“Can we set the tent up out by the beaver pond?”
“We’ll take the dog.”
It was the first time my parents let my sister and I spend the night in a tent out of sight of the house. I was eight years old. Dad walked us to where the tent was pitched that evening, got us settled in our bags, gave us the final warning about not moving until he came back in the morning, called Pup Pup (a 50-pound barrel of black fur), and zipped up the tent flap.
Giggles and laughter faded as we tired and darkness fell. Suddenly, Pup Pup was growling and barking. We screamed so hard for so long I was sure Dad would hear us in the house, but he never came. Pup Pup stopped growling, eventually we settled, and somehow we all drifted back off to sleep. Morning came, Dad unzipped the tent, and we spilled out with tales of the excitement. Dad looked around and off to one side of the tent he saw the cougar’s track. That was the last time we were ever allowed to camp away from the house.
Stalking cougars in the night, racing electrical storms, dodging rattlesnakes, climbing hoodoos, sweet-talking bears, avoiding avalanches, spotting ticks, traversing glacial streams, smelling rock jasmine – there is nothing quite like life in the great outdoors. I’m stoked to introduce the new Brooks-Range blog: B-R Dispatch. It’s going to cover the outdoor experience: adventures, mishaps, humour, facts, gear, planning, know-how, and more.
I fell in love with the outdoors as a child on the islands of British Columbia’s coast; discovered the mountains as a teen when I spent a summer working with a youth crew in B.C.’s Mt. Robson Provincial Park; and turned that passion into a career as an interpretive naturalist in Alberta’s Kananaskis Country as an adult. Leaving the Parks Service to pursue a second career as a freelance writer gave me more time to play outside.
Some would look at the stacks of books and papers that clutter my office and say that I use the outdoors as an excuse to escape cleaning. They might be right. There is a freedom that comes when truck is locked and the backpack belt is clicked in place or the skis are fastened or the paddle is in hand. The baggage of home is pushed to the farthest recesses of the mind and all that matters is living in the moment.
And the moment is now. Hi, my name is Megan Kopp and each week I’m going to share my perspective on being outside. I hope you’ll join me!