I’m not exactly the adventurous type. Like actor Torrance Coombs, BFA’05 (see page 52), I fear bears. Even a gentle hike through the BC countryside reduces me to a highly-strung, pepper-spray-clutching phobic (minimum of two canisters, because I read somewhere that one in three fail) who is not so much communing with nature as wishing she could be looking at it from behind a nice window instead.
I’m a pasty-faced editor who prefers to adventure vicariously from the comfort of home – and more likely to die as a result of Vitamin D deficiency than a bear attack. Perhaps that’s why there’s no shortage of adventurous types to read about in this issue.
We’re talking about UBC folk who have trekked halfway up Mount Everest, spent 51 days at sea in a rowboat, or lived for a week in a temporary city in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Their stories all involve challenge and excitement, sometimes too much excitement, but they have something else in common too – there was purpose to the adventure. From championing the environment to conducting health research to creating memorable art with a message, these adventurers were in it for more than the thrills.
By far the most impressive story in this issue, though, is that of Charlie Crane. I’ve worked on campus for more than 10 years. I’ve walked past Brock Hall more than a thousand times. But I’ve been only vaguely aware that somewhere inside is the Crane Library for the visually impaired, and until recently knew nothing at all about the man it’s named after.
Charlie Crane lost his sight and hearing before he reached the age of one. He didn’t learn to speak until he was 10 and experienced the world mostly through his fingertips. Despite the obstacles, Crane developed an insatiable love of literature and learning that led to his being accepted at UBC as a student – the first deafblind person to study at a Canadian university. He earned the respect and affection of his fellow students and was easily the boldest adventurer you’ll read about in these pages.
And lastly… SURPRISE! In case you hadn’t noticed, Trek has had a bit of a facelift. We hope you enjoy the changes. Your feedback is welcome.
Vanessa Clarke, Editor