CANADA, BRITISH COLUMBIA

CANADA, BRITISH COLUMBIA

Day 3:  Mount Robson to Fraser (446 Km)

The day of fright: Code PO442

I wake up under the immense mass of Mount Robson, covered with low clouds, so low that they seem to embrace you with their tiny drops of water. Tamely, it rains. This seems like a beautiful place, scored for the return, but for that, there are two months left.

The relationship between Van and its occupants is narrowing, we are already getting to know each other, everything is placed in a way that is comfortable, that nothing falls into the curves, that the box of clothes that I have under the body does not move bed … starting to live a place to make it home. And singing, loudly, I make kilometres through these green, green landscapes, dotted with pink, with the black asphalt line as the only witness of civilization. He had announced a town … where? I have not been able to find it, it must have been that pair of wooden houses that I saw a few kilometres ago, and the towns are so minimal here.

Suddenly, in the dashboard light comes on that I don’t know. I get scared I immediately pay attention to oil levels, temperature, brakes, water, gasoline … it’s none of them. Everything seems to be fine, the van circulates comfortably at the strict 90 Km/hour, but the light does not go out and I have no idea what it means. I stop at the first parking lot on the road and call my son Daniel and explain what happens. It’s a motor problem, mom, he tells me. You have to look for a workshop immediately, it can be serious. The next town, Mc Bride, is 80 kilometres away. Go slowly, mom, and you are telling me, says my son trying to take the matter away.

My world collapses, I see the end of the adventure, I want to cry, dead of disgust in a lonely parking lot on the third day of leaving. I make coffee, smoke a cigarette, get wet looking at the gray sky above my head and ask the goddesses a little, just a little compassion.

 

With a shrunken soul, I reach Mc Bride, just a gas station, a couple of shops, a small blue church and the workshop my son found for me. I tell you what happens to the car and the girl in the office, listless and sad, tells me that she is sorry, but that the motor check control has it on the mountain, that they have had a breakdown and they don’t know when she will be back, maybe tomorrow , tells me, wrapped in sadness. Go to Prince George, advise me.

Another 200 kilometers of anguish. It rains, now torrentially, the road is a lagoon, the world around does not exist, the water curtain erases everything, the trucks cause in its wake a horizontal deluge.

I’m so exhausted from driving in this rain that I see the announcement of a Cedar Forest, the Ancient Forest/Chun T’oh Whudujut.

We went down for a walk a little, this time with a friendly, gentle rain. The path between this century-old cedar forest is a raised wooden corridor, a delight of place that reconciles me with this morning of anguish. The leaves of the shrubs, immense, collect the rain, like huge trays that offer their water to the hundreds of birds that populate this fragrant and clean fairytale forest.

Blue, who, despite not knowing what distresses me, does know That I’m distressed, doesn’t separate from me. Smell, sniff, chase a stretch of squirrels and come back next to me jumping for happy dog.

After the walk through the forest I find myself better, I face the kilometers that I have left to Prince George in a more positive way. From a few lilmeters before you know it’s a big city, two-lane road and constructions around. ! It’s huge!

I decide to enter through the area of the industrial estates, and in the first workshop I see I go down and ask them. A very old lady, but about 80 years old, tells me that they don’t do that and, in the summun of kindness, makes me a map pointing out the three workshops around that could look at my car. I greatly appreciate your gesture.

In the first of the workshops they tell me no, but in the second a nice guy tells me that if I can wait a while, I connect the “tester” and see what happens to the car. I make myself something to eat, I’m really tired, it’s stopped raining and the day, although gray, has a beautiful light.

! Code PO442! That’s been the favorable diagnosis of my car that takes me upside down all morning. And it seems the whole problem is that it doesn’t fit the gas tank closure well. With not filling the gas tank butt, problem solved, the mechanic tells me.

And he doesn’t charge me anything! The people around here are friendly and friendly. Despite the scare, it was a beautiful morning.

Poor Blue with a face of grief on the shop door.

