Yours to Discover! by Bronwyn

We're from BC. We're ocean kayakers, rainforest hikers, mountain trekkers, and we know how to camp in the rain.

We moved to Ontario last February, and were horrified to see the summer nearly escape without a family wilderness adventure. Afraid of having our "outdoorsy" status revoked and of being demoted to "frauds with a basement full of gear," we scrambled to plan a trip for the last weekend in September. Feeling proudly "Ontarionian," we booked a backcountry campsite in Muskoka, borrowed a canoe, and rented a Jeep. All day Friday, I packed to the sound of torrential downpours. "We're from BC; we're used to the rain," my own words taunted me. "Very funny," I scowled at the sky. But cancel, we could not. Cancel, we would not. We know how to camp in the rain, after all ...

It was a wet Friday night, but having already left the house, we were determined to have a good time. We had rubber boots, rain pants, rain coats, tarps, dry-sacks, firewood, hot chocolate, an excellent all-weather tent, and a fuzzy foot warmer (e-hem, dog). I was actually looking forward to the challenge of "making shelter." On Saturday morning, however, we popped our heads out, held out our palms, and tentatively declared, "It's not raining!" By noon the clouds had broken. The rest of the weekend was spent swimming and paddling under crystal clear skies (and asking mom why she had forgotten to pack the sun hats).

Though we've enjoyed the outdoors for years, the adventure was full of family firsts: first time on an overnight canoe trip; first time seeing the flicker of auburns, reds, and browns glistening off the lake; first time seeing the fury of chipmunks and wood mice scurrying about with all manner of treasures held firmly in their jaws; first time thinking the sound of falling leaves must be rain (despite there not being a cloud in the sky); first time watching the stroke of my canoe paddle swoosh past floating maple leaves en route to photograph a loon. It was an oh-so-Canadian experience.

I still think we would have had a blast, even if it had been raining. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to experience one more "new" thing in Ontario that you just don't find in BC: though streets may be flooding on a Friday--and regardless of what the forecast says--Ontario weather is quick to change and is very unpredictable. (Luckily for us.)

So, wherever your home is, and whatever the weather may be, take a chance! Get out in the wilderness and discover what new things are around you. Nature is full of beauty and adventure everywhere you go. As we were quick to learn, it's "yours to discover!"