Friday, 25 April 2014

Plans Can Change

We are on the road, Mike and I. I wanted to say something like "finally" or "better late than never", but I cannot. As Mike pointed out to me yesterday, you can't be late when you don't really have a schedule. As he also pointed out, when we leave and how long we drive are not really critical on this trip. We have one two touch points throughout the drive. Kelowna and Vancouver. Whether we arrive in Kelowna today or Saturday is no big deal. The same is true for Vancouver; getting there on Monday instead of Sunday wouldn't matter that much. Once again, to quote Mike, we are on holiday.

Schedules have always been important to me. Leaving on time, arriving on time, making time on the road; all to often I have muddied the waters of a beautiful day by driving myself and those around me to an unnecessary timeline. I learned this from my Dad, whose voice has been in my head a lot lately. I don't like some the the things he says and I have trying hard to dislodge him lately. Yesterday was a good learning point, a good reminder that not everything is about time. Sometimes my Dad is wrong, plans can change.

We left Calgary sometime after lunch. When, I am not sure. It was sometime in that gap between midday and dinner. I know that for a fact as we ate sandwiches on the road, about an hour out of town, by which time I was famished. It is an unusual feeling for me, to feel hunger pangs and hear my stomach grumblingly demanding food. We drove for down the Cowboy Trail, a rural highway paralleling the Rockies from Pincher Creek all the way north to Whitecourt. Our run on this road began just south of Calgary, near Bragg Creek, and took us to where it joined the Crow's Nest Highway, just outside of Pincher Creek, an area familiar to my Mom from visits there as a child.

Westward on the highway, we made our way to the world famous Frank Slide. I don't know why it is world famous. Perhaps it is because of the loss of life, or the size and scope of the slide itself. Mike, a geophysical engineer, tells me it has been heavily studied and there are many articles about it. To me it has always been a moonscape jungle of giant limestone boulders cutting a swath across the valley floor, reminding me how in an  instant nature can wipe out months of moil by men and machine. We are so small; this planet is so big and powerful.

Further west, through the low pass in the Rockies and into BC, Mike took over the driving in Sparwood, home of a fantastically large earth moving machine on display at the tourist office, painted a bright lime green, ready for the summer season and a thousand photographs. I slid over to the passenger seat while he took some of those pictures, at my behest. Mike took over, driving the soft, wandering highway from Sparwood to Cranbrook, finishing the winding mountains stretch, taking us down into the valley of the Kootenay River.

Both the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers begin here in this long trench between the Kootenay and Rocky Mountains, the Columbia flowing north, then turning south near Revelstoke while the Kootenay flows south into the US then heads north back to Canada and Kootenay Lake. Ultimately, near Nelson, Kootenay Lake empties into the Columbia, and waters from both become one. They started separately, at the same place, and finish together, ultimately flowing to the great Pacific sea.

Today, perhaps Kelowna, perhaps not. After all, plans can change, can't they?

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