In the wilderness lies the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau

Into the wilderness: Toba Valley

Felix Happy Birthday, Lina! Today we are starting out on our big expedition on the mainland. We start with a fast boat from Campbell River. Our route leads us from Vancouver Island through the offshore island group of the Coastal Mountains. The wind blows through my hair. Rising out of the sea are steep cliffs, crowned by gleaming glaciers, with snow melting from the shining sun, mountain streams crashing into the ocean. The waterfalls wash out gigantic rock formations. I see more and more brown spots (huge clear cuts) than I would have thought, and they ruin the idyllic landscape. When we reach the Toba Delta, I am curious: Now we have to find a helicopter landing area. Not a permanent one, just one on the coast, in the forest! The way into the wilderness is difficult and almost only possible and safe by helicopter. The group and I drag what feels like 10 tons of luggage from the boat onto land. I nod off in the shade of our landing spot, but the loud whipping of rotor blades pulls me back into the here and now. We chose an old wood loading station as a landing zone (due to the space) and the air pressure of the landing helicopter send all the pieces of wood lying about me flying. The helicopter ride is fantastic: snow-covered peaks (more than 2000 meters high) line the snaking great Toba River and the flight is calmer than I would have thought. When we arrive on the sandbank of an old tributary of the river I am soaked through with sweat, on the one hand from the heat, on the other hand because of my excitement. The only thing that helps is a cool bath in the glacier water of the river. On the island I see a lot of elk tracks, but I am attacked by mosquitos and horseflies. We spend the evening at the campfire with s’mores (super-yummy marshmallow-biscuit-chocolate desserts). Our sand bank shrinks – in the evenings, after the sunny day, the water level of the glacial river rises. Translated by Pilar Wolfsteller Photos: © Wilderness International

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