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

Monday, January 20, 2020

This Muskrat looks sad.

Winter has settled into Algonquin Highlands with  a cascade of snow that stole in on an east wind during the night. 

I wandered past my canoe rack and for a moment, I thought the Muskrat looked forlorn, as if waiting for spring to arrive. 

As I walked through the newly painted landscape, I pondered the time distance between the present and the spring. I found myself looking into the future without being aware of the now. 

Breathing in deeply and then exhaling,  I released the future for the present and let my mind drift as my snowshoes left notes of my passage.

The forest floated by and I immersed myself into the world of the wild ones. Feeling their eyes on me, I would stop and slowly scan my surroundings. 
I did not see another creature;however, they were there.

I know of this because on my return trip, I crossed over my own tracks. Superimposed on them were the tracks of deer, mouse, fisher and red squirrel. 

I love a fresh blanket of snow, it creates a new page upon which the characters of the forest can sign their names. 

Saturday, January 11, 2020

An Alligator in Algonquin Park.

As I wander through the wilderness and stumble across an old portage trail or an artifact, I ask the following questions - who was here before me? Why were they here? What were they feeling? 

Some of the questions will never be answered. Sometimes the answers are plain to see. 

The trails are littered with evidence of those who went before us. Some of it is obvious, other evidence is camouflaged; blending into the surroundings so well that it takes a keen eye to uncover it. 

Ontario was a logger's paradise, hundreds of thousands of acres of ancient forest were pillaged by the logging barons in search of the mighty white pine. Evidence of their quest lays decaying on the forest floor in places like Algonquin Park. 

When I am canoeing in Algonquin Park, I always search for the remnants of the loggers efforts. I find it fascinating to pick up an old object such as a water pitcher or old tool and wonder - who held this?  Of course I will never know the answer, but my imagination begins to formulate ideas which are fun to ponder. 

This short video is based on one such search. 


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Slick the River Otter.

River Otters live to have fun. They seem to be tireless and will chase each other around a pond for hours. 

I watched as one family tobogganed down a snow covered embankment for over an hour. Tucking their front legs under their bodies and pushing with their hind legs they shot down the hill with great enthusiasm. 

Slick is somewhat of a loner, he likes to keep to himself but loves it when I put my canoe into the pond. He will swim under and around the boat as if coaxing me to dive in with him. He is punctual, showing up on the pond every two weeks. 

River Otters are a great indicator species. If an Otter frequents your lake or pond, you can rest assured that the quality of the habitat is good. 

No other mammal can match the agility of the Otter in the water. This clan can outmaneuver almost anything with fins, feet or paws.  

Inquisitive yet shy of humans, they will softly bark and lift their heads higher in the water to take a look at you. 

When canoeing in Algonquin and other wilderness areas, you will come across these fun loving creatures, give them room and they will entertain you with their antics. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Tellwell Publishing Presents.

The wilderness is home to me. Some of the lessons I have learned through trial and error, hunger and fear are all captured within the pages of this novel. 

Within the wilderness, there are creatures that will follow you as you traverse a forest trail. There are those that will watch as you paddle across a lake or along a river. 

Our senses are too dull to be aware of their presence. If you are quiet and introspective, you will feel their energy as it probes you. 

This book explores that feeling. The protagonist is hunted by something which is unseen and impossible, it can't exist. Or does it? 

Hunted by Wolves?

I have always been drawn to the wolf. It is something deep within me which I can not explain. 

One thing is for certain, the wolf is a polarizing animal, many people loath it, others revere it. 

I know it as a predator which has evolved to the esteemed position of protector of the wilderness. Without these canines patrolling the wild places, the balance of nature becomes chaotic. 

I have listened to their howls on many cold nights while I traverse a frozen pond or forest trail. The sound never fails to raise the hairs on my neck. 

When I hear them, I always smile. Why? Because I know the forest is still wild. 

Next time you hear them howl, let your fear drop away and open your mind. They are telling you the forest is healthy. 

And please remember - you are not on their menu. 



Face to Face with An Alien.

This smiley faced alien is actually a tree frog. There are two species which look identical - the Grey Tree Frog and the Cope's Grey Tree Frog. 

The only way to field identify these little guys is by their voices. I find it impossible to differentiate the two due to the sheer volume of sound emitted from them when the mating urge envelopes the pond.

I have to wear ear plugs when sitting or canoeing around the pond which is in front of my house. The chirping is so loud it echoes within my skull to the point where internal dialogue is almost impossible. 

Pond Life
The little frogs call out in earnest from early May to June in Algonquin Highlands, slowing to intermittent calls through to August.  

I know of one person who rented a back-hoe and buried a small seep in front of his house to erase all traces of these little creatures. I will confess to you that when I discovered this person's indiscretion - I was more vocal than any frog could be.  

These frogs live in the forest but breed in wetlands and ponds. They blend in so well - locating them can be difficult. 

When traversing forested areas and wetlands, please remember that there are smiling faces looking at you. Tread lightly and enjoy the frog's ear popping sounds as they are telling you that the area through which you travel is healthy and vibrant. 

For us forest dwellers, their calls are reassuring; informing us that everything is alright within the green world we call home.  

Happy wandering.  

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