History and Adventures of Donna, The New Intern

The History and Adventures of our New Intern, Donna States

My name is Donna States and I have recently joined the Wild Craft Play team. I will be writing blogs such as this one and working out a campaign for the Wild Craft Play creation. I currently have two dogs and a cat.

I work 22 to 42 hours a week and I am in the third year of my Bachelor of Arts degree with a focus in Psychology. I heard about Wild Craft Play through one of my teachers. The idea of allowing children to discover the world around them with little guidance fascinates me and reminds me of my drive to explore. I applied for the Wild Craft Play internship in hopes of learning about how to open doors for children in this way. I hope to build on my creative nature and I want to view social media as a positive tool, rather than a distraction from real life.

My whole life revolved around the next hockey game. I played hockey since I was six years old and prior to that, I always went to the arena to watch my brother play hockey. When I was too old for minor hockey, it became more difficult to play regularly. A friend from my hockey team introduced me to Search and Rescue. Every Tuesday, Search and Rescue would meet at a different location to exercise mock searches. Being a part of Search and Rescue really helped me get a feel for different trails.  I began to explore the hiking around Nanaimo.

I remember my first time hiking up mount Benson. I had never sweat so much except when playing hockey. Noticing this shocked me. I could get the same exhilaration hiking that I love so much in hockey! I wanted more. I loved exploring new trails to find out where they went and how they all connected. When I had a free day, I would go to Westwood Lake and explore the trails behind the area.

Every new trail I found excited me.


I soon had a map in my head of Mount Benson, Westwood Ridge and the areas in between. It was time to find new ground. My first paid vacation in September of 2011 was a time for exploring. I was getting paid to discover the island.


My mother grew up in Tahsis, so I knew a little bit about its wonders. I stopped at various places in Strathcona Park along the way. One of them being Upana caves.

Upana caves is a small, dynamic cave system at the summit between Gold River and Tahsis. My love of caving began here. Caving includes many activities I love such as exploring, camping, hiking, rock climbing and underground tunnels (kind of like Jumping Jiminys, but outdoors and dirty).

At the end of a caving trip I am always covered head to toe in what I like to call ‘cave dust’. Many caves I have explored start out with huge tunnels that you can walk through, but as I am walking I tend to check out any passages I see along the way. I actually get disappointed when I see a promising tunnel that is only big enough for a small animal to get through.

I could talk about caving for hours; so enough about that! Before I discovered caving, my adventures were above ground. I took two backpacking camping trips to Bedwell Lake, in hopes of reaching Della Falls. My first trip in May, was a little too early in the year and the last snowfall of winter hindered my progress. My second trip in October, was a little too late and the first snowfall of the year surprised my group. We woke up in the morning to find a foot of snow covering our tents


Needless to say, I have not yet made it to Della Falls from Bedwell Lake.

Another backpacking adventure I had was into the northern Provincial Park of Cape Scott. My group camped at Nissan Bight and spent a day journey to the cape and back. In the process of filtering water for our camp, a friend and I came across the entry to the North Coast Trail. We decided to poke our heads in and find out what it was like. The trail was very small; little more than a deer trail. The forest around us was lush with incredibly vivid colours. It was like we entered a gateway into a fairy tale.

The feeling in the forest was magical and powerful. The trees seemed to be speaking with us. This is definitely an old growth forest. I will return one day to spend more time on the North coast trail; hopefully, before the area gets too popular and overdeveloped. Obviously, I have a passion for nature.

What is your outdoor adventure?

Wild Craft Play Media Team

Donna States