They’re going to be a beautiful walk these 158km to Fraser Lake,the White Swan Capital of the world, they say. What has seduced me from this place is a beautiful municipal caravan park, with all services, and FREE, next to a beautiful lake.

The afternoon is dark and misty, the road with little traffic, cereal plots on the edge, huge expanses of corn, thousands of cows grazing in the meadows, the smell of freshly cut grass, perfectly delimited farms and plots, the rural Britsh Columbia and Agricultural. Beautiful.

The ideal place to spend tonight, get some rest and keep thinking about how I’m going to build a bookshelf for the books.

I’ve already decided where I’m going to place it. In the Rockies, on the bank of the Saskatchewan River, I found some woods at the water’s edge, curved, old, beautiful. Just the basis on which the books will support. Here’s the challenge: use only waste materials, reusing everything you find, without buying anything at all.

Day 5 from Fraser Lake to Telkwa – 198 Km.

The first American paella

We are in Telkwa on the farm of Paul and Marlene, with their children, a poet friend, their two dogs … And pigs, cows, sheep, chickens, alpacas, turkeys and some other animal that I do not remember.

A few months ago I signed up on a page of those to share house and chores, I uploaded a video telling my project and Paul wrote to me, offering me the possibility of spending a few days with them in his Farm, the Happy pig organic farm. I put the address on the GPS and I turn, following the indications until I reach the river, I enter three farms, I ask, there is no way … the GPS tells me a place every time. Finally, a charming gentleman tells me where he is, and when I am almost arriving a car comes to rescue me: it is Paul, who has seen my van go by and is aware of the GPS misses on this site.

Organic chicken paella, with organic vegetables and a delicious also organic Argentine Malbec.

I have traveled the farm with Paul, who has been telling me how they move animals in that huge land, how they feed them, winters and snow, the love they put in what they do this beautiful family moves me. From the living room of his beautiful house, you can see the whole farm. While it is time for paella, we have a beer and talk about how wonderful it is to be able to connect like this, from the other side of the ocean, and be here now, talking and smiling.

 

Paul has prepared a fire and we have begun to cook the paella, on fire, as it should be.

It has been a great afternoon.

Blue has a problem with black pigs and after much fighting with them, has touched the electric fence, has gotten a good scare and has not come back … With the hens has fixation, the Canadians were not going to be less, and he also likes to run after them.

Here he is now next to me, exhausted the little dog.

 

The afternoon passes between talks, poetry, stories of the farm and a wonderful sun that illuminates us until almost eleven at night.

How grateful I am to life!

Already in the morning, breakfast with the family and we start again.

Thanks Paul and Marlene, your love will always travel with me.


CANADA: ALBERTA, FROM CALGARY TO MOUNT ROBSON

CANADA: ALBERTA, FROM CALGARY TO MOUNT ROBSON

We are on the road, the adventure really begins now!

Day 1 from CALGARY to LAKE LOUISE (185 km)

It will be almost ten thousand kilometres, Blue and I aboard this newly finished van, comfortable and beautiful, “very girl” for its finishes in fabrics of flowers and plants on the walls. So we really are three living beings here, a human, a dog and some plants.

I left Calgary at almost 9 p.m., much later than planned, and although I don’t like traveling at night, between last-minute purchases, the baptism of the Van, filling up the deposit Gasoline, my son Daniel’s last instructions on the electrical system and all that little things, I have been late, really late, but I was determined to start this trip on July 1.

When I have started and headed to Lake Louise, the first jewel of the Rockies, right at the first traffic light, has begun to sound “Tajebone”that wonderful song by Ismael Lö and some sweet and liberating tears have swept me away … for leaving my son, whom I have seen only a week, for the adventure itself, for the tension of the last days preparing the van for the race, because I am crazy, absolutely and irresponsibly crazy to start this trip at night, raining and with a car that I barely control, but I wanted to wake up in the Rockies.

