The Journal of Canadian

Wilderness Canoeing

  WINTER 2003

PAGE 7

OUTFIT 111
 

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In this issue

Front Page

Expeditions

Winter Packet

Canoesworthy

From the Editor

Canoelit I

Canoelit II

Back page

 

 

From the Editor

 

The latest Wilderness Symposium (see Winter Packet) despite its obvious success had some strange shadows of death pass across its face.

On January 31, the first day of the two-day slide fest, one of its longtime attendees, a former presenter and a dedicated Che-Mun subscriber Paul Barsevskis passed away after a courageous battle against leukemia at the age of 52.

Paul and wife Lyn were regular attendees at the symposium and we had met there every year since the first one in 1986. Our deepest sympathies go to Lyn and sons Mark and Peter.

On Saturday February 1, ripples of news about the Shuttle disaster went through the disbelieving crowd and even later we all learned of the seven young Alberta private school students who died in an avalanche while pursuing the outdoor sport they loved - skiing in Glacier Park, B.C.

The challenge of potentially dangerous outdoor sports is a bafflement to many. What’s the point?, they often ask. To those of us who do take those chances beyond the normal, the rewards are not hard to figure out. Better to go in the backcountry doing what you love than on a crowded highway.

Fate, it seems, has the number of many of us, but it is the vast minority. And we must life life to the fullest, while not disregarding common sense rules and preparations.

A famed member of The Voyageurs paddling group of the 50s and 60s, Blair Fraser, had always said if he had a choice of how to go, it would be at the end of the last run of the day at Mt Tremblant, the famous Quebec ski resort.

He ended up perishing while canoeing with his friends on a river that he loved, in May 1968 at Rollway Rapids on the Petawawa River. The bronze cross that bears his name, erected by The Voyageurs, reminds all those who travel this Algonquin Park river of Blair and his fellow paddlers.

It serves, too, as a reminder of the inherent dangers in canoeing wild rivers. But it also stands as a beacon; to a man who lived his life celebrating the natural wonders of the country he loved. Wilderness travellers share that sentiment, feel that love and breathe it in deeply every chance they can get. Because . . . it doesn’t last forever.

                                       Michael Peake

 Winter 2003         Outfit 111 

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