You’ve heard that we are all connected to each other, separated generally by no more than six steps from any other person.

In this case, the six degrees were literal: water temperature in Celsius for white-water rafting down Toby Creek. This was the first of three adventures this past week that have me wondering about a source of exhilaration. With Andrew front and center, and Paula and I leading each side of paddlers, we negotiated our way down class three rapids and high water. There was an element of beauty, a bit or risk, and physical engagement.

Another journey was on a morning here in Fairmont Hot Springs, BC, that began with a solo bike ride along the Columbia River. Just a few blocks from hordes of time-sharing vacationers is a Provincial Park with no motorized vehicle access allowed. There are views of the Rockies on one side and the Purcell Mountains on the other, with glimpses of Columbia Lake as you ride the rocky trail. Some real communing with nature as there was not another soul along the path.

The height of exhilaration and a significant rise on the risk/adrenaline scale was jumping off a cliff about 10 meters into a lake. One of the rafting guides told us about this secluded spot. Andrew was keen to give in a whirl and I was intrigued. Paula did some awesome intuitive navigating to land us at the trailhead to Twin Lakes. After surveying the scene and selecting a moderate height from which to propel myself, I plummeted into water no warmer than what we experienced on a brief dip in Toby Creek. The fear on the second jump was as much the landing in the frigid water as it was the drop.

What made these adventures exhilarating? One common feature was all of them took place in nature in the majestic Columbia River Valley. Much like my time in Georgian Bay last month, the message is reinforced how valuable it is for me to spend time in nature. There was some novelty, unknown, and at least a bit of risk in each endeavor. Perhaps that is part of waking up to full aliveness. There was also a definite physicality that I’m already clear is core to exhilaration. What do you see in these exploits? What do you see as something to take away for yourself?

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