else, can travel that road for you. You must travel it for yourself’ 
Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

Herald Nix

This guy’s art & music will amaze you!  I had the opportunity to stay in the Heritage Home he had been refurbishing in Salmon Arm some years back.  I had the chance to see his painted boards in his studio space, one at a time under nice light.  I was able to hear him play guitar out on his back deck in the evening time.

I like the ‘edge’ to his music…

“One hundred years from now, when musicologists attempt to trace the origins of British Columbia’s lake-country blues, there’s one salient moment they’ll be able to point to: the day Herald Nix, loaded his battered amplifier, his equally well-worn guitars, and a few dusty suits into the back of his old panel truck and headed east from Vancouver, back to Salmon Arm.

Nix was already almost a legend then, a shadowy figure noted for thrillingly intense concerts, sudden disappearances, and a handful of fitfully brilliant recordings. Now he vanished again, into the center of B.C.’s lush yet sun-baked Interior, whose rounded curves and rocky promontories have since seeped into his music , joining trace elements of Son House and Mississippi Fred McDowell, Hank Williams and the Jimmie Rodgers.

The sound and the land, the land and the sound: inseparable now, they bring strength and dignity to Nix’s music in a way that, in the English-speaking world, is rarely found outside of the southern United States. Like Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel and very few other Northerners, Nix has become an honest bluesman, his lake-country sound a Canadian parallel to the hill-country music of the Mississippi Delta.

The comparison is not at all far-fetched. Like the hill country’s late champions Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside, Nix can hammer on a single chord all day while still holding the listener’s attention with subtle inflections of tone and timing. Like them, he’ll rework a song according to how he feels, and these themes grow in emotional impact every time they’re recorded. And like them he writes obsessively about women , about moving on, about hotel fires and bad decisions, liquor drunk and money gambled away.

But he’s no copyist, and no revivalist. That lake-country water is in his veins, keeping him true to himself and to the land where he was raised. He’s on the road from being a Canadian eccentric to being a Canadian pioneer, on the cusp of inventing a new musical idiom. The lake-country blues start here, but who knows how or when they’ll end?”

                                             — Alexander Varty