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.

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