It rains heavy through the highway, I am not yet familiar with the wiper controls, there are hardly any cars on the road and although it is almost eleven at night and there should be a pale sun still in the sky, it is closed night.

My plan was to sleep at Mosquito Creek, the first place I slept two years ago in the Rockies. When I turn the detour to the Icefield Parkway, which is already a two-way road, narrow and dark, I am about to turn around; The night is difficult and it seems that there is mud on all the detours, even so I continue walking a few more kilometers, until finally, in a stretch without curves, I decide to go around and return.

I recognize the fear, I assume it and put “wheels in dusty” towards Lake Louise, to spend this first night of flood to a somewhat more civilized place.

There is a shopping center right at the entrance, quite a few cars parked and all businesses already closed, so I settle in and get ready to spend my first night alone. As the nerves and anguish of these first kilometers have left me exhausted, I take a huge bowl of hot milk with cereals and sleep in this very comfortable bed.

Blue stands at my feet and falls asleep, I guess he also accuses the nerves of the day.

Day 2 from LAKE LOUISE to MOUNT ROBSON (258 Km)

¡We are on the Rocky!

A shy sunny day dawns, small drops of dew cover the branches of the nearby trees, the grass of a rabid green shines in the morning light, smells like forest, a pair of squirrels rise and fall down the trunks of the pines and a soft haze covers the top of the mountains. Breakfast in front of this landscape is a gift. The entrance to the Rockies, one of the most beautiful places in the world, says good morning.

Blue is a happy puppy, he shoots out of the van, the squirrels seem to play to provoke him, they descend, run around in front of him and when he approaches, they climb with that enviable agility to the highest branches. From the way he sniffs the air and looks at me, I understand that he is enjoying our first day of adventure.

It’s already ten o’clock in the morning, the mist has dissipated and above, over the valley, the imposing mountain peaks are cut against the sky. I had already travelled these places, even so, so much beauty overwhelms me.

We started on the way to the Bow Lake, that beautiful lake, which forms the Bow River, which I already know well and that I have sailed in Calgary. There are hundreds of tourists, mostly Asian and Pakistani. The car parks that line the lake are full of cars, the edges of the lake scalloped in deep pink by the flowers of the fireweed, the mountains look proud in the transparent waters of the lake, and the world seems a better place … Although too inhabited.

These three hundred kilometers, where it seems to have concentrated all the beauty that fits in the world, are also the most visited, the most tourist, but if you get away just three hundred meters from the car, if you walk more than ten minutes, you leave behind the agglomeration of tourists. I read an article about the behavior of tourists in the Rockies where it was indicated that 90% do not move away from their car beyond 100 meters. They arrive at the place, get off, take some pictures and continue on their way.

I, today, have acted as that 90% of tourists. Son paisajes que ya conozco y me abruma tanta gente. Incredible in someone who comes from a city like Madrid, who lives in Lavapies, and yet I come looking for just that: loneliness and clean landscapes.

A long stop in front of the Athabasca Glacierthat glacier that I have already traveled and that gives me an ambiguous feeling: on the one hand it is of immense beauty and observing the retreat of the glacier in recent years (marking on the edges the place that occupied the ice) is worrying, but on the other side, it is a “prostituted” glacier: there are caterpillar vehicles, the Ice Explorer that take tourists to the middle of the glacier, which means enormous pressure on the natural environment, which leads to deterioration of the place. Being able to step on a glacier is something we all dream of, doing it half an hour walking from the parking lot, a luxury. If you already pay the $ 103 of the Ice Explorer, you just have to walk directly on the ice.

