Beauty and the Beast

by bart on July 4, 2013

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After the Canada Day celebrations I walked to the village of Christina Lake BC. It was only a 21 km walk, but it started in 37 degree (C) heat. Within minutes I was dripping sweat on my new Grand Forks tshirt.

As luck would have it, about half an hour after I started walking clouds rolled in behind me and blocked the sun until I nearly arrived in Christina Lake, making walking in the heat much more bearable.

When I got there I headed for the provincial park of the same name, but was disappointed to find out that it was day use only, and camping wasn’t allowed (I had no intention of paying. I think provincial parks are a ripoff.).

Nevertheless I couldn’t pass up the chance to take a swim in BC’s warmest tree lined lake, and one of Canada’s warmest. It was great to wash off all the sweat.

At the park I met Ross. We exchanged stories, and he told me of a couple of places nearby where I could camp for free, which I did. It pays to be curious about people.

Next morning I visited the Christina Lake Welcome Centre. Much like the lake, a beautiful building. I spent over two hours there talking with more people before continuing east on Hwy 3. And that’s when the torture began.

That afternoon I walked about 30 km up Bonanza Pass, all uphill, until I reached Paulson Summit at an elevation of 1535m.

Because there was no wind the biting flies were out in force, and the higher I climbed, the bigger they seemed to get.

At times the temperature reached over 40 degrees (C). But that made me even more determined to press on, to get out of there.

One slow, exhausting step at a time I pushed my gear cart higher and higher. Lucky for me there were periodic little waterfalls where I refilled my water bottles. I must have drank two gallons of water that day.

It was the most physically challenging day since the start of my walk. But giving up never crossed my mind. I thought about how happy I’d be once I reached the summit, my goal for the day, but focused on every single step forward.

To my disbelief I reached the summit at 8:15pm that evening. I was so happy I didn’t care that swarms of mosquitos had taken over for the flies, who had ended their shift for the day.

I was so satisfied with my achievement I didn’t even care that I had another 1500+m summit to conquer the next day.

Photo is of Christina Lake, looking north, after I took a swim.

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