In the wilderness lies the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau
The journey into the Toba Valley
Early this morning we took leave from the soft beds in Strathcona Lodge that we had come to love in order to go to the Toba Valley. At least that was the plan until we (or rather Kai) noticed that there was no bus. As we environmental ambassadors had breakfast, a replacement bus was organized. In addition, David drove with his van. After a rocky start, we all arrived at the dock on time and boarded a small boat… all except Kai, David and Tobi, who traveled in a rubber speedboat behind us. But Kai couldn’t stand the adverse conditions and after about a half hour he got into the larger, covered boat. In the meantime it had started to rain. We traveled over the ocean for a while, past many small, forested islands and had a relaxing, fun time. All of a sudden the boat stopped. Our captain pointed to the shoreline and said: “There’s a grizzly!” We all looked in the direction in which he pointed, unbelieving, and all we could recognize were a few boulders. But he was sure of it and navigated the boat closer and closer to the shore. All of a sudden I saw it too: the legendary grizzly. It was still quite young and not very shy, so we could watch it for about 20 minutes, until the rubber dinghy caught up with us.
After another little while we arrived at the Toba Inlet in the early afternoon, and got off the boat to a provisional intermediate stop. But from here we could only continue travel with the smaller boat. We did not intend to spend a lot of time on the rock, but were able to soak up some sun and rest, while David, Kai and Ronny brought the first supplies and luggage to the sand bank further up the river, in a place where we intended to spend the night. Correct: intended. Most of us were still in the intermediate camp. After the first Tour, Caro, Jette and Henri were taken to the camp. After that the floods came, lots of wind and high waves so that there was no possibility to transport anything else. Only Henri and David came back to us, to get some food and sleeping supplies for the pioneers in the Toba. After they left we began to prepare ourselves for the night, putting up tarps and tents, making dinner and a campfire, and stowing all of the strong-smelling supplies in a place safe from bears. In the group there were mixed feelings about the night ahead: The joy of discovering something new, respect, maybe a bit of fear. I would love to know what others were thinking, and write about that, but at the moment we don’t have any contact to them. Surely they will tell us all about their heroic adventures tomorrow.