An adventure featuring sweat, dirt and blood (but not really)

I used to be an outdoorsy woman.

I once tackled a portage going up and down hills carrying the heavy food pack and the canoe while it was hailing and raining and I still shouted about how I was loving it. I once thought it was a good idea to wrap up a bunch of kids’ sleeping gear in a tarp and throw it off a cliff because it was the easiest way to get our stuff down to the beach for a camp out. I once lived in a cabin the size of my cubicle with a large, pregnant fox snake living underneath it for four months. I once survived a canoe trip with more portaging than paddling in June during black fly season in the swampy part of Algonquin. I once slogged through a ravine while hip deep in clay for no other reason than it looked like fun.

I used to do a lot of outdoorsy stuff. I was always up for camping, canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, or slogging through the underbrush.

Sadly, I think I’ve lost some of my woodland spirit (yeah, I just said that). I think I can blame my new career. It’s hard to rush off to a game of Capture the Flag in the mud pit when you are wearing dress ‘slacks’ and peep-toe wedges and that cute knock-off purse in faux patent leather is just not a practical substitute for a backpack full of bandaids and extra socks. Lately, I’m more apt to complain about my shoulder being sore from using my mouse (no really, it’s sore) than my knee being sore from that sweet-ass wipe-out I took on the fallen tree while pelting through the forest chasing the other team. LAME.

Some days I think I should have pursued a career as a summer camp director where I could replace my ‘slacks’ with cargo shorts and my cute patent leather bag with a backpack. And then I remember that I love my job and my slacks (although I hate the word ‘slacks’) and my cute handbag. I also remember that the aforementioned wipe-out, although spectacular, hurt so bad that I almost forgot my well-trained camp language skills and spewed forth a whole mouthful of foulness in front of some 9-year olds.

Don’t get me wrong, I still go out and do things. As you probably know if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, Matt and I like to cross-country ski and hike and visit nearby conservation areas. But, recently, all my activities have been missing something. They’ve all been a little too clean for my taste. There has been a significant lack of sweat, dirt and blood in my latest outdoor adventures.

I took a step to change that this weekend.

This weekend Matt and our good friend N went to a local conservation area on the Bruce Trail and the Niagara Escarpment. Matt and I have been there before but with decidedly less adventure. This time we went loaded with a picnic of pb&j, carrot sticks and cookies (shockingly we are all above the age of 5) and with a goal in mind.

N and I on the Escarpment

This conservation area has caves! Now, you can’t go in most of the caves because there is concern about a virus being spread to the local bat population. But there are a few less scary, less dark and less bat infested caves that are fairly accessible.

Friendly Caves

So we went spelunking.

At the mouth of the caves with Matt emerging from the depths.

We didn’t have any gear with us (like helmets, headlamps or rope) so we didn’t go very far. But it was exhilarating just doing something new. Although it was completely safe, it made me feel like a daredevil.

Holding the light and making Matt go first.

There was sweat (not enough). And dirt (could have been more). But no blood, although I did bonk my head real good a few times, so maybe pain can count. Or, maybe I was lying about the whole blood thing to begin with. It sounds good in theory, but is less appealing in practice.

Either way, it was a grand ole’ time and it has me searching for other adventures to tackle in the upcoming months.

I’m open to ideas.


3 Responses to “An adventure featuring sweat, dirt and blood (but not really)”

  1. 1 ria March 30, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    sounds like a really fun adventure. like you i used to do lots of outdoorsy stuff, i need to get back to it! 🙂

  2. 2 Erin March 30, 2010 at 11:39 am

    So cool.
    We still have cargo-shorts-and-backpack-sporting camp director as a backup plan, right?
    And that cabin was the BEST.

  3. 3 Gloria Hildebrandt March 30, 2010 at 9:49 am

    If you like the Niagara Escarpment and caves, you should check out our website at, and under Selected Articles, December 2008, you’ll see a pdf of our feature on the caves at Rattlesnake Point and Kelso Conservation Area. Photos show you what you could not do without proper gear. Toronto Caving Group leads beginner trips each year, taking you safely into the deeps. Have fun out there!

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Hi There!

I'm Claire. I like to write about ridiculous things.

I love chocolate but don't think cheese and cake belong together.

I often wish it was socially acceptable to wear glitter before 10pm.

If you want to chat, email me at clairesuzanne1 at gmail dot com.


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