Getting Lost in the Woods

| 1/26/2011 9:18:06 AM

Tags: winter, hiking, nature appreciation, off-grid communication, Cam Mather,

I went for a walk in our woods the other day and got lost. Well I didn’t get lost, but I could have. So I chickened out and turned around and came home rather than making the hike that I had planned.

snowy road 

I was using my new smaller snowshoes for the first time. We’d had 5 inches of fresh snow the day before. My game plan was to hike through the woods to my neighbour’s place on “California Road” which ends on my road east of my driveway. No one seems to know how this road got its name, or even how why it is classified as a road, given that it’s pretty much just an ATV trail. My neighbour Sterling also lives off-grid because there are no electricity poles in our neck of the woods. He has sporadic cell phone coverage so I was hiking over to his house to give him some information about our “Telular” unit. Communication with the outside world can often be one of the biggest challenges in living off-grid so I wanted to share this piece of technology that has really worked for us.

snowy driveway 

So Sterling is about two miles west of us, and I decided to walk there through the woods. Our property if pretty long and follows the road, so during a good chunk of it I’d be on my own property. I know my own property really well. I heat with wood and only cut dead stuff, so I’ve covered most of my property scoping out firewood. The land around here is all bush and ponds, so I’ve spent many hours cutting firewood and then hauling it out to the one old road that runs through my property.

The day of my attempted hike was one of those weird days when I was trying to ignore my instinct, which was telling me that it wasn’t a good day to venture through the woods. When I got onto the old road I immediately noticed two sets of footprints in the new snow. I’m sure that wolves had made them. We have lots of coyotes in the area but these prints were much bigger than coyote prints. After a few days in the sun prints will get bigger as the snow melts, but these were fresh and they were big. But who cares, wolves are scared of me and want nothing to do with me, right? And they were going in the opposite direction.

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