Local Motion - New Brunswick

Welcome to Local Motion where we celebrate hiking, biking, camping, paddling, skiing, and exploring in Southern New Brunswick.

April 13, 2009

Approximate Spring

Approximate Spring
Learning to Add and Subtract
Cold Rain and Warm Snow

I live in a house.
Drink coffee and flush toilets.
I drive cars and use stoves.

Living in dry warmth
Keeps Nature's Indecision
At bay, behind glass

Separation is
Clearly freedom to decide
In this transition

We can play outside
While Spring tries to makes its mind
Or just pout inside.

This month, I spent a Weekend in Halifax soaking up ideas; and another in Rumney, Hew Hampshire rock climbing above hardwood forests. The constant thought of climbing clings to my head like hair. Back in Saint John today, we went cliff exploring near Upham where the little appalachians were blanketed in sticky snow. A friendly man wheelbarrowing gravel in his yard showed us the way. "Follow the creek up the hill through the forest. Watch out for loose rock." As the creek ended we found ourself in a cathedral of ancient hardwoods. Walking on the hillside shoulder we imagined skiing the bowls and biking the rolls. Above us a stood a tantalizing 60 foot cliff on the mountain top.

More climbs? More potential? There are gifts for the energetic.

April 1, 2009

Thawing our Minds

Packing tonight for a weekend in Halifax has given me some time to slow down. At the start of this new month I thought I'd better give an update.

March was a busy month. Many late nights lead to groggy mornings as I worked to finish my Travel Journal. I accomplished my self imposed deadline of the first of Spring, getting a few copies out to family. It became apparent that my Travel Journal would need some minor edits so I've spent a few more late nights polishing it up. And today the first of spring I've got a dozen copies on hand and have shipped one to a friend in France.

For one of the first times in my life I'm crushed to see winter fade. The days of crisp air, sparkling sun, and blue ice are sadly over. This winter was very good to me. Thanks to my new Saint John friends I got in over 11 days of ice climbing this winter. The final day came on the second day of spring in Welsford. Under the spell of our eyes we watched the ice crash down. That afternoon rock season started. In our mountaineering boots we bumbled our way up some easy climbs. The cross country skiing this winter was excellent. Though I'm disheartened to announce that one of my old wood skis snapped. During an ice climbing adventure I got to try out alpine touring skiing and since then some research has lead me to an interest in Karhu XCD skis.

This winter taught me that the fun never has to stop. Winter adventures on skis or ice are perhaps more thrilling then what we can achieve in the warmer months. The world gets bigger every winter. Hollows and ridges are transformed into canyons and mountaintops. Tramping through a fresh powder snow on a sunner saturday morning I've breathed the freshest air of my life. And in the dead of winter there's nothing like standing in the sun watching steam rise from my bare hands. That's the beauty of moving. It's stokes your furnace. Getting outside and moving in the winter is the cure for winter blues.

From my observations, New Brunswickers give up 5 months of their year. Five months spent inside waiting for the spring to come. Just as much at the office as at the hardware store you'll hear grumbles like aftershocks of the most recent snow storm. Cold snaps are communicated by the stomping of feet on door mats. "You hear there's more snow coming on Thursday?" The neighbour replies "Jeez, not again. I tell you there's no use for that stuff."

That's 5 months that we slow down, cease up, and withdraw from the world. Our minds freeze. That accounts for almost half a lifetime! Anyone who exercise regularly knows that the mind slows down when the body slows down. So it leads me to wonder what 5 months of inactivity is doing to the minds of New Brunswickers? If we've collectively lost out on 5 months of the year what decade does that put us in as a society? It's not just New Brunswick. I'd assume that colder climates across North America suffer from this mental freeze as well.

The solution may involve getting red faced and sweaty. Aerobic activity is the cure. You need to keep the fresh oxygen circulating to your brain. Awaken those brain cells. Among the gammit of walking, jogging, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, skating, and stacking firewood there is always an activity for the conditions. Cross country skiing is my favorite. There's nothing quite like that smooth motion.

Imagine what a revival of winter could do to cold climate societies everywhere. Bodies energized, minds buzzing, we'll leave Half-Life behind. The society that captures this forgotten time will rocket ahead in happiness and prosperity... and will probably look pretty good in their fitted coats too!

You're probably thinking "ugh, now I have to wait til next winter." Not so! Mud Season is upon us! Put on some waterproof boots aka rubber boots and get hiking. It's an excellent time of year to catch excellent views through the leafless trees, hike in comfortable temperatures, and revel in a world free of blackflies. I've already gotten in two sunny, summer ish days of rock climbing.