One Month, 800 km, and a New Route

by bart on July 18, 2013

20130717-220146.jpgToday is a special day. It has been one month and 800 km since I left Hope BC on my 1100 km walk. I am celebrating it in Fernie BC.

If you have been following my blog, you might be wondering what I’m doing in Fernie. After all, I was supposed to head north towards Radium Hot Springs, and then to Banff and Calgary.

On the day before leaving Cranbrook I felt uneasy. Not just because my post-surgery knee felt stiff, it ached, and I couldn’t bend it as far as usual, but just thinking about walking Hwy 93 from Radium to Banff, over 105 km of wilderness, across two more (and high) mountain passes demotivated me.

I think I had enough of spending the past two weeks walking in between tall mountains and often dark, scraggly pine forests creeping up on me from both sides.

Geography like that doesn’t make for good camping areas when evening comes around. And darkness comes early when surrounded by tall mountains.

I think my knee was telling me loud and clear what I felt subconsciously – time for a change.

That day in the Cranbrook campground I met a woman who practiced Reiki. She offered me a session for my knee, so I accepted.

My knee didn’t feel any better after the session, but later that evening it felt much better. I had made the decision to continue east on Hwy 3 to Fernie, through Sparwood, and then to Alberta, and north on Hwy 2 to Calgary, through much more open and flatter country.

I don’t remember which happened first, the decision to change my route, or my knee returning to its normal condition. But I’m sure there is a connection between those two things.

Before leaving Cranbrook the next morning, I was interviewed by the local paper, the Townsman, and the area’s popular radio station, B104, The Drive. Very rewarding.

It took me three days to walk to Fernie. The first night I spent about 30 km outside Cranbrook. The second in Elko, a tiny village in the mountains, near the railroad.

On my final stretch to Fernie, as I was taking a photo of the scenery, a police cruiser pulled up behind me.

Two officers came out so I smiled and waved to them. I forgot that I had contacted every police district along my original route, but this wasn’t my original route any more.

They were surprised to see a guy pushing a ‘stroller’ (my backpack cart) on the road. So I told them my story. They turned out to be the nicest police officers I had met. We shook hands, and they even asked me for information about my website, so I gave them my information leaflet.

As they drove off they gave me the loud police cruiser ‘woot’ horn as a sound off.

I’m good with the BC police for the rest of my way in the province.

My new route is just a bit longer than my original one, but it leads to the same destination. The strategy remains the same, just a change in tactics.

Top photo is of the view when leaving Cranbrook city limits and going east.

Bottom photo is the view from where I set up camp in Fernie – behind the Canadian Tore store. With permission from management, of course. They heard my interview on the radio!
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