I was preparing a salad when Blue started playing with a girl who was in the near van. Some Brazilians who were touring the Rockies, lovely people, prepared a marinated chicken on a portable barbecue. They invited me to eat with them, we talked, we drank coffee, we commented on the wonderful landscape that surrounded us, we talked about Brazil and its forests deforested by greed, the enormous tourist pressure of this glacier, how beautiful it is to travel like this, in a van, stop where you want, sleep next to transparent streams, enchanted forests …

I continue on my way to Saskatchewan River Crossing, known as “The Crossing”, at the confluence of the Saskatchewan, Howse and Mistaya rivers, the only crossing point of these immense rivers, used by travellers and fur traders, aided by the knowledge of the indigenous people of the region. In a beautiful viewpoint over the river, with explanatory posters about the past of this area, you can easily imagine those caravans of carts of the adventurers who crossed the region. Imagine crossing them in summer, despite the riverbed, is already a feat. Throughout the winter, with a sea of ice around, although perhaps it was an easier company, without the clothes, the coats, the current mountain equipment, it seems to me of immense heroism.

It is almost impossible to drive on this road without finding a traffic jam. Jam is always the same as bear. The cars stop on the shoulder, the buses directly stop in the middle of the road, the hundreds of clicks of the cameras on a bear, almost always black, that quietly runs through “its” forest. The Rangers of Banff National Park do not take long to appear, deter people from getting out of the car and approaching the bear, it is still a wild animal that can attack at any time, and of course so many people really disturb that being free. Gradually the jam dissolves. Till the next bear

 

Stop in Jasper to buy a plug converter, I had forgotten that I also have to charge the camera and I don’t have a converter. This small town is a beautiful place, wooden houses surrounded by flowers, a huge train station, restaurants, shops and supermarkets, and lots of tourists. It is the “end” of the impressive Rockies, and a must-stop place.

I do not want to spend the night in a city, so as there are still a few hours of sun, after a while walking through the civilized lakes Anette and Edith, where they force me to take Blue on a leash and it is forbidden for dogs to walk the sand on the edge of the lake, we continue on my way.

At dusk, after some beautiful kilometres of immense forests, we reach the immediate vicinity of Mount Robson. A soft rain has begun to fall, the clouds have taken over the sky and it is cool. I pause for a while at the entrance of the National Park, while consulting the map. Blue runs around the huge almost empty parking lot. A boy approaches me and asks me if I have something to do with poetry, which has been following me for a long time to see if I stop, because the sticker that covers my “travellingpoems” van has caught my attention. He is also a Brazilian, a poet and a Northern Lights hunter, he works in a very luxurious private campsite a couple of minutes from here. He offers me to spend the night at the campsite, for free, of course.

I prepare a rice and chicken soup for dinner, a glass of wine and see how the night is taking over this beautiful place while Blue sniffs and runs around. After a while the boy, Cristiano, appears and we talk during hours of poetry, of Northern Lights, of the magic of these mountains. Here, he tells me, there are not so many tourists, there are many mountaineers and spectacular hiking trails. I take good note of your kind directions, on the way back to Calgary, I will spend a couple of days here.

I’m getting acquainted with the van, I’m putting things in a more orderly way, I feel comfortable in this, my little house for two months.

I’m out of Alberta and now I’m at Beautiful British Columbia.

How beautiful everything is, for the goddesses!

THE ADVENTURE BEGINS, WE ARE IN CANADA!

THE ADVENTURE BEGINS, WE ARE IN CANADA!

!We are in Canada, the adventure begins!

After the first eight hours of flight, Madrid-Montreal, in which my dear Blue has slept like a happy puppy and thanks to the wonderful treatment of the Transaat hostesses, who have left us three seats for ourselves, a luxury.

We have finally set foot in Montreal, or rather at the Montreal airport.

And on the street! to smoke a cigarette (me) and do a few first steps in Canada (Blue).

Stroll through the international airport area, a non-stop taxi, buses, Uber, people who come and go on this warm afternoon in San Juan, a delight of temperature when you come from the steamy Madrid.

After a couple of hours of waiting, flight to Calgary, this time shorter.

At no time, no one, at any customs, or boarding gate, has asked me for Blue’s documents, so after passing the customs office of entry already in Montreal, we have left the flight in Calgary ready to hug (me) and lick ( Blue) to my dear son, Daniel, who was waiting for us excitedly.

