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Great Bear River Canoe Trip: I Opened That Door Again

Greyling fish, NWT

In yesterday’s post, I told you about my hardest day on the trip. Today, I can tell you with a smile on my face that that day is but a distant memory. In fact, at one point in that post, I had compared a panic attack to labour. And like labour, where once you see that beautiful little face it’s hard to remember much else, so too is an adventure trek.

I needed to experience that feeling again. The discomfort that comes from doing something really worthwhile. Because when Hubby comes back from his trips and I look at his photos, I don’t seem him a rain storm or mentally pushing himself to get just one ridge higher. No, on the contrary, all I see is the intense beauty of the natural surroundings he has found himself in and a few happy grins with his good climbing mates. And neither does he ever talk about or seem to remember those moments. He really doesn’t.

But now I’ve documented my most difficult moments. I’ve done that because it’s easy to believe that only *those guys* can pull off an adventure trek. That for them, it’s easy. That for them, there is no discomfort. But that’s a lie. Everyone — no matter how fit or how “outdoorsy” — goes through challenging moments to experience the really spectacular ones.

And here’s another little secret about this 6-day canoe trek that I went on: any able-bodied person can do it. I am an average woman, of average fitness. You don’t need tons of experience. You don’t need fancy gear. You don’t even need age on your side. (I met many people canoe trekking that were 20 and even 30 years older than I am.)

All you need is to be willing to open that door and go through it. I had closed the door to my adventuring self a long time ago. But it’s nice to see her again. She might not look the same as she used to, but she’s still pretty good fun.


  1. jacqueline says:

    great post!

  2. We are all glad to hear that things improved!

    Funny enough, the first day of many of my own wonderful vacations is often filled with these same feelings of trepidation. I had never stopped to think about that..

    Looking forward to hearing more!

    • Yes, it’s true when I think about it … just going on a regular family vacation can be really stressful and tiring in preparation. It almost makes you wonder if it’s worth all the hassle. But, of course, it absolutely is! Life is for creating memories and having new experiences.

  3. Julie, I’m so glad that the second day of your adventure was much better than the first! It’s a big difference to be cramped up in a little plane, as opposed to on the wide open plains.

  4. So Brave! I see some doors that I need to open again as well…

  5. My husband would go nuts for a canoeing adventure. He’s certainly the more adventurous one between the two of us.

  6. Way to go, girl! So inspiring, Julie! I love the stories of your adventures in the north. You make me (somewhat) believe that I could do this…although my fitness regime these days leaves little to be desired, lol.

  7. I love this post. Have I told you how awesome you are? You’re an inspiration. I love your stories, love your blog, and you are one of the coolest ladies in the blogosphere. xo

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