The writer and outdoorsman George W. Sears declared in his 1884 classic Woodcraft: “We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home.”
Sears, who wrote under the pen name Nessmuk, saw nature as a reprieve from the pace and pressures of the city. But these days, while “roughing it” generally refers to recreating in the outdoors, the idea of “smoothing it” has essentially disappeared.
So we tracked down three modern outdoor adventurers with ties to the Kananaskis region — Olympian Chandra Crawford, outfitter Claude Faerden and executive director of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides Peter Tucker — and asked how they embrace the rougher, more physically challenging aspects of winter adventuring in the Rockies while also reclaiming the lost art of “smoothing it.” These three know magic happens even at minus-20 degrees and that whether you’re going hard out there or engaging in more easy-going pursuits, ultimately, as Tucker says, it’s about giving winter “a big bear hug.”
Written by Brianna Sharpe
Published in Avenue Magazine Calgary
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