Saturday, September 18, 2010

Memories 15: Post High School

After high school I went directly to college for two years and then spent another three years at University before graduating with a B.Sc. in Biology and Environmental Studies.  There are many stories and many experiences from those years, but one of the most life changing took place during the summer semester of my very first year.

I'm not sure how I worked up the guts to ask my parents (though I remember deliberating for days before I approached them) but I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to participate in a two week, river-rafting field program.  I took courses in environmental biology, environmental chemistry and anthropology for one week each prior to the field study component.  While in the field we had daily work to complete and once we returned home, we had reports to compile and exams to write .  For all of that, we got university transfer credits and a once in a lifetime experience.

We spent two weeks rafting down the Fraser River, following Simon Fraser's journey, testing water, assessing habitat and learning all sorts of in-situ lessons along the way.  There's something so fantastic about seperating yourself from civilization and truly alone (with 15 or so other people) with nature.  For about a week we saw no signs of people, no power lines, no other boats, nothing.  We watched the ecosystem change from the cold and extreme north to the dry interior and back to our cool coastal climate as we travelled the river, camped along the shores and carried our food inside incredibly large coolers and all our personal gear (tent and sleeping bag included) in a single wet bag each; there wasn't a ton of room for clothes and boy were we stinky when we arrived home.

There are so many stories and memories from this trip; the mosquitoes that wouldn't leave me alone and the resulting welts that covered my body, the surprise rain storm when we were exploring the bluffs above our campground, the beautiful 'toilet' locations, always overlooking the most amazing scenery, the first nations potlach and the adorable little girl who tried to teach me to dance while we were there, not to mention watching one of our rafts nearly tip as our guide maneuvered Hell's Gate, which had volumes of 7000m3 of water per second that particular day.

The Fraser River is a silty river, very brown in colour.  Although it seems calm at the surface it is well known for its undercurrent.  It's something to be appreciated, but never to be underestimated. I grew up blocks from the Fraser and spent many childhood hours splashing in the murky waters.  After going on this trip, I knew the Fraser was in my blood.  It's part of who I am and it will forever be special to me.  As morbid as it may sound, if I were to pass, I would want at least some of my ashes spread in the Fraser River - that's how connected I feel to this particular water body.

This is post 15/15 and is part of Mommy's Piggy Tales
Make sure you check out all the other great posts here!

Mommy's Piggy Tales is a great project that will guide you through the process of remembering and recording your youth.  At the begining 15 weeks seemed so far away and now that its here, I'm not even sure I'm done.  I have more stories and more experiences to get from this post to my current reality.

The next session starts October 7th and  Janna creates a wonderful community by creating groupings so you have your own little group of blogs to visit and comment on.  There are so many women with amazing stories to share; if you are considering participating I wholeheartedly encourage you to go for it.  It's been a fantastic journey, well worth the effort!


  1. I love the outdoors, but I don't think I'd be brave enough to do that. WHat an amazing memory!

  2. Sounds like an amazing experience AND it fit in to what you were studying. Win/win!

  3. I really enjoyed reading through your memories. I'd never run into this before. What a cool concept. I'm definitely going to be checking out Mommy's Piggy Tales.

  4. Because of reading through these, I've now started documenting my own memories. So I wanted to say thank you, because I saw it here first.


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