70/7000 The Columbia Icefields and The Continental Divide

Days 51, 52, 53  August 15, 16 & 17, 2001

The first thing I did when I woke up in my van in the parking lot  in Jasper, Alberta, was to walk over to the gas station restroom.  Thankfully no one had locked it.  I then drove  to a quick stop and got a large cup of coffee and a muffin. More moments of gratitude when I got a tent site at the campgrounds, took a shower, and set  up my bed back in the tent.IMG_2353-001

The next day, I realized why I needed reservations in Jasper.  Not far away were The Columbian Icefields.  They are a big tourist attraction, 2.3 square miles, 3.7 miles long and 1,200 feet deep.  Formed between 238,000 and 126,000 BC. during the Great Glaciation, they lay astride of the Continental Divide where mountain waters flowed to The Pacific on one side and The Atlantic on the other.



Tourists from all over the world were brought to the site in snowcoaches from The Icefields Visitors Center.


This whole trip is based on the principle of serendipity.  I had no idea this attraction existed.  What a wonderful discovery.



70/7000-Overcoming The Trans Canada Highway

Day 43-August 6, 2001


Today I got ready to move on.  I had the coupon for a free three nights stay in a condo in Banff but when I called the place I was told they were all filled up. Darn! I should of called earlier but I had no I idea when I would arrive.  Serendipity is the theme of this trip.  Oh,well.

I felt freezing coming on. I  was considering changing course and not going into Canada.  I was afraid of the mountains, the unknown, and The Trans Canada Highway!

I used to have my second graders play a game called “Freeze or Hide”. It was a game of tag in which a “fox” would try to capture “rabbits”. The rabbits had two safety choices, hiding by standing in a space within a hoop on the ground or freezing, standing perfectly still.  In life, I had learned to freeze emotionally.  Having had  a bad childhood and an even  worse marriage, I sometimes relied on numbness to survive. But freezing doesn’t solve anything because nothing gets done and, therefore, nothing gets better.


I wanted to change myself on this trip and become a better me.  I had to think, so……..

(1)I did some research. Got good directions. Looked at alternatives routes and various approaches.

(2) Broke the whole thing into steps. One stretch of highway at a time.

(3) Knew I  was done with sights in Glacier. Needed something different.

(4) Looked at the positives of the upcoming situation. Why was it all worth stretching myself a bit? Answer: I wanted to see the unique wildlife in The Canadian Rockies.




(My journal for this trip!)




(5) Called up my faith that told me everything would be okay.

(6) Reminded myself of my purpose, to take this trip and maybe someday write about it.

And then I recalled the things I had read on this trip. Every time an individual has a positive victory, an accomplishment, a move in the right direction, it is a win for everyone.

My menopausal odyssey continues, ever onward and upward. I’m going to do it! 70 days or bust!




70 days, 7000 Miles, Day 5

June 27, 2001

I left M.H.’s house in the morning and got on a highway that follow the Ottawa River. I was on my own now and I was anxious. I was really doing this, alone  I found a beautiful campground and was given a great site on the water.


I was agitated for two reasons today. First, I had just finished teaching 5 days ago.  I loved teaching my second graders but the end of the year was so hectic.  A field trip, grades, lesson plans to be turned in, room to clean, grade level meetings, district workshops, placement of students for next year, final evaluation, etc., etc., etc.  It usually takes me two weeks into a summer vacation before I stop being a teacher.

And there was another factor, I hate making mistakes.  It is my biggest fear and the cause of the most distress in my life.  It all comes from once being a very self conscientious,shy child.  I always tried to avoid any kind of attention especially anything negative.

Today judgement and doubts were shouting at me. “Should I stay here for one night or more?”  “Should I stay put because of Canada Day on the first?” “I’ve only gone 300 miles?” “How many miles to Michigan?” “I’m I doing enough?” ” I’m I being enough?”

I chipmunk came up to me after I got settled and I fed him some crackers.  He came closer and finally came up on the picnic table.  The little creature allowed me to feed him as he sat before me inches away.  He was so trusting, so into the moment we were sharing together.

I  decided to stay here 2 nights or maybe three. I need to make a vacation transition, passing from a goal oriented rat race to serendipity, one day at a time, one lovely present moment after another.

I will get to Michigan when I get there.