I was driving intently along Highway 99 with my eyes on the road, barreling down and buzzing up the canyon hills, stopping only occasionally to get out and pay the beautiful terrain proper respect with dropped jaw and hastily snapped photo. My destination was the Vancouver International Film Festival, and I was already late. Continue reading
Category Archives: canada
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).
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 fosterwriting.com.
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:
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
I don’t know what Minnewanka means yet. I’m sitting, as we speak, on a tourist barge in Banff National Park (Alberta). About to go out boating on a 14-km-long lake named Minnewanka. Anyone who has been here will probably tell you the most striking things about this place are the incandescent blue-green water and the pastry-like mountains, with layers of rock that make them look like cakes of baklava…huge baklava. Dessert to salve the spirits of the mountain giants.
Our tour guide is Todd, and the skipper is amazingly just 20 years old…Pierre. He says he has been working here all his life. I’m sitting in the second tier of seats, up toward the back where I can hear the growl of the engine as we pull away from the dock and out into the peaking little waves. Continue reading