Torch Valley Country Retreats
An Eco-friendly, Year-round Get-away Destination
by Carol Marriott
Where souls are inspired, hearts are opened, health is renewed, and peace is possible.
When we heal ourselves, others are healed. When we nurture our dreams, we give birth to the dreams of humankind. When we walk as loving aspects of the Earth Mother, we become the fertile, life-giving Mothers of the Creative Force. When we honour our bodies, our health, and our emotional needs, we make space for our dreams to come into being. When we speak the truth from our healed hearts, we allow life abundant to continue on our Mother Planet. —Jamie Sams
The soul-inspired, heart-based, eco-tourism business created by Jean and George Lidster, called Torch Valley Country Retreats, embodies the truth of this quote above. As Oprah would say “This I know for sure.” If you do things in your life with love and passion, you can change the world and contribute to the well-being of the whole. This is truly what the Lidsters are offering on their 2,000 acres of natural land at the edge of the boreal forest on the Torch River, just north of Nipawin.
Eco-tourism is defined as an enlightening nature travel experience. It is nature-based tourism which involves responsible travel to natural areas supporting the fauna, flora, and local economy. It focuses on education and interpretation of the natural environment that appeals to ecologically- and socially-conscious individuals, with an intention of minimal impact on the ecosystems, and is ecologically sustainable.
The above description captures the essence of our visit to Torch Valley Country Retreats. The low impact but beautifully constructed and furnished log cabins, made from logs harvested from the Lidster’s land, including logs reclaimed after a forest fire burned through a large portion of the land a few years ago, were built with respect and minimal disturbance of the natural surroundings.
The magic of this place was palpable as soon as we stepped onto the land. The warm and friendly greeting from Jean and George put us at ease immediately. After a brief and welcoming conversation, George was eager to lead me and my companion to our cabin. He hopped onto his quad and we followed him in our car along a sandy trail called River Road to Cabin Number 3. This is the newest of three custom-designed log cabins, that sits peacefully amongst the trees, on a ridge that has several well-trimmed and marked trails leading down to the winding Torch River.
A large bird feeder sits among the trees in front of the cabin providing guests with a front-row seat to remarkable bird watching in all four seasons. Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, American Gold Finch, Evening Grosbeaks, Humming Birds, and many others. For novice bird enthusiasts like us, there is a thrill in discovering the variety of species we were able to identify with the help of the local bird books provided in the cabin. In addition to these books, we discovered, to our delight, a library filled with other books by local writers, naturalists, photographers, artists, and poets capturing the history and natural wonder of this area.
I am interested and curious about what inspires people to create a “business”. When I look up the word entrepreneur in the dictionary, I am dissatisfied with the meanings that I find. Words like tycoon, mogul, industrialist, and capitalist do not capture, for me, the sense of spirit and passion that I know exists for the kind of “business”, such as the Lidsters’, that is created from heart, passion, and a desire to be of service, or enhance another’s life. On the other hand, when I look up the word passion, I find the meanings I am looking for. Words such as excitement, infatuation, ardour, zeal, and delight, more fittingly describe the type of “business” Torch Valley Country Retreats embodies.
In the spirit of the growing field of nature and animal-assisted interventions and therapies where people can engage with plants, animals, nature, and every aspect of Mother Earth, this all-season eco-tourism destination gently “holds the space” where guests can relax, re-energize, create, and connect with the beauty and wonder of the natural world in any month of the year. From gentle walking to vigourous hiking in the woods, from crossledding (snowmobiling) to snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing on miles of groomed trails, from canoeing and cycling to swimming and sunbathing, from bird-watching to whittling, from relaxing and reading in the gazebo on the river to the warmth and charm of the campfire, from gazing at Northern Lights to warming up by the indoor fireplace, from choosing a movie to watch or a book to read and relaxing with a cup of tea to barbequing your favourite foods, no matter what your interests and delights may be Torch Valley offers something for everyone who finds nature to be a source of joy, healing, and rejuvenation. And for those who prefer to have guided tours, just ask the Lidsters and they will organize it.
Guided and inspired by their passion and desire to preserve this land and to share it with others and create opportunities for sustainable eco-tourism in their community, the Lidsters have created a home away from home where visitors from nearby and around the world can experience Saskatchewan in its natural splendour. If you should decide to venture to this pristine land, you can be assured of seeing a glorious sunset, of hearing the night calls of various birds and animals such as thrushes, owls, whippoorwills, grouse drumming, coyotes howling, and if you are lucky, the call of a timber wolf. We thoroughly enjoyed our second year in Cabin Number 3 and have already booked for May, 2010. Perhaps we will meet you on their trails next year. For information and bookings visit www.torchvalleycountryretreats.com, or call (306) 276-2567, and see the Directory of Services ad on page 31 of the 15.2 July/August issue of WHOLifE Journal.
Carol Marriott is a Certified Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL) facilitator and the “Lead Mare” at Ravenheart Farms near Humboldt, SK. For more information, workshop dates, and/or private or group sessions call (306) 682-4641, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit: www.ravenheartfarms.com and see the colour display ad on page 43 of the 15.2 July/August
issue of the WHOLifE Journal. . On July 10-12 she and Patrick Harbula will be co-facilitating the 3rd Annual Primal Fire Intensive Retreat at Ravenheart Farms. For information and registration see the full page colour display ad on page 4 of the 15.2 July/August
issue of the WHOLifE Journal.