Wild Northerner Magazine 2015/16 Winter Issue - Page 42

“On one of our first trips, a person talked a lot about not liking getting older,” Dave said. “As we went through the trip and finished, this person talked about how he couldn’t have done something like that 20 years ago. It reversed his outlook on the aging process and what he could do and how he wanted to do more. It was touching and that is what drives us to keep going.”

Kielyn loves seeing people excited to tackle something they’ve only dreamed of. She and Dave do their best to encourage people to try new things and empower them for future experiences. Kielyn and Dave form more than great memories operating LOTN.

“It’s a continued relationship we have with the people who come on the journeys,” Kielyn said. “We’re making friends and building a community. It doesn’t stop at the end of a trip. We have bonding experiences with people that doesn’t happen anywhere else. We go from highs to lows and it creates a bond that makes a friendship last and is meaningful. People stay in touch with us all the time. It is neat to have that connection with people.”

LOTN puts an emphasis on unique winter travel experiences, such as the Explorer’s Club.

This is a highly-regarded experience that challenges participants to break new trails and leave a path for others to follow. Over the years, the couple has lead people on excursions to Ishpatina Ridge, across Killarney, to the Missinaibi headwaters, around Wolf Lake and travelled on the Arctic Ocean between the Pontax and Rupert Rivers on James Bay.

Explorer’s Club 2016 will be the Trans-Temagami Tour, a 14-day and 108-km journey, in late February and early March, that will cover a complete crossing of the Temagami wilderness from South to North.

LOTN has been doing trips in the North and South ends of the Temagami region for years and this trip will connect it all together.

“This is a trip Kielyn and I have been dreaming about,” Dave said. “The Explorer’s Club trips can be exciting and nerve-racking. We never know fully what we will encounter. It’s part of the appeal of the club. People know there is a chance we could have to turn back if things go wrong. It gives participants a real sense of adventure.”

Vanessa Rizzotto is a veteran of four trips with LOTN. They have been life-altering experiences. It keeps her coming back for more.

“At the time that I joined my first trip with LOTN, I was looking to be inspired in my life,” Rizzotto said. “I felt like my inner light was disappearing and I needed to find something to reignite it. LOTN reignited my inner light and joy. One of the greatest impacts the trips had on me was a feeling of invincibility. I was given the great sense my limits were mostly in my mind. I learned when you're exhausted and tired, and feel like you have nothing left to give, you dig down deep and realize you do. The trips have changed my life. I have simplified my life. I walk slower, I breath deeper, I observe more and I will always have an appreciation for what a team can accomplish when they come together.”

Rizzotto has high admiration for Kielyn and Dave and the way they present the ways of the wilderness to people. She sees them as role models. They keep her coming back for more.