Monthly Archives: September 2013

Millions-of-Eyes-Winking Lakes…and Invisible Caribou

Yesterday, I traveled about 50 km to see Maligne (muh-LEEN) Lake west and south of Jasper, AB. (Still waiting for my book manuscript and client product to arrive from the states, so I’m “stuck” here for a few more days.) I cooked myself dinner on the portable stove (fried potatoes), looking up every few minutes to see snippets of turquoise water peeking through the pine trees. I loved Maligne Lake, but I REALLY fell in love with Medicine Lake, a unique series of million-eyes-winking bodies of gently rippling water attached by meandering rivulets, embraced by mountains on all sides, some of them so big I felt as though God’s right-hand men (or women) were watching over me.

Jasper, AB, sightseeing - Medicine Lake, near Maligne Lake

Medicine Lake, southwest of Jasper, AB. Meandering rivulets connecting sparkling mini-lakes, with caribou footprints in the sandbars…wow.

Lots of sandbars with footprints on them…caribou! Didn’t see the actual animal, but the spirit of the place really snagged my imagination and intensified my feelings of connection with the natural world. How does a place so beautiful exist? I felt as though my eyes worked better when I was there, because I WANTED to see more. I wanted to really see what I was looking at. You can see more photos on Facebook later today (Foster Executive Writing & Editing).

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Dinner with a Stranger

9/24 I had dinner with a total stranger last night: Jacques Despres, part owner of LouLou’s restaurant. Actually, I can’t really call him a stranger anymore. I have gotten to know him and some of his workers while spending lots of time in the restaurant. Other than the Jasper library, it’s the only place I have really felt comfortable using the Internet for hours. The food is really good, and there’s a beautiful patio with big open windows in warm weather (not today). Thank you, Jacques. Everybody, go to his restaurant when you visit Jasper!!! To read business and writing tips and stories go to my blog at


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Thank You, Guardian Angels: A Retired Engineer, a Bus Driver and ?

One of the last days I was in Lake Louise was not my best day on the road. I was questioning my work, my trip and my life, to be honest. I have an almost unquenchable positivity about me–always have. But when I run out of positivity, I can crash pretty hard. I guess it’s because I’m not used to it. Thank goodness, the guardian angels were watching out for me. I was just kind of surprised at the form they took. Continue reading

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“Oh, sh–!” “Seriously?”: My Articulate Expression of Awe Upon Seeing the Canadian Rockies Between Lake Louise and Jasper

I really don’t swear that often. My friends would tell you, until I got divorced (the first time), they were shocked anytime they heard me say “damn.” I hate to admit, I do swear sometimes now. At bad drivers, mean people and injustices. I’m not proud of it, but there it is.

Yesterday and today, I found myself swearing at something that is NOT bad. No, it is very, very good. At the age of 54, I’ve seen a lot, and it’s tough to find something that takes my breath away…but God or somebody got the job done, and I didn’t have any other way to express myself.

Panoramic of glacial lake along Alberta's Icefields Parkway

From south to north along Canada’s Icefields Parkway–a big bite of the mountains my eyes gulped down between Lake Louise and Jasper. Wow. Just…wow.


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Camping Tip #237: Certified Safe Outhouse Use

Canada has really clean outhouses. Notice I didn’t write “really, really clean.” Any outhouse has it’s innate germiness. I have used more outhouses in the past four weeks than maybe in the last decade of my life. However, because I’ve been camping since before I can remember, I’ve used a lot of outhouses. You have to do it a certain way to not throw up every time you go. I thought I’d share my wisdom in this area for those who might need a little instruction on this very delicate, but very important, topic.

Certified Safe Outhouse User Procedure:

20130915-144202.jpg Continue reading

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I Knew Better: 4.8 km in Clogs with no Socks to Wapta Falls

I have all the gear: hiking boots with high tech socks, waterproof Eddie Bauer parka shell and wool sweater for waterproofness and insulation, hiker daypack by The North Face with a mini first aid kit, lighter, bear spray, multi tool, Kleenex, even a toothbrush.

