Experiencing Religion

by bart on July 7, 2013

20130706-173121.jpgYesterday evening I left Trail and walked a short 15 km to arrive in the tiny town of Fruitvale BC, in the evening.

As I looked around I couldn’t see any good (safe and out of the way) places to set up camp, so I went to the nearby gas station to ask.

They were really nice, as people have been in these little towns, and one of the women said I could probably put my tent up behind the gas station and a couple of dumpsters on the field by the railroad tracks. She said the train only comes twice a week, and not today.

She wasn’t sure if camping there was allowed though, and by the way, “We get lots of bears around here.” Great, I thought, “not sure”, “dumpsters”, “bears…” Didn’t sound too promising.

She also suggested I go to the tiny Catholic church across the road and talk with the priest, so I did. Having been born and raised in Poland, Catholicism is in my genes, whether I’m religious or not, so I went and knocked on the door. The priest was home!

He was a kind man and let me stay overnight on the property. Since there was a very large awning I decided not to put up my tent, but just to sleep in my sleeping bag under it.

The kind priest surprised me by bringing me a large glass of milk, which I drank immediately, two apples, and sugar for my coffee as I had run out.

It’s amazing how different it is to sleep knowing that I wouldn’t be told to leave in the middle of the night, that I’d stay dry if there was a thunderstorm, and that I’d be safe from bears.

I slept great, got up at 6am, silently made coffee and breakfast, and began organizing and packing my stuff.

Just then the priest came out with a cheery “good morning”, and asked if I wanted to come in for a shower. After almost a week of being sweaty and dirty, a shower was worth more than gold to me, so of course I accepted the offer and thanked him for his kindness – again.

When deprived of the basic things that we take for granted in the modern world, such as a safe place to sleep, a roof over your head, and a shower, when they are suddenly offered when most needed one sometimes can’t help but think about things spiritual.

This afternoon, after a very pleasant 27 km walk (no rain or thunderstorms!) I arrived in the village of Salmo. It’s pleasant, quiet, and I can see some choices for setting up my tent. Just to be sure I’ll find some locals to talk with.

Since the walk to Salmo was so effortless, I thought about many different things, but mainly about my fundraising efforts for Canada’s neglected and disadvantaged kids, the weakest links in making our communities successful in the future.

Maybe I thought about that because I texted with my brother about how to be more successful at attracting media attention. Or maybe it was my experience meeting the priest.

To be honest, walking 25-30 km per day, dealing with severe weather, blisters on my feet, worrying about finding safe places to sleep at night, making sure I have enough food, dealing with exhaustion and knee pain while walking up and down mountain summits, and finding good sources of drinking water leaves me little time to work on attracting media attention.

Maybe that’s why the fundraising is going so slow.

Can you help me in my fundraising efforts by telling your friends, family, and coworkers about what I’m doing, and asking them to make a small (tax deductible) donation?

By the way, I am ever so grateful to all of you who have already made a donation. THANK YOU! You are motivating me to keep on going.

Top photo is of the historic Salmo hotel.

Bottom photo: Salmo is known for its rock murals.
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