Mountain Life–Blue Mountains drops the winter/spring 2024 issue.
In the “Fearless” issue we’re taking a close-up look at people who’ve stepped off their regular path and into the unknown, with inspirational stories and just plain ol’ fun times outside. Choose your own offbeat pursuit, then get out there and make it happen!
Some Issue Highlights:
500 Days in the Wild
When filmmaker Dianne Whelan set out to be the first person to complete the Trans Canada Trail, she was prepared for a two-year journey. But the adventure proved more arduous than her estimates. Whelan spent six full years on the trail, overcoming weather challenges and gear failures, being rescued time and again by human kindness and experiencing deep personal growth.
Mad-Dashing Through Quebec
Most of Leslie Anthony’s winter trips to Quebec revolve around alpine skiing, but this time he sought a broader palette of winter experience—a choc-a-bloc, no-minute-wasted litany of activities, accommodations, foods and beverages in which the unspoken rule was “no ski turns allowed.” Snowshoeing, dog sledding and ice-paddling, whiskey-tasting, ice-fishing and Indigenous storytelling commenced, all wedged between quick stays at ice hotels and secluded yurts.
Athlete Profile: Biathlete Malcolm McCullough
Collingwood biathlete Malcolm McCullough represented Ontario at the XXVIII Canada Games in Prince Edward Island and has now set his sights on the Winter Youth Olympic games in Gangwon, Korea—in a sport most people have never encountered.
Most photographers seek clear, crisp photos. But artist and environmentalist nicholas x bent uses intentional camera movement (ICM) to paint pictures and tell moving stories. x bent says of his work: “Each portrait of a tree, or grouping of trees or a building invites the viewer to consider its uniqueness and its place—or, put another way—its individuality.”
What To Do When the Snow Sucks?
Brown Girl Outdoor World
Not everyone was brought up in a culture of active adventure. Brown Girl Outdoor World (BGOW) provides experiences for women who’ve traditionally been excluded from outdoor spaces. BGOW founder Demiesha Dennis gives us a spirited first-hand look at a local cross-country ski day with the organization.
Check out the full issue here.
Editorial: On Bravery and Fear
Breaking for tea at a weekend yodelling workshop in southwestern Germany (as one does), a classmate listened patiently to my preschool-level German conversation, eyes widening. When my halting half-sentences eventually paused, she replied, “Du bist so mutig.” (You are so brave.)
It wasn’t belting out three-part yodels, face-to-face with strangers, nor backpacking alone as a middle-aged woman, that impressed her. It was that my grasp of this new language was clearly tenuous, but I rambled with abandon. Verbs improperly conjugated, adjective endings a jumble, I repeatedly paused to request translations—but I possessed neither shyness nor shame for my mistakes. My fellow yodeller was torn between astonishment and fascination.
I scratched my head a bit over her choice of the word “mutig.” Is it really brave to knowingly make a fool of oneself? Maybe it’s just a matter of not caring. Giving this whole language-learning thing a solid try, I simply didn’t give a damn how I was perceived in my flailing efforts.
Having zero cares, particularly vis-a-vis public blunders, is a kind of freedom. But I’m not sure it constitutes bravery. “You’re so brave” often equates to “That sounds uncomfortable, and I don’t want to be uncomfortable.”
Early this morning at the Thornbury harbour, rising sun hidden behind thick clouds, the residual wind from an overnight storm sliced the tops from pounding whitecaps, encrusting the riprap in a thick layer of ice. Five women spilled from their warm vehicles, marching confidently into the December-chilled bay. “It’s just three minutes,” they kept reminding me. “Only three minutes.”
“You’re so brave” often equates to “That sounds uncomfortable, and I don’t want to be uncomfortable.”
Standing in the -13 C windchill, Barb Reynolds ruminated on the benefits of making choices that scare you, saying, “We all need to do something every day that’s out of our comfort zones.” Endorphins charging through her, she carried on as though it were a sunny August afternoon.
Peering through my viewfinder, sprawled on the frosty boat launch wrapped in three layers of wool and down, puffy pants tucked into my -100 C boots, I thought, There’s not a chance in hell. Then a wave crashed over me, soaking through layers and leaving me spluttering. I sat up and shook off, thinking, Oh, just go in already. How bad can it be?
I considered the notions of bravery, fear and comfort—and sprinted back to the full-blast heat in my truck. –Kristin Schnelten
Pick up a print issue at the usual rad spots in the Blue Mountains region or from any of our advertisers.
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