When I happened upon a turn to the Wapta Falls trailhead just off of the Canadian Transcontinental Highway, I couldn’t resist the thought of taking all this gear down the 2.4 km trail to Wapta Falls and back; except that a family of four was headed down the trail at that very moment, and I thought it would be safer to hike near a group. That’s what they tell you in all the visitor’s centers. So I left certain pieces behind that would have taken me too long to prepare: boots and parka for one thing.

I was wearing a really good pair of clogs from Brown’s shoe store in Lincoln…the same place I got my Hawaiian sandals that form to the shape of the bare foot (orthopedic, but they don’t look like it). I left the wool sweater behind, because I was wearing a microfiber zip-up I had bought in Lake Louise (complete with the logo).

None if those omissions was critical, since I didn’t get lost overnight, I didn’t get hurt, and it didn’t rain. The family turned back partway down the trail, and I just made sure my keys jingled with every step to announce my presence to any wild creatures.

Turns out, the fateful omission that day was socks. Continue reading

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Takakkaw Falls, British Columbia: Windy, Cold and Wonderful

Lake Louise was beautiful, and it was torture to have to work for hours without hiking or canoeing there. I contented myself with sitting in the lounge and in the Glacier Saloon on two different days–for hours, thanks very much to the serving staff who put up with me (namely Belinda in the Fairmont Lake Louise Lounge, who served me for something between six and nine hours–I lost track). Every now and then, I’d peek around the corner behind me or look up from the table to see the most unbelievable view of the lake and the mountains.

The entire Lake Louise area was crowded because of the Canada Day long weekend before school started…much like Labor Day in the states, but worse because many families take off the week before or after the long weekend for extended vacations. You couldn’t even get to Lake Louise OR Moraine Lake without a LONG wait on the road. So I decided to leave the Banff National Park (in Alberta) and drive to Golden, British Columbia, where I hoped I could avoid the crowds, get some laundry done, do a pile of work, and go back later for some hikes, at least. I thought the drive to Golden would be blah, but it was the best drive of the entire trip! I made a great discovery, almost as if I was the first person to see it: Takakkaw Falls, near Field, British Columbia.  Continue reading

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Camping Tip #684: Saving the Bread from a Swim

Put food in ziplock bags in the cooler, so it doesn’t get soggy. Make sure the openings are facing upward, out of the way of the future melted ice. Somehow a little water still gets in, but it helps. If you want to put bread or something else delicate in the cooler, first place an empty ice bag on top of everything else. Don’t tuck it in; instead curl the edges up. Then put the bread on top. If the empty bag slides down, the upturned edges help keep the bread dry. Great place for candy bars, too. There you go!

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Blogs about Writing and Marketing Here:!

Other than my children and my family, I have two loves in my life: writing and travel. Travel is a new serious endeavor, and I’m having a ball sharing what I see and discover out here on the road. But I also love writing, and I realize you might or might not be interested in both. For that reason, I keep two blogs–one about each of my loves. If you are curious what I’m finding on the road and want a few tips to make travel easier when you have a chance to shuck the daily grind, visit me here at If you have an interest in writing, or you own a business and need help getting the word out through great messaging, visit me at You can also visit my Facebook page: Foster Executive Writing & Editing LLC.

I admit the lines will blur at times: the writing blogs will mention travel, and the travel blogs will mention writing. In my life, they are becoming forever and happily intertwined! See you tomorrow online…

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I Met an Ice Road Trucker…and a Former Defense Policy Advisor to the Minister of Ottawa

The trucker’s name was Wally, and the policy advisor/consultant’s name was Richard. (Hi, gentlemen…I hope you get to read this.) These two are among a number of people I’ve met on the road in the past couple of weeks. Interestingly, most of the people I talked with long enough to find out their story…are men.

Say hello to a man and you learn his life’s story. Say hello to a woman and she looks at you suspiciously and wants to know what you want. Continue reading

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