July 3 – Flying Out to Mereworth
I was a little nervous about my upcoming trip but luckily I had two months of experience from the previous year to go by. I imagine if you were starting from scratch from here it would be a tad more intimidating.
We crossed Queen Charlotte Strait and moved over the mainland. There are many lakes and inlets here and it is easy to lose track of where you are in the labyrinth below.
We took off the same way we landed and circled around to get height to cross the mountains as we headed northwards towards my destination. The other passenger was a sailboat cruiser on vacation from the UK, coming along for the sightseeing ride. Luckily for him we were going through some beautiful country to get me to my dropoff point.
After getting my stuff organized a little bit, I noticed that my maps case was missing. I left it on the plane ! I had it with me in the seat so I could see where I was but when landing I put it on the floor, and in all the excitement I forgot it. Not a major problem as I had a new GPS with loaded maps, as well as Google Earth on my computer. Plus I knew the terrain well from studying it intensely beforehand.
The weather wasn’t too bad but it was threatening to rain with a bit of light drizzle, intermittent with sunny patches — typical unsettled weather. I knew someone was out in the bush because there were fresh tire tracks in the mud since the last big rain yesterday. So I sat on the dock and waited, with bugs flying around.
I watched a bumblebee on some clover in a crack of the dock and had another philosophical moment with nature. I mused about how the nature we see in cities is the same nature you get out in wilderness. Same bees, same clovers, same hummingbirds and dragonflies. There’s just more of it out here, and more variety. We are all part of the same thing, this amazing biosphere, the result of 4 billion years of progression of life on earth, the miracle that life is. Call it God, evolution, Bodh, whatever you will; it’s amazing. At heart I’m a scientist and far from taking away my wonder towards the world, analyzing things scientifically only strengthens the wonder. When you learn about how complex even the simplest bacteria or pond algae is, it’s hard to thereafter look down upon pond scum! The more questions science answers, the more questions it raises. There is ample room for spirituality within science. In fact science in no way precludes spirituality; believe it or not, the scientific method was actually founded upon it! Many people equate science with reductionism, determinism. And while that is part of the scientific approach, that’s not really what makes science science, and therefore people shouldn’t be turned away from it because some scientists are hardcore reductionists. I’ll write an essay about that someday when I can get my thoughts well organized enough.
I decided to grab my camera to take a photo of the bee, but then it flew off… and then the truck arrived. Two guys came down the ramp — Kevin, a long time local forester, and George, a forestry exchange student from South Africa, on his second day in the bush. Kevin noted how just that day he was telling George that soon the tourists would be arriving (presumably in their sailboats). They didn’t expect a kayaker to fly into their dock!
They invited me to stay inside their house which was very gracious. They fed me, gave me free internet and TV, and power! In return I gave George the video I took from my flight over because he hadn’t taken any video of that but he wanted to show people what it was like. They also let me use the sat phone to call Pacific Coastal and let them know I would be okay without my maps.
I also got the story on the forestry worker that was attacked by a grizzly two years before. They were working in a cutblock above the entrance to Wyclese Lagoon, and a bear had been hanging around for a few days. They ignored the warning signs and continued to come back, one day with tuna sandwiches. And for some reason they had no bear spray. Then I guess the bear decided it had had enough, and wanted their sandwiches. So it was definitely not an unprovoked or random surprise attack. That made me feel better.