Flash Back Fridays
LIVING ON THE EDGE
By Doug Paterson and Susan Hellard
Living on the edge was a phrase we first heard at Strathcona in 1979. Nothing defined that phrase more for us than the times we spent at Escalante. Jim Boulding first introduced it to us when we were apart of a flotilla of small motor boats lead by the Fair Isle that ventured down Muchalat inlet to the wild and untamed West Coast of the Island. We still visit this incredible part of Vancouver Island annually with dear friends and other former employees of the Lodge, Clark Munroe and Bunny Shannon. Our spirits fly in such a place.
On the edge not only defined where the mighty Pacific Ocean meets North America, but also our feelings and experiences of being surrounded by the sound of sound of silence of unpolluted air space.
We were on the edge of our skill and knowledge base that allowed us to spend time there safely and comfortably.
There was also the edge of our learning about the First Nations Peoples of the area that had lived there for thousands of years. Assisted by Jim’s co-facilitators, people that included Hilary Stewart, Bob Mills the biologist, and Liz Boulding, marine biologist, we learned an amazing amount about edible foods, marine biology, steam cooking in pits, sweats, weaving, fishing, shelter, self reliance, accountability, canoe surfing and so much more.
We were especially pleased when camping at Escalante one year to find Myrna and Nick Boulding coming out of a trail that we had initiated to Escalante Beach. They were looking for Jim’s old campsite. We had the great pleasure of showing it to both of them…a gift full circle.
Escalante is on the edge of our consciousness, calling out to us in our dreams. We return each summer to connect once again to our rightful place. If our ashes are to rest anywhere, Escalante is where it will be.