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Ronan's report

Tuesday 26 August, 2014

I'm not sure that I clearly know the difference between road camping, adventure camping, and overlanding. I've had some month-long van trips into the desert, seasons in the Arctic, and weeks solo in the mountains, but never what I would have considered "overlanding". In my mind, overlanding means a trek across Africa, around Austrailia, or in a deep South American jungle. Despite some great areas where you can disappear on Alberta's backroads, it always seemed too close to civilization - well at least too close to the loud redneck part of "civilization".

A couple years ago my wife and I bought an older Land Cruiser with the intent to convert it into a mobile base to find fish all over North America. Well, the fishing dream is mine, my wife just wanted a vehicle to a haul a donkey around with. I have dreams of going back to Alaska and the Yukon to look for those char and grayling that missed my fly last time, dreams of the American desert scrub hunting redband and cutthroat in tiny trickles, dreams of dark, star-filled nights next to trickling creeks.

The truck has done well these past years- Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana. Desert trips and coastal trips, forests and mountains, weeks in the truck- but not overlanding as I saw it. These past couple of weeks we decided to explore a little of our own backyard, a trip through three drainages, the Pacific, the Arctic, and the Hudson Bay. The quarry for the trip was the little cutthroat trout, hiding in creeks that were barren of fish before the transplants began in the 1930's.

I love that fact that you can still experience wilderness in the resource extracting boom that is Alberta's economy. Tenting on the shores of a lake, wolves still howl while you watch shooting stars over the mountains. Five minutes walk off the road along a small creek and there is no trace of humanity. You can't experience some of these things without a sturdy set of wheels and a willingness to spend some time, but it was hardly overlanding, merely camping.

Overlanding or not, I like being able to hop in a truck and disappear past a road's end or take that side road often passed. It is an exploration that leads to the exploration of fish.

Overland and onward to the fish!,

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