Field Report from South River.
January 2020
Day 1



I generally find it easier, and far more interesting for that matter, to tell a story by describing the senses rather than listing the actions. The actions can be taken completely out of context and lose all significance if not accompanied by indicators of sight, sound, and feel. I can place a log on a fire in Peru or Alaska or New Zealand...the action acquires its unique significance when you surround it with meaning. I could tell you that we spent three days in a cabin. It was winter. We ate cold food and spent our time tending the wood stove that kept us warm. During the day we read and at night we slept. Then we left.

Sound boring? Let me start again.


The preparations began on the evening before our departure.  Besides our toiletries, most of our goods were already packed and stationed at the garage door. Anticipation and excitement had me biting at the bit. 


I have always admired, envied even, the northern life. Whatever that means. Perhaps it’s an aesthetic I have manufactured in my mind, conflating memories and stereotypes over the years with my love for the northern wilderness. Cabins, fire, thick trees and mountain ranges. The focus on family and necessity. In its harshness it seems so simple. Life, death, hot, cold, hungry, tired. Essentialism so free of modern anxieties.

As a child of suburbia, so-called first world problems have haunted my every day, fuelling my desires for freedom and escape. I don’t want to get worked up over the scandalous gossip that Jessica shared with Emily at her fiancé’s Christmas party last weekend. Sometimes I look back at times in my life when the superfluous babble of society left me feeling lost and alone and I wonder how I ever let it matter. How did I assign so much significance to the mundanities of the 21st century? I am not completely free of superficiality, don’t get me wrong. By no means am I sat up here on my reclaimed log throne preaching the way of the trees. But the realization of wanting more in life from myself and from the world around me was a cathartic and inflecting incident in my story. I feel the need to share this intimate thought process as my expressing these very thoughts to Mackenzie - perhaps less eloquently then as I have scripted now - has brought me to the cabin from which I write. 

Having chatted in length about my opinions on the subject of adventurous living, reflecting on several adventures we embarked upon last summer, Mackenzie and I agreed that it would be beneficial for us to ‘get out more’. We never truly pinpointed the exact meaning of ‘out’, which I’m sure will evolve as we gather more experiences, but the concept hovered more or less around the notions of camping, road tripping, and generally pushing ourselves to venture to new geographies. Without any real topic development, it was left at that, until Mackenzie presented me with a series of adventure trips for Christmas. This is the first adventure trip, a winter cabin experience in the heart of Northern Ontario. We are off grid, running on wood heat and three solar powered lights. We have one plug that we share to recharge our cameras and phones. As a videographer, Mackenzie carries has two video cameras and one camera for still photography, in addition to the digital and film cameras that I pack with me. Why bring so much technology to the wilderness? It does pose quite the contradiction, but my defence lies in the importance of story telling...a story in and of itself that I will save for another time.

Back to the wild, the bush near South River where a snow covered lake and a snow covered road are one and the same.


Featured in this Journal Entry

Charcoal Longford Ribbed Toque, Black Heritage Joggers, Women's Socks, Growler Bottle, Olive Growler Carrier, Grey Drummond Blanket, Charcoal Drummond Blanket, Black Heritage Crewneck.