Morning dawns at Peffley's Wilderness Camp

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What are those "rockpiles" alongside the road?

We've all seen them traveling up and down the highways in NW Ontario, those strange looking rock formations that look like little people, ranging in size from tiny to large. I know we get asked the question a lot by many guests who are relatively new to the area and have always tried to take the time to explain a little bit about what they are and what they mean. Just recently I received an e mail from Dennis Meyer from the Appleton area,  who has become a regular guest of camp for the past 5 years or so, explaining more about the Inukshuk and I thought it would be a great opportunity to pass along the information to help further enlighten everyone about the origin and background of the Inukshuk.
Thanks for sharing this Dennis and see you and the guys in camp soon!

The mysterious stone figures known as inuksuit can be found throughout the circumpolar world. Inukshuk, the singular of inuksuit, means "in the likeness of a human" in the Inuit language. They are monuments made of unworked stones that are used by the Inuit for communication and survival. The traditional meaning of the inukshuk is "Someone was here" or "You are on the right path."

The Inuit make inuksuit in different forms for a variety of purposes: as navigation or directional aids, to mark a place of respect or memorial for a beloved person, or to indicate migration routes or places where fish can be found. Other similar stone structures were objects of veneration, signifying places of power or the abode of spirits. Although most inuksuit appear singly, sometimes they are arranged in sequences spanning great distances or are grouped to mark a specific place.

These sculptural forms are among the oldest and most important objects placed by humans upon the vast Arctic landscape and have become a familiar symbol of the Inuit and of their homeland. Inuit tradition forbids the destruction of inuksuit. An inukshuk (also known asinuksuk) is often venerated as symbolizing an ancestor who knew how to survive on the land in the traditional way. A familiar inukshuk is a welcome sight to a traveler on a featureless and forbidding landscape.

An inukshuk can be small or large, a single rock, several rocks balanced on each other, round boulders or flat. Built from whatever stones are at hand, each one is unique. The arrangement of stones indicates the purpose of the marker. The directions of arms or legs could indicate the direction of an open channel for navigation, or a valley for passage through the mountains. An inukshuk without arms, or with antlers affixed to it, would act as a marker for a cache of food.

An inukshuk in the form of a human being is called an inunnguaq. This type of structure forms the basis of the logo of the 2010 Winter Olympics designed by Vancouver artist Elena Rivera MacGregor. It is widely acknowledged that this design pays tribute to the inukshuk that stands at Vancouver's English Bay, which was created by artisan Alvin Kanak of Rankin Inlet, Northwest Territories. Friendship and the welcoming of the world are the meanings of both the English Bay structure and the 2010 Winter Olympics emblem.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Ice Out Imminent!

Our sources on Wabaskang Lake (notably our friend Tom Williams from Sleepy Dog Cabins), tell us that ice out on Wabaskang is now just a couple of days away. The ice is about half gone now and going fast! For those in the area this means some open water fishing opportunities for delicious lake trout, walleye and pike.

Back home in Granger, and monitoring our Facebook Group page, it is clear that many of you are anxiously counting down the days to your 2012 trip to camp. With only a few short weeks remaining before we head north, this last month will go by real fast. That's assuming that I can resist the temptation to jump the gun early and head up.....

The smiling faces (especially mine) are saying "man is it good to be out of the car!"
 We just returned from a 12 hour drive (each way) from the mountains of North Carolina where we took the girls for spring break, so I may need a couple of days to recover.... not from the 12 hours of driving, but  from being "locked" in the vehicle for 12 hours with the four girls! It was a fabulous trip, after having driven through the mountains of Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia et al in the past, it was refreshing to stay in the area to discover more of the beauty and serenity this area has to offer. While not quite as remote and serene as camp, I have to admit it was certainly very peaceful at our mountain cabin rental and waking up in the cool mountain air and to some awesome views was very enjoyable. Another thing I personally liked about the experience was it offered some great perspective from the "renters" point of view, something I haven't really had in this environment since my last year as a guest of camp back in 2004. I caught myself on several occasions making mental notes like " oh, I like the way they did this", or "this is nice, but they could improve it by..." I'm sure some of the same observations that go through the heads of our guests every summer and we hope get shared with us as we are always open to doing even more to making the camp and your experience with us the best it can possibly be.
The ladies rest near Split Rock on Grandfather Mountain

The view of Linville Falls from the top of an awesome trail hike

Why the sign picture? Read on....

Well in addition to pointing the way to the swinging bridge which is a great walk between two mountain peaks suspended 5,280 feet in the air (a great experience even in rain, thunder and lightning as we found out), this is also where our vacation came close to an abrupt end. I learned a valuable lesson while driving up to the mountaintop--that being: don't spend too much time reading the signs and not focusing on the road! By the time I finished reading this sign the van tires were about two inches from the edge of the steep (no guard rail) embankment. As screams filled the van, I jerked the wheel to get us back on the road and on our way back up (instead of down) the mountain! I have to admit, even my pulse was up a couple of notches after this one! On the way back down after walking the bridge, I did point out to everyone that there are quite a few trees growing down the embankment where we nearly went over so I really don't think we would have rolled down that far.... Nobody seemed amused....

Enjoy the balance of spring and see you on the distant shores of Wabaskang Lake for some incredible Canadian Wilderness fishing soon!