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10 February 2007

Who wants to join a Walk-About??

Today, I will put a note out from a friend. I know it would be lots of fun and great experiences with him...he is full of knowledge and I trust him for my life. So, please contact me if you want to take part - even if you only take part for a stretch. Here he goes:

"Hello, my name is Vic Stapleton and I am a Mountain Man. (He really is. I can assure you.) I love nature, horses, dogs, people, and adventures that include any or all of these components. I worship the earth and believe in a creator that has woven life and energy into every rock, plant, and animal.I was raised on the vast prairies in southern Alberta in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains. As a boy I would gaze out of my bedroom window at Old Chief Mountain and dream of exciting adventures into its’ wild and remote valleys.My first trip to the mountains with my father fishing for rainbow trout on the Belly River was all that I imagined it to be, crystal clear waters, cool forests, the excitement of what’s around the next bend of the river, and that unique smell of a mountain morning. As I sat near the campfire under the arms of a huge spruce tree I heard the voices of pasted mountain men saying this is the place for you! You are home.My personal journey in the mountains began in 1974 when I moved to Grande Cache , Alberta a small coal mining town in the northern Alberta Rocky Mountains. Grande Cache is located on the edge of Willmore Wilderness Park , Alberta ’s largest wilderness area. Within the Park no motorized vehicles are allowed so all travel is on foot or on horseback. It is one of the most wild and remote places in the Canadian Rockies. It was my great fortune and privilege to spend 25 years living, learning, working and playing in this magnificent playground. As Recreation Director for the Town of Grande Cache I organized and supervised a variety of outdoor education programs that included: multi-day canoeing, backpacking, mountain touring, wilderness survival, and horse pack trips. I took formal training in whitewater canoeing, winter survival, wilderness first aid, orienteering, avalanche training, and mountain touring. Through these trips and spending many days in the mountains I began to get a deep appreciation and respect for the mountains and our mother the earth.In 1986 I left my job as Recreation Director and acquired a lease to build a backcountry lodge on the banks of Sheep Creek. The first four years were spent constructing three cabins, a barn, out buildings, and a main lodge. Please understand this was not your normal construction site as all supplies had to be transported by 4 wheel drive 16kms over the Beaver Dam which was not maintained. In the winter the only access was on skies or by snow machine. I purchased fourteen horses, equipment, and tack to operate the programs for the business. Then I had the dubious chore of marketing my outdoor adventure programs to the world. But come they did from all over the world to experience this paradise. With these challenges I became a stronger more confident person and developed a deep connection to the land.In my small cabin on the Sheep Creek I became immersed in the mountain environment. The Whiskey Jacks came to visit each winter day. The wolves howled their mournful cry on cold winter nights and the black bear and grizzly were my closest neighbors. I experienced the time of the cracking trees where at – 45 the popular sap would explode like small bombs creating permanent scares on the trees. As time passed I began to uncover the history of the Sheep Creek Valley , the Big Rock a scared place of earth, rock, water, and air created from the sediment of a long gone sea that was the foundation of our planet. All around me there was silence, peace, and an energy that I absorbed like a sponge.The horses came to the valley like sunshine to a flower. In the past the natives of the Grande Cache had free ranging horses and my horses fill a long gone void. They were free to come and go with no fences for 100 miles in all directions. The cabins were their safe haven or a place to come for oats and a kind hand. The horses were my greatest asset as the guest who came from all over the world had the opportunity to see and ride these beautiful animals in there natural settings. As part of our introduction to Sheep Creek Backcountry Lodge all visitors had to go horse hunting, to make it easier many of the horses wore bells, so I could hear them from a long distance. (All true what he's been soooo coool.) It was always magical when we walked into a mountain meadow as the horses grazed and individuals witnessed the purity of their life in the Sheep Creek valley.But as the Buddhist say nothing last forever and in 2001 I sold Sheep Creek due to personal reasons and moved to Bonnyville , Alberta to take the job as Economic Development Officer for the Town. I have always felt that yearning to get back to the mountains to feel the peace and energy once again. To accomplish this goal I have decided to take a huge Walk-About in the Rockies from Grande Cache to Mexico a trip that shall take 16 months, or more, on horseback. I plan to begin the trip in May of 2008 and finish before Xmas in 2009.Because I don’t want to spend all this time alone I am seeking an individual that has the same sense of adventure to join me on my journey. I would love to communicate and share my dream and vision with anyone that feels they would like to participate in this great adventure."

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