Welcome to Frank Wolf's new blog on explore-mag.com—The Way of the Wolf:
A line on a map, snaking through the wilderness… it’s not physically there, but it’s burned in my mind.
I can look at any point of any one of the lines of my various journeys through North America (and other parts of the world) and instantly get a visual of my experience in that environment. I’ll never repeat a journey, but that line will stay with me forever.
I don’t have any kids, so these lines are my children—I know them intimately and plan to keep procreating lines all over wilderness areas of the planet until the day I die. Ultimately, whatever fuels a person’s passion and reason for living is the path he or she should follow, and this is mine. I’m compelled to explore wild, obscure places on their own terms; slowly and steadily with a paddle or on foot, every corner a new and wondrous stretch of land I’ve never seen before.
As a reader of explore, I’m sure you understand. You have that fire to set out into the beyond and wander free. Your lines don’t have to stretch across the planet to be satisfying—it could be your local backwoods or lake, a day- or weekend-trip. As long as you break inertia and stay curious, you’ll have lines to last a lifetime.
With Canada’s 150th birthday upon us, there’s no better way than exploration to celebrate our country’s pre-colonial and colonial history of wilderness travel. Our indigenous forbearers gave us the canoe and the snowshoe—two globally recognized ways of getting around with the help of our own muscle. They passed on their knowledge of wilderness travel to the Voyageurs and on down the line to present-day recreational travellers like us. We no longer push through the forests, fields and lakes for survival or commerce but do it simply to scratch the deep-seeded need to move under our own power for hours, days, or weeks on end, satiating an urge as ancient as the trees and mountains themselves.
I once had a surreal lunch with former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in the midst of a cross-Canada canoe trip. What impressed me most about this then-75-year-old icon was that after a life in politics, having led this country for 16 years, all he wanted to talk about was his canoe tripping adventures. His eyes would light with fire when discussing his journeys, and then extinguish to dead lumps of coal when conversation strayed to politics. That summer he was heading off on a 10-day canoe trip down a remote river on Baffin Island that had him brimming with excitement. In the golden years of his life, his adventures—his lines on a map—were what mattered most to him.
In the coming months, this blog will celebrate our national spirit of adventure through my own experiences and those of eminent adventurers around the planet. Hopefully you’ll be inspired in some way to set out on your own explorations and journeys, whatever they may be. So join me here every couple of weeks—and keep on tripping!