“Where have you been?” Surely that’s what you’re all thinking.
True, you haven’t received a post from this corner in a few weeks. But I know better than to assume you’ve been waiting with baited breath for another post. Life’s not like that.
Like some of you, I’ve been on vacation.
Sometimes when I’m away it’s not a problem keeping up with such things as my (almost) weekly post. This time, though, it wasn’t possible.
The last third of August and the first third of September is not ideal for my vacation but a variety of circumstances had dictated this block. A failed plan for a “big trip” with a group of friends had me scrambling to put together a variety of things I’d always wanted to do but never had, or, at least, not for three of four decades.
The first segment of the trip was to explore more of the West Kootenay region of our province. I relived some 40-year-old experiences near Nelson, then travelled some routes I’d never done, highways 31 and 31A.
Okay, I should clarify that, for me, “vacation” means “road trip,” and any highway I have not yet travelled or scenic landscape I have not passed by is on my bucket list simply because it’s a part of the world I have not yet experienced.
I partially made up this trip as I went; you can do that when you’re self-contained in your vehicle and comfortable sleeping in a tent.
The ghost town of Sandon was especially intriguing, but I also saw, for the first time, Duncan Dam, Trout Lake, the southern half of Arrow Lake, a couple of waterfalls and some sites in Nelson. And I encountered three bears, one crossing in front of me right in the City.
Work interfered. Who’d have thought that the deals in progress would run into complications I needed to deal with, despite careful planning to avoid that, and that I’d receive double the number of new applications coming in?
(Well, actually, that shouldn’t surprise me—my realtor once suggested I go on vacation just to increase business, because that is what typically has happened; I once bought a house in the Fraser Valley while attending sister-in-law’s wedding in Hawaii.)
The second segment had me travelling a full day southeast to Yellowstone, a place I’d visited only briefly, 36 years ago. I marvelled again at the incredible landscapes created by the hotspot under the world’s oldest national park, watched Old Faithful spout off a couple of times, as well as Daisy and some other geysers—did you know there are at least a thousand such “hot spots” in Yellowstone–marvelled at the Grand Prismatic Spring, the majestic Mammoth Hot Springs, the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone Canyon, and the wide expanse of Yellowstone Lake, saw hundreds of bison in the wild, and herds of elk.
The experience was, to say the least, surreal, one that everyone should have at least once in life.
Again, I spent time catching up on business, in a place where wifi wasn’t easy to access. But getting a blog post done was an option way down the list from “urgent”.
Well, I thought, I’ve never visited the Grand Tetons, a national park just eight miles separated from Yellowstone, so this is my chance. I drove the length of this grand, if relatively small, mountain range, and took the gondola up the Jackson Hole Ski area to get a magnificent view of the valley below from a large outdoor patio, on a perfect evening, accompanied by a solo musician. Knock off another “first.”
Returning to Canada, I determined to spend some time in the Rockies. For me, they’re so spectacular that spending some time there almost every year will still never be enough. I hadn’t done so in several years. (BTW, did you know that Lonely Planet named the Canadian Rockies “the most spectacular natural attraction in the world”?)
There would be two things new on this visit. One would be to travel the Icefields Parkway from north to south. I’d kept hearing from people who’d done it both ways, that north-to-south was even more impressive than the other direction. I’d only previously done is south-to-north, and couldn’t imagine that being surpassed.
The other would be to hike the Sunshine Meadows trails near Banff, beyond the Sunshine Village Ski resort, another spectacular setting I’d long wanted to explore.
Although the schedule got somewhat disrupted by the forest fires, I did get to do both. My brother from the Calgary area joined me for the Sunshine meadows hike, and I got to spend time thereafter at his house (doing a lot of business, of course), and the next day at sister-in-law’s place in the Alberta foothills, before travelling to Jasper to complete the bucket list trip. And, yes, north-to-south was truly spectacular!
A couple of business stops on the way home from there included welcoming the latest rent-2-own clients to their new digs in Coldstream, just outside Vernon, on move-in day.
Because of business pressures and the failed grand trip plans, I had contemplated not doing so much, but attending more seriously to my business during that busy period.
I’d rejected that idea. 6588 km later (That’s a vacation? I can hear some of you say), I was glad I had!
Perhaps it’s the advancing years; each summer reminding me that I have one fewer left to experience those things that are important to me. Perhaps it was a recent, albeit minor, health threat. Perhaps it was the growing wave of comments I’ve been hearing from terminally ill people who bemoan that they were too driven in life and should have spent more time just enjoying whatever made life special to them.
But collectively, they told me: Life is short! Do those things that make it special for you! Enjoy it while you can! You’ll find a way to keep up with business, and some things are worth letting go of, for a time.
. . . like missing three weeks of blog posts.
At least, that’s how I see it . . .