One person's take on large scale rescues.

Date: Thurs, 9 Dec 2004 15:55:13 -0700 (PDT)
From: John Winters
Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] expired flares

Peter wrote;

> * It will be better for you, and for your surviving family who will have
> to pick up the pieces, that you take personal responsibility for your
> actions knowing that you are a member of a society that,  in law at least, values
> your life.

Interesting. Does society value my life or the quality of my life? Who
defines that quality, society or me?
It seems to me that society (whatever that is) wants me to fit into their
(whoever they are) mold.


"A" wants to participate in a risky activity. "B" expresses concern and says
if you do you must do it under my terms. Does "A'" s life concern or "B" or
"B's" idea of what constitutes life that concerns "B"?

This debate - the freedoms of the individual versus the concerns of the
group - may never end but it would not offend me if the wusses out there
quit imposing thier fears and concerns on those of us who don't share them.
The illogical nature of the person or group that says, " I will try to
rescue you whether you like it or not  and because you have no choice in the
matter you must make it easy for me" simply boggles the mind.

Read my lips. Do not rescue me. I don't need you to tell me about my family
(a topic you know nothing about). If you value my life let me live it. I
appreciate your offer of help but I reject it.

Jordan wrote;

> Is it fair to keep others from our "secret" places but still continue
> to go there ourselves?  Certainly, they will remain unspoiled if not
> many people tramp over them but it seems a little elitist to say that
> only the few of us who will treat the sites well should go to them.
> Perhaps, it would be better if we stopped searching for "secret" places
> or as outdoors people agree that we are just not going to explore
> certain areas so that they remain unspoiled.

Fair? Is this a game?

Stop searching for the peace of wilderness untrammeled by green pigs? Is
that what wilderness travel means? Evenings spent cleaning up filth at
campsites? Portage trails suitable for SUV's? Reservations for a campsite?
Sorry, I don't want it.

I can, however, tell you how to find one of your own.

First take a map of the area that interests you. Mark off any river that has
a written description either by the government or well meaning wilderness
traveler wanting to make life easy for you.

Search back issues of canoeing association newsletters and mark off any
river mentioned there.

Now research the archives of the Hudson Bay Company or missionary groups.
Read as much as possible by those who traveled in the 19th century. here you
will get hints about long since abandoned trade routes and trapping areas.

Pick out a promising river from that. Now pore over the maps  to find a way
to access the headwaters and then make your first attempt. Take your GPS and
cell phone etc and lay them on the ground. Drive your car over them several
times. Now start. Do not get discouraged. It  may take two or three tries.
Learn to read a map and navigate with a compass. Believe it or not people
explored this continent before NASA.  The term "height of land" may sound
romantic but it ain't. It usually means swamps, almost impenetrable tag
alders, barely navigable streams, and black flies. Millions of black flies.
Long hard days of disappointment when you reach a dead end and must

When you finally reach the headwaters of your river you have just begun, You
will have to decide for yourself how to run, or line, or bushwhack around
rapids. (no detailed descriptions about taking the first drop river left and
ferrying across to the eddy on river right etc. etc. etc. written for those
who have difficulty reading a river but who can read a manual) You may find
yourself doing more walking than paddling. (See Richard Culpepper' web
site). You may have to camp in some damned awkward spots. You may have to
paddle for a day or more along the shores of Hudson's Bay or the coast of
Labrador to reach a take out point so you can get home. You may also find
glorious runs of fast water, pristine lakes,  wildlife, and peace. You won't
find gum wrappers, aluminum foil in fire pits, melted plastic, forgotten
gear and great stone firepits suitable for the sacrifice of virgins.

I recall one morning on the Kimosippi when I crawled out of my tent and  to
see the sun rise across a small lake at the tree line (a misnomer but sounds
great). I almost wept at the beautiful solitude.

Tell some one else about it? Surely you jest.

Elitist? Maybe.

If you want to go there. Find it. I bet the struggle and the rewards will
turn you into an elitist so fast it will make your head spin.


John Winters 

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