Stefan and Athena embarked on a different sort of adventure at the start of September. Stefan began his Masters in Social Work in Calgary while Athena is holding down the fort in Vancouver.
Athena considered writing this new long distance aspect into the Horace & Abigail story as well, but ultimately decided against it. Drawing Horace and Abigail by each other’s sides felt therapeutic and also still very true to the lives of their semi-autobiographical counterparts.
There is no view quite like this.
For over twenty years, paddlers with a wide range of disabilities have come together for a weekend of adaptive kayaking at Alice Lake in Squamish, BC—about an hour’s drive outside of Vancouver. This was my third time at the camp and the second where Stefan was able to join me.
As you can see from the photos, we had absolutely spectacular weather this year and a great time out on the water.
The kayaks are outfitted to accommodate different strengths and abilities. I unfortunately wasn’t able to paddle this year because my back was being particularly cranky, so I left all the paddling work to Stefan while I took pictures. I have however paddled in years past thanks to this special paddling rig invented by Bruce Fuoco. The rig holds the weight of the paddle so that the person with a disability only needs to swing it. It can also be repositioned if someone has more strength in their right or left arm. Some of the kayaks are also outfitted with pontoons for extra safety and stability.
Read more about Bruce’s adaptive paddling system
I love being out on the water—just the sway of the kayak and sun on my face. When I am able to contribute to the paddling that adds a new dimension. I get to feel the resistance on the paddle when it hits the water and know that I’m helping to propel the kayak forward. It’s an amazing thing to experience.
When the paddlers aren’t out on the water, we stay at the nearby Easter Seals Camp in Squamish. The camp is especially outfitted for people with disabilities, so it’s more like ‘glamping’ than camping. We sleep on beds in dorms, swim in the indoor heated pool and toast s’mores at the bonfire in the covered gazebo in the evening.
The first year Stefan and I went to camp together we found a wheelchair accessible treehouse in the nearby woods. You got to the top via an enormously long ramp, but unfortunately the gate to the ramp was locked so we had to content ourselves with a photo from the ground. This year however we found the gate unlocked and spent quite a bit of time inside checking out all the views. Hanging out in a treehouse is certainly not an everyday experience for a wheelchair user!
As always, many thanks to the staff and volunteers from the Vancouver Parks Board, Power To Be and InterFit. Their time, energy and commitment is what makes the camp such a awesome experience every year.
We’ll be back!
In the latest Tilted Windmills webcomic, we catch a glimpse of the day-to-day routines of Horace the Tortoise and Abigail Mouse. While Abigail reveals herself to be a morning mouse, Horace is something of a night owl.
Also, introducing our newest character, Lola the Dog.
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Stefan and Athena
“I think, as this body’s guardian, I have to say, you know what, if you’re still fighting, then I gotta fight along with you.”
In our second podcast, Athena and I discuss the impact of chronic pain and how to live with it.
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