The wild vastness
!The seed of everything!
Where to start writing this blog?
For a statement of intent:
My first trip the Canadian Rockies is the seed of all this. That trip make me change the optics, the way of understanding another way f traveling, living, knowing and feeling in absolute harmony with the exuberant and wild nature of de Canadian Rockies.
A year ago I traveled with my son the Canadian Rockies on the way canadians do it: on a 7-seater family car equiped as a mini-camper. Of course we see also huge motor homes (or RV), conditioned trucks that look like luxury suits, but most of travellers go that way, with a car, a tent or small camper.
In the middle of that inmensity, through the 200 miles road, driving at 56 miles/hour, from Banff to Jasper there are no hotels, excepting this expensive one (Glacier View Lodge) just 509 CAD/person. However, every half an hour of road you can find a Campground where you can park, sleep, got a shower, light a fire and rest.
Be ready for survival, along these 200 miles there are no supermarkets, shops or… gas stations.
These 200 miles are the center of the Rockies, some kind of belly button of the world.
One of my dreams as a teenager, still alive, is to go through the Yukon and the Klondike, follow in the footsteps of Jack London and those crazy pioneers who threw themselves into the gold rush.
The Yukon is far from the Rockies, almost 3000 miles of immensity, had to be left for another occasion.
That series you may remember,Northern Exposure, I fell in love with the icy immensity. Once you are in the Yukon… down to Alaska is a road of less than 1,000 Km, absolutely affordable.
And that teenage dream, ever since I stepped on the Rockies, began to take shape.
That’s why there is this web, built by me, without knowing anything about programming or CSS codes or… of almost nothing.
I dared to build this, following step by step (with many stumbles) the guide of the Digital Nomad School, many hours of work and a lot of enthusiasm.
Throughout the 2018 I began to prepare this dream journey, travelling alone with my inseparable puppy, Blue, a wonderful Yorkshire, by car, from Calgary to Alaska…
Where are we going?
Almost 7000 km of unspoiled nature, from Calgary to the wild Yukon, from there to Alaska and to finish the Haida Gwai archipelago.
Passing through the Rockies, of course, and the glaciers, terrritory already explored.
After? ! Into the Wild!
As I will travel alone I will have time to write.
I will tell you my experiences, the people with whom I find… and poetry
!These are mountains!
When you approach the Rockies the first thing that strikes you is the enormity of the environment. The mountains are there, within reach of your hand, reflected in a thousand lakes, embedded in glaciers and waterfalls, rivers of milky blue waters and fragrant forest.
We leave from the beautiful Canmore Road to Lake Minewanka and from the car the first impression is that here, in every way, is “play big”.
The Ice Fields Highway is a beautiful road between the valleys, surrounded by peaks, huge mountains covered with snow, glaciers, a clear blue sky and transparent air that runs parallel always to the lakes, the newborn river Athabasca and the immense Saskatchewan River.
The most beautiful three hundred kilometres I’ve seen in my life.
There are Wild life wherever you look
! How much variety!
In this wild immensity they inhabit bears, moose, wolves, wapitis, eagles, deer, porcupines and squirrels, those small and playful squirrels that come to see if they get something to eat fascinate me.
The undisputed star is the Bear, you discover astonished at the first sudden jam in the middle of the road, the only road that runs through the Rockies. There is a tremendous traffic jam, both ways, and people come out of the cars to see the bear. It is dangerous, all national parks warn that you do not come near, you see them from the car, that blah, blah, blah… but you can not avoid. It’s like not entering the concert of your favorite musician.
Although there are grizzly bears (they have registered about 100 in the Rockies, that Canadians are very orderly) they can not be seen easily, but it is very common to see black bears, every day you see one or two, eating quietly by the road, or on a road, and so seen from afar. They do not seem very dangerous, but it is always necessary to wear an anti-bear spray and know the rules of behavior when you meet them.
Differentiate a gray bear from a black bear
! You have to know how to differentiate! Behavior before a grizzly and a black bear is quite different, and before you act you should differentiate it. ! Easy!
Can you imagine, with the guide of bears in hand, to see… Yes is darker, does not seem to weigh more than 400 kg, if it is grizzly will be female, well maybe it is a calf, do not know if that is considered a small hump differentiating? ! You have to take a master’s degree in differentiating bears!
We follow the advice of the experts: “make noise. Let the bears know what your position is before they see you. Sing, speak loud, clap, “so the hikes were a feast of songs and laughter.
And here is the photo to my first bear, coming to Lake Louise and back because it gave him a little cut not to speak fluent Spanish. ! Shy boy!
The Wapiti, impressive.
Deer… looking for the airport
! Everything is green and flower curd!
The second big surprise of the Rockies ! Green meadows and Flower curds and I don’t recognize a lot of plants!
When you get off the car in the wonderful lake Two Jack, ecstatic with such beauty, I take a walk around the meadow that surrounds the lake and I discover that there are so many varieties of plants that I do not know that I am ecstatic looking at ground level, trying to identify them, to find that similarity ” Familiar “. Although some are very similar to those you find in Europe, there are many species unknown to me, and the variety and abundance of flowers is shocking.
It is a paradise of color and smells! We are in the middle of August and with a temperature around 24 degrees, all green and in bloom, just like the plateau and the surroundings of Madrid!
Of course, if you think that then the snow comes and covers everything for six months… you look at the plateau in another way.
I stayed so many plants and flowers to know that I will have to make me a herbal, photographic clear, because you know “that the only thing left behind your step is your footprints, that the only thing you take are photographs”
Because… have I told you that I freak out plants?
I haven’t been able to identify this marvel yet.
I wish it was called “milky way”
Fireweed, the jewel of the Rockys
And the Yukon floral emblem
“Milky Way” prairie
Next to the River Athabasca
Indian Paintbrush, a beauty
The poet of the Wild
And I discovered the beautiful poetry of Tekaionwake
Reading about the Rockies and British Columbia I discovered the extraordinary poet Tekaionwake (Its Mohawk name) Emily Pauline Johnson (her western name).
They counted in the guide on British Columbia that one considers it “the poet of Vancouver“, half Indian mohawk and half English, with a very interesting history, when it died in 1913 it had the largest funeral ever in Vancouver.
I was interested in that double-sided Indian/English of a woman cultured and at the same time very “of the Earth”, so when I caught WiFi I looked for some poem of his.
Around Saskatchewan River we had seen a desolate and at the same time delightfully beautiful landscape: a huge mountain had been fire pasture the year before and the black stumps of the trees contrasted with the lighted rose of the “fireweed” that covered with their flowers the whole extent of the Slope. A lesson in life and death, the eternal contrast. That image, which was then repeated by many other places, was etched in my retina for a long time.
When I could find the poems of Tekaionwake, I found this delight:
“And only where the forest fires have sped,
Scorching relentlessly the cool North lands,
A Sweet Wild flower lifts its purple head,
And, like some gentle spirit sorrowy-fed
, it hides the scars with almost human hands.
And only to the heart that knows of grief,
of desolating fire, of human pain,
There comes some purifying sweet belief,
Some fellow-feeling beautiful, if brief.
And life revives, and blossoms once again “
E. Pauline Johnson
! And I fell in love with this brave woman’s poetry!
His book of poems “Flint and Feather” is one of my bedside books.