It's important to remember what Hazel's Heroes and Hazel's Helper are all about. Many of you who have followed this blog from the beginning will know why I embark on these extended adventures but I will explain again for those who have recently started to follow my posts.
After my infant granddaughter, Hazel, died suddenly in her sleep her parents, Gill and Gareth, had to struggle through the trauma and grief caused by her death with no one who really understood. After suffering through a dark period and experiencing the lack of easily accessible and meaningful support that she needed, Gill decided to do something about it. She created Hazel's Heroes, an organisation to provide support to mothers who have lost an infant child and to raise awareness about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Sydrome) and SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death). She became active in SIDS Calgary (https://sidscalgary.ca) an organisation that is "committed to providing support to families, representing the interests of parents, educating healthcare professionals as well as the public, and raising funds for SIDS research." Gill also wanted to provide the support that she found lacking after Hazel died so she made it her goal to establish a retreat for mothers so that they could spend some time with others who shared a similar loss. With her focus and energy she has been able to fund and organize three successful retreats at a beautiful Kananaskis mountain resort.
"Whatever the circumstances of the death, or the age of their grandchild, grandparents often say the hardest part is observing the pain and intense grief of their son or daughter while feeling helpless, useless and impotent." (Child Bereavement UK) This observation was true for me when Hazel died. I didn't know what to provide or how to provide what Gareth and Gill needed as they struggled with their devastating loss. It was only when Gill started Hazel's Heroes that I realized how I could actively help to support her and at the same time find a way to work through my own grief. I decided to take action by becoming Hazel's Helper, a plan that would meet four goals: to help raise awareness about SIDS and SUID, to raise money to help Gill make her retreats a reality, to come to terms with Hazel's death, and to share my passion for outdoor adventure with Hazel. As a result I have been on an annual adventure with Hazel since 2017. This blog is intended to share with you the journeys that we have done and if you scroll down to the start in 2017 you can share them too.
The Bowron Lake Circuit
A scaleable version of this map is available at:
The Bowron Lake Circuit is a canoe/kayak route that I first attempted in 2012. I started my paddle at the end of May in a kayak that I had just bought and in which I had minimum experience. Once I was on Issac Lake, the long lake that runs from the northwest to the southeast, I was assaulted by winds blowing directly against me. At one point I was paddling hard and I looked at my GPS and my speed was zero. Not only that, but significant waves had developed which I was comfortable paddling through as long as I was close to shore but I was not confident that I could safely turn round and head back to a campsite to wait out the wind. As a result I kept paddling to the next campsite and eventually after camping a couple of times I reached the end of the lake. But I was exhausted so I had to ask the park rangers to get me out before I ventured past the end of the lake into an area where I would be putting myself at greater risk and help would be more difficult to get.
I don't like to fail so this year, 2019, I returned with a canoe and a companion, Keith Marsh.
I'm a grandfather who lost an infant granddaughter and who wants to help Gillian, her mother, provide support for other grieving parents through Hazel's Heroes.