I have taught the ways of the wilderness for well over thirty years and have authored a novel which dives deep into the shadows that follow you as you traverse wilderness trails. It is my hope to reach as many people as possible to tell everyone that the wilderness is not a place to be wary of. It is the only place where a person can dig deep into their soul and find that which is hidden to them by modern day society.
~ R.G. Wright - Hawks Shadow

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

What's under your canoe? The underwater world of a woodland pond. Part one.

Woodland ponds are an integral part of any forest ecosystem. Thousands of creatures live in, on and around these bodies of water. 

The transition from winter to spring is slow but dramatic. The previous years vegetation begins to decay over the cold winter months. Frogs and turtles dig into the detritus and mud on the bottom of the pond and enter a state of metabolism which mimics death. 

Otters, beavers and muskrats hunt and forage throughout the entire winter as deer, wolves and a myriad of other land mammals leave their tracks on the snow covered pond ice. 

As the ice melts, and sunlight once again penetrates into the depths of the pond; life awakens slowly to the gentle touch of the sun. 

This video is a short underwater exploration of a small woodland pond showing the difference between winter and mid spring. 

Fascinated by the process of renewal in natural ecosystems, I plan to film the pond in the same fashion each month until ice once again covers the pond's surface.  


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Otters and more on the Tim River

Way back in August of 2015, my son and I planned a trip which would take us down the Tim River in Algonquin park. 

The main purpose of this trip was to do research for my book. I had to gain a first person perspective on the route my protagonist would take on his fateful journey. 

We connected with the river via the portage from Queer Lake. Debris dams and beaver dams were brutal for the first two kilometers, this forced us to load and unload our canoe many times before finally reaching navigable

The river bends and twists as it flows to Shippagew Lake, so much so, that I swear your compass will get dizzy.

If you decide to tackle the Tim, give yourself at least seven hours, yep, 7 hrs, to make the run from the falls to Shippagew Lake. 

This video highlights small portions of the river as it was back in 2015. 

Happy Paddling! 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Quiet thoughts

 I spend much of my free time wandering through the woods. It's within the forests embrace that I can re-connect to the real world. I shed the encumbrances of social engineering and return to simple thoughts which lead me to a place of belonging. 

Shelters, such as the one shown in this video, give us a place to hang our hat so to speak. If the shelter is placed in a strategic position on your trail system, it becomes a place where you can relax and settle in for a light meal. 

I vocalize my thoughts as I carry on with simple camp tasks such as sharpening my knife and tending to the fire. 

Please remember to place your shelter in an area where it will not disrupt the flow of wildlife. The shelter in this video is totally portable. Within a few hours I can move it to another location if I feel it is affecting the flora and fauna in the area. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Why read "A Long Paddle Home?" An interview

 Upon the launch of my book, "A Long Paddle Home", I reached out to Canoe FM in Haliburton Ontario to determine if they would entertain doing and interview with me to promote the Book. 

I was elated when I received a call from Mike Jaycock who is a host at the station. He suggested I send him a copy of the book for his approval. 

This video contains a short clip of the interview. I have coupled the interview with videos of the area which is the book's stage.  

This book is more than a work of fiction. My editor had no idea how to "peg" it. Fiction, love story, mystical, spiritual and a host of other genres crossed her mind. We settled on fiction simply because the names and some of the events have been altered. 

I have divulged some deep secrets about our natural world within the text, hence my reluctance to promote the book too much. These secrets will be seen as a mere flight of fancy or ridiculous. I counter those arguments by asking, "Why are you afraid of the woods?" 

This book is a deep dive into the heart of the wilderness, it will take you on a journey where you will meet something which has always been, yet never seen. 

My wish is to open peoples eyes to the possibility that there are things which simply can't be explained by logic and social engineering. 

More snips of the interview will follow. 

If you have read this book, and have questions or comments, please feel free to ask. 

To Mike Jaycock and all the people at Canoe FM, Thank you. 


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Testing out a Kick Sled. These sleds are a big deal in Norway.

 This kick sled was purchased at a garage sale. I modified it by adding wood runners and plastic slides for use with my sled dogs. The unit worked perfectly and covered many silent miles while my dogs and I traversed the lakes and forests of Algonquin. 

