*** Please note that this was written about a week ago. I am no longer in the Canyon.
I am on day 11 of 14 days in the Canyon at my volunteer gig. I am the caretaker, tour guide, permit manager, hostess, and janitor. I am here to do whatever is needed. I am in an isolated location as I was dropped off by boat. I have radio contact with the Forest Service main office twice per day at designated times. This is my second volunteer gig of my adventure and my first of this nature. Here is what I have learned:
Future Volunteering: 1) be able to leave the place at least once per week, to get away, get a break, see something or do something new; 2) have access to technology at least once per week, 3) OK to be off the grid, out in the wilderness or woods or whatever as isolation is not that bad as long as #1 and #2 can be true; 4) I need a break, a day or so off, real time that is not the job and does not have the responsibilities; 5) when or if isolated again, have visitors or company or someone I know come as that would help with the isolation and loneliness and feelings of disconnection.
I have no regrets at all about doing this and being here and having this experience. This journey is not about regret, it is about learning and being and doing. I do not consider this a failure by any stretch of the imagination. This is a complete success and it was amazing and it was fun and I worked my ass off and learned a lot. I am now better informed, more clear and have an improved sense of what I want and need moving forward. I know better what to look for and what to stay away from, and possibly even what to ask for.
People keep asking me how I like it and I have a mixed reaction. I mean, parts of this fit me just fine and parts do not. There is no fault or blame, as this is what was described to me and this is what I got. I tried it and now know better what will and will not work for me. They remark about the view and how wonderful it is, but the view is all I have seen for nearly two weeks! I am not sick of it per say, I mean, who has this view all the time? But, I can say I would like to see something new more often and then I think I will appreciate this view all the more. I am also getting bored. This is now routine and the same and this lack of change is getting to me. I am still not that person who can do the same thing day in and day out, in the same place under the same circumstances. I need some newness, some shift, some change to keep my interest peaked and keep engaged. I hate cleaning the bathrooms, but I do it. OK, fine, but what is there to help offset that part? What is new and exciting and thrilling enough to motivate me to clean those bathrooms? The answer here is nothing. There is no trade off to help with the doldrums.
I worked for two weeks in Hell’s Canyon in an isolated location. I was boated up, trained, and left. I will be boated back and the next person or people will come. I lived with a stove and oven, running water, flush toilets, hot water, shower and bathtub. I had a bed and furniture. I did not have electricity. I had to wash my clothes in the sink and hang them to dry. I got fee beers and pizza and talked to people from all over the world. I am tan and fit, though I ate like shit and may even have put on weight. I am tired and antsy. It is time to move on, It is time for a break from even this place. It is time for the next thing.
Thank you US Forest Service, Clarkston Office, for this opportunity. Thank you Hell’s Canyon for your beauty and your grandeur and your bounty and your harshness. Thank you Cache Creek for being an excellent host. Thanks to the visitors for their stories, their gifts, their patience and their cooperation. Much gratitude for this experience.
Time to move on…