My novel, "Paco's Provision," was released in late November of 2014. About a week later, the first
shipment of "A Pretty Good Shot," The Old 21's debut EP, arrived.
While I have sold a few ebooks, The Old 21's CD has sold briskly, giving us the motivation to put together another recording sometime this year. This requires some focussed songwriting time and further development of my recording capabilities in my home studio.
In the meantime, I have launched a new publication surrounding an interest I have had since I was 12, but have stepped away from due to work, family and ill health. Now that my body is back on track - there have been no further seizures related to the brain tumour found in my skull in 2013 - I have sought to immerse myself in the phyiscal, mental and spiritual elevation provided by the natural surroundings of Canada's wilderness.
As a youth, I hunted the Whitewood, Sask. area with friends, walking miles and miles of trails leading to surrounding fields, meadows and forests containing grouse, ducks and geese. On many occasions, we trekked up to 10 miles in an afternoon in search of game. I loved it.
When I left my hometown to attend university in Winnipeg, outdoorsmanship took a backseat to studying, partying and - in the summer months - work. Then I began my journalism career, moved back to Winnipeg to be with my new wife, and soon returned to Saskatchewan to start a business and a family. Getting out of town and into the bush had totally fallen off my radar.
However, after my meningioma diagnosis almost two years ago, I knew things would change. It was the third experience with a life-threatening health issue and I began to seek a new lease on life. After months of reading, praying, meditation and study, I was led back to my roots; back to the wild.
I am no longer a hunter, but have taken a great interest in other aspects of a life outside. The one aspect of that life I have held on to is fishing, which continues to be a pastime I participate in as often as possible. But in recent months, I have taken a particular interest in hiking and backpacking, something I have been motivated to do since reading "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer about 10 years ago.
There is little chance I will be mountain climbing any time soon, but I have to admit the book moved me to do something in our natural wonderland. This idea perculated in me for quite some time, finally blossoming into a real desire to long-distance hike.
In January, while purchasing a wood stove for a fishing shack, I impulsively threw a set of new snowshoes in the shopping cart. I have put more than 50 kilometres on them in the past month and a half. The longest was a ten-mile route to the Pipestone Valley above Moosomin Lake south of Moosomin, Sask.
Last month, my wife and I visited Maui, where we walked three to four miles along the beaches of Kihei almost every morning, climbed five miles up a small mountain ridge and traversed a challenging, six-mile path on a lava field called The King's Road.
It was all so exhilerating.
Upon my return home, the idea struck me; why do I not combine my writing and journalistic skills with this new (old) passion for sportsmanship and wilderness adventure.
The West-Can Trailsman - west-cantrailsman.blogspot.ca - was born about two weeks later. The blog/e-zine features articles, anecdotes and photographs of rural Western Canada and the activities that drive us to enter it. It covers everything from hiking, backpacking and kayaking to snowmobiling, hunting and fishing. I am in discussions with two contributors from British Columbia and hope to bring more on board from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta in the coming months.
Meanwhile, I am seeking ways of monetizing the site in order to derive an income outside of my work with The Old 21. It will be a challenge, but I have the time and enginuity to make it work, I'm sure.
Please wander over to the The West-Can Trailsman and tell me what you think. I look forward to hearing ideas on how I can improve it, further tailoring the blog to the likings of the contemporary outdoorsmen and women I know are out there in droves.
Otherwise, read it as motivation to get outside yourself. Being there has been instrumental in my rehabilitation from the tumour and a near-tragedy I was involved in during the flooding of the Qu'Appelle Valley in 2014.
Thanks for your continued interest in This Attempted Life and I hope you continue to follow the sporadic posts I have been publishing.