Several years ago, my constant companions passed away, I placed the sled in my barn and didn't give it another thought. I suppose I missed my dogs so much I didn't want to use it. 

With the recent melting of snow, the ice conditions on the pond were perfect. I decided to try the old sled out; this time, the way it was intended to be used. 

All I can say is that I should have thought of this much sooner than this present moment. These sleds are fun and if the ice conditions are right - they are fast.

The unit shown in this video was made by a company called Rapp. The model is Tarzan. (no joke, really, it's called Tarzan.) I don't know the year it was made but it's vintage for sure. 

There are several companies that manufacture modern kick sleds with customizable accessories and colors. 

If skates aren't your thing but you want to get onto the ice, check one of these sleds out. 

Have fun. 


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Canoe Tripping - What to expect

 Canoe tripping is an experience which has to be lived to be understood. 

A canoe trip can be a simple drop and plop. This is when you park your car, load your canoe with your gear, paddle to a campsite on the same lake. This type of trip is great if you need some respite from everyday life and you want to "melt" into the landscape for several days of relaxation and rest.  

Canoe tripping; however, is a strenuous ordeal which requires planning and skill to execute effectively. I have seen people reduced to tears on a well planned trip. The reasons vary but inevitably the "tears" are the result of the persons expectations not meeting the reality of the situation. 

Some people have the Hollywood or YouTube idea of tripping in their mind when they plan a journey through the lakes and woods. They envision soft gentle clouds dancing across a blue sky and calm gentle waters upon which their canoe glides. The portage trails are relatively flat with gentle undulations in ground elevations. Torrents of mosquitoes and blackflies don't enter the theatre through which their mind is wandering.  

Canoe tripping has some of those elements; however, I can guarantee the bugs will take part in your trip; unless your trip is booked when the temperature is below 10 degrees. I can guarantee the portage trails will test your resolve. After walking the second 1,000 Meter portage you will ask yourself; "Why the heck did I pack all this junk?"
I can assure you that the wind will try to push you back to where you started and halfway through your adventure you will vow to never to do it again.

Experienced trippers know this simple truth and yet we plan our trips as soon as our tents and gear are stowed for the winter.

Tripping takes skill and patience, it takes courage and tenacity to complete a trip of extended distances. It will teach you everything you need to know about yourself. Your strengths and shortfalls will be highlighted by the trials and tribulations of a long canoe trip.  

When you plan a trip, add at least 20% onto your estimated time. Plan and then plan again. Expect rain and wind. Leave the YouTube versions of tripping on your computer. 

When your gear is packed, unpack it and pack it again leaving out the unnecessary items which are simply useless. Remember, wet gear can weigh five times the weight of dry gear therefore pack all clothing in dry bags and ensure your pack is water tight. 

When you launch your canoe onto the first leg of your trip, smile and draw the fresh forest air deep into your lungs. Dig your paddle deep into the water and pull your boat up to speed. Leave all your expectations and trepidations behind you in your canoe's wake. Every stroke of the paddle from that point on will be one of discovery and adventure. 

Happy Canoeing Everyone! 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

How to use a stick to find your way in the woods

 I have led hundreds of hikes through wilderness and urban forests. I usually stop mid-hike and ask people to point in the direction from where they came. In other words, I ask them in what direction do we walk to return to their cars. 

It's funny when fingers start pointing in every direction and people suddenly realize that they have no clue as to where they are. 

Observation is the key to knowing your whereabouts out here. The average person will begin to veer off course within a half a kilometer, this is simply due to the fact of being left handed or right handed. If you are right handed, your right leg is usually stronger; therefore it will support your weight longer than your left leg giving you a longer stride on your left side. Confusing? Simply put, you will begin to circle right or left dependent upon your dominant side. 

In this video I show how to use the arc of the Sun to determine the North, South, East and West quadrants.  

The process is easy and will allow you to discern where you are in relation to where you have been. 

If you have ever been turned around while hiking, you know it is a scary feeling. Many emotions rise up slowly and begin to engulf you in a wave of panic. Simple tricks like this will allow you peace of mind while you traverse the wonder that is the wilderness. 

Happy Wandering. 

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