HOW TO TRAVEL WITH DOG BY PLANE … without despair.

The last days of preparations for this adventure have been long, complicated, overwhelming … Much more because, just a week before boarding, the airline tells me that I cannot travel with Blue, and that I bought the ticket with a company that admits dogs in the cabin, or at least that is what it states on its page? ¿????

That an airline does not admit dogs in the cabin may seem good or bad, it is your decision, but if your page and its condition indicate yes, then you cannot refuse. But they do!

My dog, Blue, weighs less than 8 Kg, has his regulatory travel bag, his passport, his updated vaccination card, including his Visa Health Certificate, specific for Canada and USA, by the Ministry of Agriculture, I have requested the Blue ticket with time and its condition as specified, yet, They can deny you the flight.

!Absolute despair! Without Blue I would not be able to undertake this adventure.

After many calls,the reservation for Blue can only be made by phone to a number in Canada, several failed attempts and a phone bill to cry, I decide to ask my son, who lives in Calgary, to take care of talking with The airline.

After arguing and discussing and against arguing, they offer us a single solution: Emotional Support Dog.

That is, an emotional support animal for me, because of my inability to travel without him. So I’m looking for a psychiatrist, assesses me the inability to undertake this adventure without Blue and gives me a certificate in Spanish and English (after paying a high fee).

A “magic key” that gives me, in just five minutes, a ticket to Blue. Finally!

 

And now we have to convert the Van in a house!

We have one week, only one week, to turn the van into my mobile home for these two months. You have to install the floor, solar panels that will power the battery for the refrigerator, the fan and the plugs for the laptop, assemble the bed, kitchen furniture, the laundry battery … there are a thousand things to do.

I take the mornings for, with the invaluable help of the mobile GPS, with the application “maps.me” that works without internet connection and does not need data, to tour Calgary from store to store looking for everything we need. Afternoons, when Daniel arrives, to work hard to install everything.

The placement of floor takes two days: first the thermal and acoustic insulation, then a protective rubber, then wooden planks and finally a beautiful wooden frieze floor that already gives us the appearance of a house. Lovely!

The days are soooo long that until 11 at night it is day, so we finish marathon days absolutely tired. The Van is going on

We installed, with the help of Rauth, companion and friend of my son Daniel, the solar panels, the converter, the auxiliary battery … and the music equipment of the van, something essential to accompany me in these two months of loneliness.

While the boys, Daniel and Rauth, install the bed and the kitchen furniture, I dedicate myself to preparing curtains and covering the meetings of the wood of ceiling and walls with a fabric of colors and flowers, it is the only thing that I have found in Ikea fabrics in Calgary. There is a very cozy space, very feminine. I will feel very comfortable here.

We need the fridge, finish the chest next to the bed and place the stickers on the outside of the van.

A quasi-clock race is June 30 and we are not done yet. A nightmare!

Dawn on a beautiful Sunday, June 30, a bright summer day with 27 degrees! So far from the 38 that my people in Madrid are suffering!

The van is almost a small home We have to put the stickers, purchase food and small things, place a little everything and we will be ready to start this adventure.

Sticking the travellingpoems stickers and baptize the van is the only thing we have left!

… and fill the gas tank, get some money, write down all the tricks and possible problems of the electrical panel of the power system and meet Daniel’s whim: the van is 99,985 kilometers, and Daniel wants to do 100,000, so that we take advantage of for all those little details that we lack.

It’s almost 9 pm when we return home, already in the hundred thousand, I say goodbye to Daniel and in a symbolic act of handing over the keys! The adventure begins!

To travel Canada!

LOS ARROYOS RESERVOIR & EMILY DICKINSON

LOS ARROYOS RESERVOIR & EMILY DICKINSON

Only 44 km. from the center of Madrid, past Galapagar and taking the M505 road, in the upper part of the Valmayor reservoir there is a small paradise: Los Arroyos Reservoir.

 

The reflection of Mount Abantos in its calm waters, its sunsets, the peace that floods its banks, will make you enjoy contact with nature.

