The Joy of Remoteness

Morning Calm in Raitt Narrows

KJ and I spend a lot of time paddling in Indian Arm, a 25-km-long fjord in North Vancouver. Though much of it is lined with homes, some accessible by water only, we enjoy paddling along it, but rue the plethora of motor boats and their wakes and loud music, the yachts and the thumping sound from their diesel engines that can resound for many kilometres, and even worse, whiny seadoos. To avoid that, we avoid summer weekends and paddle early in the morning during the week.

Though nowhere we’ve been is as congested as Indian Arm, we have still seen many boats and people everywhere we’ve paddled. Even in the absence of boats and homes, human presence is often marked by the scars of logging clearcuts on surrounding mountainsides.

The Inside Passage was a welcome relief. We were alone at four campsites and spent much of two other days all alone. In 12 days, we only saw two buildings, both on Calvert Island (Hakai Fishing Lodge and Hakai Research Institute), very few boats, no ships or barges, no roads, not a single kayaker on the water while we were paddling and not a single clearcut.

Dawn at Hose Point

To some, not seeing or being around people for a few days is discomforting. To me, being in a place seemingly untouched by humans makes the smallest creature or tiniest grain of sand appear bigger and more significant than the tallest skyscraper, and a breath of wind in the trees sounds more impressive than a thousand honking car horns. Remoteness reminds me of my place on Earth and the awesome power of nature.

Those are the joys of wilderness.

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