For two weeks our group of intrepid adventurers paddled through the stunning natural splendor of Clayoquat Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

It’s difficult to describe the appreciation I felt (and still feel) for this majestic landscape. There were rolling forested mountains filling the horizon in every direction; and abundant wildlife like seals, porpoises and eagles keeping us constantly on the lookout.

catface ridge milties beach CCC mountain ocean sea
Catface Ridge as seen from Milties beach.

As we neared the halfway point of the expedition we reached the furthest campsite from our launch point — a peaceful crescent sand beach called Halfmoon Bay, where we would all get the chance to spend a night solo-camping in tarp shelters. It was here, in the presence nature and in the absence of all else, that I felt an enveloping sense of tranquility and clarity. Providing the inspiration for my journal entry that evening; The Gift of Expedition.

“There is a certain calming exhilaration that comes from the simplicity and even obscurity of an expedition. I do not know the time, I just know the sun has risen. I do not know the day, I just know it is a good day to be alive. On expedition, in some remote location tucked away from the eyes of the world, something special happens to those brave enough and curious enough to venture into the great beyond. That need for control and order is surrendered to the eternal cycles that nature effortlessly provides. The sun rises and falls, the tides come and go, and life goes on. The worries and tribulations you brought with you melt away. Providing a greater sense of inner peace and an amplified ability to appreciate the simple wonders of life that often go unnoticed. Because when the only time that matters is now, the everyday can suddenly appear extraordinary. A miracle in its own right.

ccc yoga beach sunrise
Evening yoga on Catface Ridge beach.

But the true gift for these adventurous souls is not the expedition itself. It is being able to take the lessons and wisdom from those experiences and share them with others. Igniting the flames of curiosity and courage in another soul; so that they too may desire to experience their own journey of discovery and enlightenment. And hopefully, through these means- like the repeated refrains in nature- the cycle will continue. Creating a better world for all to inhabit. This, is the true gift of expedition.

CCC group 3
Back to civilization — Grice Bay.

For this experience I am incredibly thankful. Firstly to our amazing guides Dave and Adelia; whose skill, knowledge and positivity made this the experience of a lifetime for me. Secondly, to my CCC Tri-Pod family; for sticking together through thick and thin to overcome any challenge that confronted us. The strength, courage and spirit they demonstrated on this expedition was just as magnificent and inspiring as the landscape we explored together. And finally, to the Canadian Conservation Corps program and the staff who make it possible. Not only for providing young Canadians with wilderness expedition opportunities like these, but also for encouraging us to share these experiences with others in the hopes of creating a better world. A model I wholeheartedly believe in.

Learn more about Canadian Conservation Corps.