Saturday, July 30, 2011

MK - three weeks and counting ...

Photo by Wayne Sawchuk

In 2008, I was heading back to Vancouver on the Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay ferry. Usually I stay in the car with my dogs for the ride over and read, but I had forgotten my book and was feeling restless. I wandered up to the gift shop and was looking through the magazines and picked up a National Geographic Magazine. Inside was an 8 page spread which included images of a place in Norther BC I'd never heard of. I don't remember paying for the magazine (though I did) and I don't remember the rest of the ride home. All I remember is intense excitement and a need to contact a man named in the article: Wayne Sawchuk.

When I got home I ran to my computer and wrote to Wayne. He was online and for about an hour we frantically wrote back and forth and it became immediately obvious we needed to work together.

A couple months later Wayne invited me to Victoria for a slide show of the MK Region, to meet others who had been on the expedition, and to share some food. It was fall and I was scheduled for the next expedition, which would happen a few months later that summer. But come November, my Dad suddenly found himself with heart trouble and needing surgery. I decided to postpone the trip, & move back to the Island to be closer to my family.

My Dad is without a doubt, one of the strongest people I know. He bounced back in no time and was off to Thailand.

Wayne has contacted me each summer, and has sent his beautiful images of the MK. Timing, finances, (INTENSE FEAR OF GRIZZLY BEARS !!!) has delayed this trip, until now.

This year, I made Wayne a deal: "You take me through this place and I'll make two beautiful solo shows plus work for the Toronto Art Fair plus the Christmas show, all on the MK." "Great !" He told me.

In a couple weeks The skinnies and I head for PG to see Paulette and the Icatcher family, then I'll drive solo another 14 + hours up to Muncho Lake BC before flying into the MK.

Something I haven't yet mentioned to Wayne: For years I have had reoccurring nightmares of being attacked by bears. Before he died, my friend Doug taught me how to track cougar and bear in the woods in an area of land called L 7 on Vancouver Island. He taught me what to look for, what to watch out for, and what to do if confronted. I bought and read a book on bear attacks to try to confront and dissolve the fear. I saw a bear movie at Science World so I could learn more about them. The bears were huge and I forced myself to sit in front of them. None of these things worked. I haven't bought a tent for this trip. I'm hoping someone will let me sleep under them in theirs.

Yesterday while hiking Mt. Seymour, the dogs found a massive pile of fresh bear poop. In all the time I have hiked this trail, I have never some across any bear poop. EVER. And it is very hard not to give this pile of poop significant foreshadowed meaning, especially with the MK expedition rapidly approaching.

11:30 am. time to begin another painting.


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