Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Civilized Wilderness – Sea Kayaking in Sechelt Inlet

To some, embarking on a three day kayak trip into unpopulated areas of British Columbia’s west coast would be considered a rugged backcountry experience. To others, it’s simply another excuse to eat and drink exorbitantly, while providing just enough physical exertion to be categorized as an outdoor activity. I’m most certainly in the second group, as demonstrated by our kayak excursion this past weekend.

Now don’t get me wrong, the BC coastline is home to many wild animals and the chances of encountering a bear are pretty good. The closest shower and electrical outlet are many miles away, and (thankfully) there is no mobile phone coverage. You don’t have to go far to be pretty remote.

However, traveling by kayak provides one distinct advantage over more traditional back country options such as hiking, and that advantage is storage. So, despite the remoteness and somewhat rudimentary means of getting there, the kayaker can bring along a reasonable array of creature comforts. For me, those comforts revolve around food.

Before you write me off as a complete sloth or nut bar, tell me how this sounds? After a day of paddling in clear water surrounded by mountains and forests, you return to camp for a cocktail and appetizer. Then, as the sun sets you recline against a log on the beach and enjoy a glass of wine while brilliant colors dance across the sky. As darkness approaches, it’s time to light a fire and prepare a gourmet feast. You eventually retire to your tent with a belly full of fine wine, and slip into a deep sleep to the soothing sound of waves lapping against the shore.

Not so crazy after all, huh? I call it “Civilized Wilderness”, and even though I’m bound to hear loud protests from the extreme sports crowd, I’m convinced there is no better way to experience nature.

On our weekend we paddled with dolphins, saw countless jellyfish and multi-colored starfish, and stared in awe at some stunning scenery. We also swam in the surprisingly warm ocean at a number of uninhabited beaches. Meanwhile, we enjoyed cool late afternoon Gin and Tonics, lightly seared sushi grade ahi tuna, melt in your mouth tenderloin, a variety of spicy Indian curries, assorted grilled vegetables and even brownies with steamed milk and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Not to be overlooked were beautiful bottles of wine to accompany every course.

Good friends, great food and stunning scenery! Indeed, what more could one want?