Walking along the path that surrounds the reservoir, between holm oak forests and riverside trees, is a delight.

In the spring, watching the flocks of ducks, with their small offspring moving gently through the water is one of those simple pleasures that reconcile you with the world.

If you keep quiet, you can hear how the duck mothers drive, reprimand, reward and cheer their little babies.

 

At the edge of the water, you can also see jumping, in search of the coveted mosquitoes, tents and perches that draw concentric circles on the smooth surface of the water.

 

Walk along the footbridge of the reservoir, and at the end of the afternoon, a beautiful line of water draws the landscape of the water that releases the reservoir to join its older brother, the Valmayor reservoir.

These late spring sunsets, when the warm wind blows over the water, reminded me of one of those wonderful poems by the great poet Emily Dickinson

EMILY DICKINSON

The great American poet Emily Elizabeth Dickinson died 133 years ago

His definition of what poetry is is a clear example of the kind of poetry of this brave, transgressive and magnificent poet:

«If I have the physical sensation of being lifted up with my brains, I know that is poetry »


Some Emily Dickinson poems

How Lonesome The Wind Must Feel Nights

 

How Lonesome The Wind Must Feel Nights

When people have put out the Lights

And everything that has an Inn

Closes the shutter and goes in –

 

How pompous the Wind must feel Noons

Stepping to incorporeal Tunes

Correcting errors of the sky

And clarifying scenery

 

How mighty the Wind must feel Morns

Encamping on a thousand dawns

Espousing each and spurning all

Then soaring to his Temple Tall –

Hope Is The Thing With Feathers

Hope Is The Thing With Feathers
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops — at all —

And sweetest — in the Gale — is heard
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm

I’ve heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest Sea
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb — of Me

 

WHEN I COUNT THE SEEDS …

When I count the seeds
That are sown beneath,
To bloom so, bye and bye

When I con the people
Lain so low,
To be received as high —

When I believe the garden
Mortal shall not see —
Pick by faith its blossom
And avoid its Bee,
I can spare this summer, unreluctantly.

BOSQUE DE LA HERRERÍA and RUPI KAUR

BOSQUE DE LA HERRERÍA and RUPI KAUR

Just half an hour from Madrid, next to El Escorial, you immerse yourself in the beautiful calm of the Bosque de la Herrería.

 

During the spring thousands of birds sing their best melodies, millions of plants and flowers dot the newly born grass, innumerable species of insects, lizards, small rodents and mammals inhabit this enchanted forest.

There are two ways to get there, but I advise you to cross the impressive San Lorenzo del Escorial with its Monastery built between 1563 and 1584.

And if you have a few minutes, walk around it, you will discover a thousand things in its stones.

 

When you arrive at the there is a first parking lot with small tables and a fountain, but if you continue upwards, after the famous and unlikely Silla de Felipe II, you will continue walking along a road cut off by traffic.

 

You will find yourself in a magical place.

What do I do in the middle of the forest?

I walk, I listen, I smell, I play with Blue … and I write.

Now, finishing my first collection of poems, which will soon be released.

RUPI KAUR

The poems of Rupi Kaur are with me.

Rupi Kaur, born in India and living in Canada, is a poet, illustrator and actress. She has published “Milk and Honey” and “The Sun and her Flowers”.


Some Rupi Kaur poems

I want to apologize to all the women

I have call pretty

Before I’ve call them intelligent or brave

i am sorry i made it sound as though

something as simple as what you’re born with

is all you have to be proud of

when you have broken mountains with your wit

from now on i will say things like

you are resilient, or you are extraordinary

not because i don’t think you’re beautiful

but because i need you to know

I stand

on the sacrifices

of a million women before me

thinking

what can i do

to make this mountain taller

so the women after me

can see farther

What is the greatest lesson a woman should

learn

that since day one

she’s already had everything she needs within herself

it’s the world that convinced her she did not

!Si, quiero la Guía!

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