I went on a Wilderness Quest recently. I fasted for 100 hours and I spent four days and nights alone on the mountains.
I’ve been back for 3 weeks and I am still reluctant to wash my scarf. It smells like campfire.
When I close my eyes, I am instantly transported back to the campfire at base camp. I can feel the warmth of the fire on my skin and I remember the conversations we had. I can hear the bird song and see Mona the dog running around. Frolicking. Can I say she was frolicking?
Fasting? Solo time on the mountains?
Was it hard? Yup! Did I want to give up? Day 4 was a very long day. It snowed all day. Would I do it again? Definitely!
What about wild animals? I saw a deer on Day 1, she was steps away from me. On Day 3, two squirrels came out to play and I saw many birds. There were no bears or snakes. Whew!
Except for the four days of solo time on the mountains and one day at base camp, most of my time was spent at Circle H Mountain Lodge in the Marble Mountains in Southern Cariboo, British Columbia.
Why Did I Go?
I went for many reasons. When I read about the Quest, my heart said Yes! so fast my brain didn’t have a chance to say Noooooooo…Why would you do that to us???
The mountains beckoned. The trees whispered my name and Mother Nature called.
I went because I needed to say goodbye to parts of myself that no longer serve me. I needed to be in nature so I could think. The city is very loud. I went because I wanted to face my fears. I went because I listened to my soul.
I went because I needed to know that I am a part of something greater.
Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.
The fear came later.
Could I have achieve all this without going on a Quest? Maybe, but I doubt it would be the same.
Here’s a list of reasons why other people go on Quest.
Moment of truth, I am (was) afraid of the dark.
It became very clear to me while we were still at the lodge before solo time at the mountains that I have a fear of the dark. My cabin was less than 50 steps from the main lodge where the washroom is, and I could not walk to the lodge to pee at night.
Yes, I held my pee till the morning.
Now imagine this. Solo time, on the mountains All. By. Myself.
Long dark nights are really long on the mountains. Sleeping outside with a tarp and no tent was a bit scary. Ok maybe a LOT scary for this city girl. I would go to pee at 9pm before it gets dark, then zipped myself up in my sleeping bag and put ear plugs in.
Bears? Wolves? Insects? Cougars? Snakes? (If I can’t see or hear you, you don’t exist.) You see where my mind went?
I did not leave my sleeping bag until 5:30am when it was light outside.
The good news is I faced my fear of the dark up at the mountains during solo time. When we went back to the lodge, for the last three days of Quest, I could go outside when it was dark and use the washroom. I even stood outside to stare at the stars.
We had rain, snow, wind, sunshine and snow. Yes, I said snow twice. By the way, this region has not seen precipitation on May 1st for 17 years.
Did you know up in the mountains, the wind sounds like waves?
Was it cold? Yes but I had layers and I learned how to make fire. When I got cold, I would zip myself up in my sleeping bag, sit next to the fire and sing Kumbaya. I’m kidding, I sang My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean.
***Next blog…What does one do during solo time?
Hint: a lot of naps! Hooray!