I was gone from home and everything I knew for more than three months, living in places unfamiliar to me around people I did not know or barely knew. The Canadian Rockies and the U.S. Pacific Northwest consumed me. Like a wave, the experience swept away many pains, frustrations and annoying attitudes that had been poisoning me. Okay…I know I’m being dramatic. But I believe this trip was a truly life-changing one for me. I am a new person. I am admittedly still annoyed with a lot of things, both about the trip and about life in general. But the shadows I suspect will prove to be permanent are the good ones–memories that will transform into glowing backward-looking beacons of happiness in my old age. The bad memories of my trip are fading, along with bad memories from eons ago. Give me a few more weeks, and I’ll be safe to be around again.
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.
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
“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.
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