Now get the heck off the trail!
(I encountered a grizzly bear moments later..)
not the places you go that matter, it's the people you meet
along the way.
I wouldn't agree with this statement - I've always valued the
destinations while traveling - but then again, I'd never traveled
by bicycle before, let alone through the Southeast corner of
a certain spirit abound in the Kootenays. You can sense things
are different here. Maybe it's the fresh air and clean water,
or the "outdoorsy" atmosphere that make people interested
in the guy with a solar panel strapped to his bike, or perhaps
within these huge mountain valleys there's just a little extra
room for an open mind - particularily in Nelson, a town that
seems more accepting of dreadlocks and hemp clothing than of
Nelson Open-Air Market
Get your hemp and crystal-based products here.
every single day of my journey I have met at least one person
who intrigues me or inspires me - but the Kootenays were different.
The phenomenon seemed to be nearly hourly.
I had a hard time leaving Nelson. Then it become impossible.
I broke 8 spokes and suddenly I was back - hitchhiking into
town with characters colourful enough to put a Skittles bag
to shame. There's something that makes one smile - and a little
nervous - about riding shotgun (nearly literally) in a rusty
pickup truck, drinking beer and bouncing down the highway along
stunning Kootenay Lake with a man who had just buried his dog
on a mountainside. Pretty soon, I was deposited back on a friend's
doorstep looking pathetic but happy to have returned. A return
to a warm showers and warm feet. A return to good food and conversation.
A mere moment to enjoy normal life, friendship and not worrying
if tonight is going to be regular cold or extra super-duper
cold, or whether a bear will steal my food during the night
or a whether a thunderstorm will trap me inside my tent the
hate that ****ing blonde in there with the huge ***s,
she doesn't do a ****ing thing! Oh! Sweetie... you look
tired and thirsty, would you like me to buy you a coke?"
Customer outside the general store in Elko, BC
there are the people you meet that make you shake your head
and laugh. The road has its own charm, and the promise you'll
hear some outrageous things or meet some colourful characters.
One such person was named Mazy.
KVR, I met a woman from Vancouver who was riding her bike in
the opposite direction. She said she had lost her 3 other friends
who were riding along with her - and who were also carrying
her stove and repair kit, though she was carrying the food.
While I seemed impressed by the strange predicament she was
in, she was equally perplexed by the fact that I was walking
around camp wearing one shoe.
City of Nelson
As high as you can legally get in Nelson
explained that I had lost one of my prized Croc shoes farther
back on the trail. Though I didn't mention it, the Crocs had
belonged to my father - and while, yes, you can buy these cheap,
ugly rubber shoes for about $10, they carry a certain sentimental
value to me, even though they're falling apart and clearly are
easy to lose.
a strange thing happened when I arrived to the town of Midway
a couple of days later. There, shoved into a crevice of the
Welcome sign, was my missing Croc! How in the world could it
have beaten me here? Inside was a note from Mazy, explaining
that I should buy new shoes, but that she had found my Croc
and had a feeling that I'd find it if she put it in the right
are still going strong, even if one took a shortcut in a car.
Carrie says, "Respect the Hat!"
point of the story however has little to do with Crocs, which
by the way make excellent bike-trip camp shoes (ultralight,
you can wear socks, they dry instantly, etc). The point is with
the Crocs represented to me - the thought of carrying something
of my father's along on the journey. In reality, I'm carrying
many things that belonged to him, there was just something about
his shoes that seem more symbolic - walking in his footsteps,
while shaving one morning, I looked in the mirror and saw that
I was carrying something else. I saw my own face looking back,
but in that moment I saw my father's face looking back. I've
been carrying along his genes as well. I'm carrying his wrinkles
(getting there!), jaw line and cheekbones (though luckily not
the same hairline - yet). My father is with me every day of
this journey, whether or not I carry the rain pants, or the
flashlight, or the pen that I gathered from his belongings after
he died. Though helpful, these items have lost of a lot of the
symbolism I gave them before starting the journey. I have something
far more rare and special to carry along to remind me of him.
of the Missing Croc:
Case closed. Moving on.
was right after all. The Crocs are just cheap rubber shoes.
However, they're still here with me, falling apart and looking
shabby - but they're not here because they were my father's;
it's because I'm too cheap to buy another pair.
town of Sparwood lies Crowsnest Pass, a cut in the Rockies which
will deposit me directly into the Canadian prairies, south of
Calgary, Alberta. From here, the journey will leave the Trans
Canada Trail and join mostly paved higways - though minor and
mostly untraveled - en route towards Winnipeg. Thanks for following