Peter - One Year Post PACT

Peter Vooys. Edwards Gardens, Toronto.
Photo by Marlee Maclean

One year from PACT and I still think of an aspect of PACT every day. From conception to completion, I am still blown away by our own accomplishment. PACT is a chip on my shoulder, something I carry with me as a reminder of determination. It has set a new high [level] in what I now think is challenging in life. PACT has realigned my perspective.

I will look at a map of Canada and still be in awe. Then I think of specifics and remember just how lucky we got. Weather, injuries, sickness, navigation, support from friends and strangers alike. I would like to attribute our success to purely skill, but no doubt a little good fortune and a lot of support were on our side.

Unfortunately, PACT did not meet one of my criteria. I had thought PACT would cure me of my adventure cravings. To satisfy my wanderlust. To finally be able to move forward past the paddle. It did not. The curse of Itchy Feet remains.

I have now proven to myself that large expeditions are more than theoretically possible, they are attainable. I have a growing list of regions and rivers to explore, not a shrinking one. I have realized that the best possible way for exploration of Canada is by canoe. So to this, I continue to paddle. I continue to engage in what motivates me. Adventure inspiration lies in the historical narrative and in the contemporary stories of friends. PACT allowed us to tap into the community of adventurers and dreamers that follow their passions. The network of wilderness travellers is opened, offering and teasing many more adventures. We are so blessed in Canada for many reasons, and I count the luxury of being able to entertain notions of canoe trips as evidence of this. As a nation, Canada is certainly set up to provide several lifetimes of wilderness adventure. I often wonder if it is possible to see it all.

This past summer I paddled in the Yukon Territory and in the autumn I led students on trips through my beloved Algonquin Provincial Park. The unknown and the familiar. Each trip with the same excitement and wonder I held for 120 days on PACT. The same feelings I had on my first canoe trip at age six.

I know I am addicted to wilderness travel. I know that I will continue my tour of paddling across Canada.