A long walk alone for two or three weeks is something that might drive the average person crazy, but for a retired forest researcher from Williams Lake it provides quiet time surrounded by the beauty of nature.
Walking is a favourite thing to do when he travels in Europe with his partner Jane Perry, said Pat Teti who embarked on a walkabout in the Chilcotin during the third week of September.
It was the trips in Europe that made him think he should do more walking trips closer to home.
Teti and Perry live on the west side of Williams Lake and last year he walked out the door and headed west toward Bella Coola along Highway 20.
“I stopped because of weather and bad choice of foot wear,” Teti said, noting he made it about a third of the way there.
The plan for his 2020 walkabout, if the weather holds up, is to go as far west as Heckman Pass and then make his way back to the Tatla Lake area and possibly Puntzi Lake.
“I’ve decided what I really like is just being out there and it’s not about getting from point A to point B.”
There are a couple of reasons why he is not walking all the way to Bella Coola — going down the long steep hill would be hard on his knees when he’s pulling a trailer with the heavy weight behind him and camping in grizzly bear country is also an issue during salmon migration season.
Last year he borrowed a bike trailer for a child, which worked quite well, and this year ordered a kit from Southern Ontario to make his own pull trailer.
“It will be a bit of an adventure just trying out the new trailer,” he said, noting it is like a rickshaw and has two poles coming forward that he can attach to a waist belt or pull with his hands. “I modelled the one I made a little bit off the Thule Chariot I borrowed.”
Teti is aiming to walk for at least two weeks and departed from Bull Canyon on Highway 20 the third week of September.
He will try to walk 20 kilometres a day, and will pack a week’s supply of food with his cook stove in a bear-resistant container.
Ahead of time he planned to mail off another week’s supply of food to friends in Tatla Lake.
“It is all freeze dried — some I bought and some I’ve made,” he said of the food.
As the days unfold, Teti said he gets into a meditative state.
“When you are by yourself for days on end, your mind wants to fill in the empty spaces,” he explained. “It’s a certain kind of sensory deprivation because you’ve got a whole lot of physical stimulation, but no social stimulation. It’s really cool because I think about things that happened decades ago and I think of friends that I haven’t thought about in years.”
It is almost like a movie or dialogue playing in the front of his brain, he added.
When asked if he talks out loud, he said he doesn’t think he does.
Originally from West Virginia, Teti arrived in Williams Lake for work in 1992 for the Ministry of Forests and retired 10 years ago.
He was a board member of the Potato House Society for six years and is presently on the Station House Gallery board of directors.
When he’s not walking or volunteering he loves to bake, especially bread, and will be taking a lot of his home-made survival bars on the walkabout for his lunches.