Closing Statements

Current location: Toronto, ON

I arrived safely in Toronto on July 29th.

I am readjusting to regular routines before returning to issuing caffeine doses and sugar highs at work on the third. Re-adapting to the cultures of fear that the city is structured on has been challenging.

The past month has yielded more knowledge that five years of post-secondary education has- I only wish it was considered valid. I’ve realized that for the past month, all I was searching for was me. Home is not a place but rather a body.

I’m ready to resume to employment hunts, this time focusing on finding work in any of the territories though my searches span the entire country.

Thank you to everyone that has supported me! It means the world to me, and please know that I am always here for you regardless of where I chose to settle.

Keep your heart strong. Collect your courage and chase what you’ve wanted- you have all of support.

Thoughts on Paper

Current location: Sudbury, ON
Headed to: Toronto, ON

You sat there watching me
As I did you.
Both silent.
You, perched upon that musky dock, me,
deep- swimming far.
Glancing.
Both of us
glancing at each other.
Silent.
Two worlds linked by look and sound-
or no sound.
Understanding.
Stroke by stroke.
I watched as you watched.

Golden fur.

Love, Life, and Other Drugs

Current location: Pancake Bay Provincial Park
Today’s plan: Get lost anywhere between here and Sudbury

While the traffic on the Trans-Canada can be heard throughout Pancake Bay, the beautiful campsites bordering Lake Superior compensate for the minor noise pollution. For the record, the traffic is so minimal that the occasional sound of a vehicle offers a strange comfort to weary travellers.

20140728-120911-43751038.jpg
I threw together my tent instantaneously, hung my soggy sleeping bag on make-shift clothesline made of fishing line that I found in Wawa, then headed over to the lake (exactly 19 steps away from my site).

It took a while to adjust to the temperature, but I waded out until the water wrapped it’s hands around my neck. I continued walking until I was fully submerged then let the undercurrents carry me out fast and far. Finding warmth in the waters cold embrace was easier than I thought.

I jumped, danced, spun, swayed, and reached my arms to the clouds laughing loud and crying hard in both overwhelming ecstasy and sadness, clearly drunk on fresh air and the break in the clouds that poured sunshine rather than rain. For a brief moment everything felt like it would fall into place: finding a ‘real’ job felt plausible, loving every inch of my body felt like a possibility, even the thoughts of what Jack* did to me in that cabin didn’t litter my mind. I knew the families along the shore were pointing in disgust because when I returned to solid ground, parents held their children close in an effort to protect them from the crazy woman that briefly took over my body and mind.

I returned to my campsite giddy and spent with a restless mind but still sobbing uncontrollably, clawing at my tent while searching for comfort in what is left of my belongings. I had forgotten what crying felt like.

20140728-121113-43873584.jpg
I love this motherland. I pledge allegiance to the water, land, and air. You are a creature of the land and I hope you can find the time to clear your conscience and run wild and free. You don’t realize what you’re missing.

Preparing for the Mortician

Current location: Aaron Provincial Park, Kenora, ON
Heading to: Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Thunder Bay

Last night’s raging thunderstorm and pounding rain had me crawling around my tent searching for anything rubber, though I was too frightened to move quickly in case the storm could see me (childish, I know). I hugged by boots while laying as flat as possible, hoping to lessen the job of the mortician that I assumed would have to deal with my electrocuted body in the morning. The winds whipped my tarp right off the tent so my sleeping bag is a soggy mess and my maps disintegrate at my fingertips. But all of that is okay because I’m about to take on the most beautiful segment of the Trans-Canada!

I love every province, but Ontario is in my blood. Lakes are plentiful, traffic in the Northwest is minimal, and the air smells wonderful.
20140726-105052-39052575.jpg
Pre-storm swim in Thunder Lake, Ontario

20140726-114115-42075158.jpg

Lessons on Leeches

Current location: Whitewood, Saskatchewan

I miss Wendy already! We spent the evening looking at maps and planning for road trips that probably won’t ever happen. I don’t remember falling asleep, but I woke wrapped in a warm duvet (how fancy, I’m so lucky!) with Charlie lounging at my feet and Wendy preparing breakfast. Though we’ve promised to write, I wish I didn’t have to leave.

The Eastward ride through the prairies has been significantly more pleasant than the Westward thoroughfare, though bathing options have been limited.

On that note, Reid Lake lays ajacent to the Trans-Canada between Herbert and Morse, just past Swift Current Saskatchewan. It’s strange to see a lake extend across such great lengths in the prairies, especially since the past 1000 kilometres of the highway have felt abandoned.

Reid Lake seemed like the perfect spot for a rinse, but it was quite the opposite. Despite being notoriously shallow (about 6 inches at its deepest), the bottom is like quicksand! I stepped into ankle deep water and ended up sinking past my waist! I spent a good five minutes trying to get my lower half loose of the sticky mud. I crawled up onto the shoreline with over 30 little leech-like things plastered to my legs! I’ll have to seek out another bathing location.

20140724-101246-36766778.jpg
Just past Reid Lake there are salt deposits that span over 20 kilometres which resemble desert playas. You can taste the salt as you drive through!

20140724-102835-37715465.jpg
Today I plan to get to Winnipeg, which means I might be in Ontario again by tomorrow evening! Fingers crossed for no more breakdowns.

20140724-104256-38576231.jpg

Photo Update #3

Current location: Yoho National Park, BC. On route to reunite with Wendy and Charlie in Calgary. I can’t wait!!!

I’m so happy to be riding and camping again. Goodbye hitchhiking and hostels, hello sleeping bag and wheels!

IMG_6015

Oh thank god. . . (Hope, BC)

IMG_6075
The Othello Tunnels in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park.

20140721-144254-52974517.jpg
French Beach Provincial Park, BC- Where I met Wendy and Charlie!

20140721-144404-53044817.jpg
Surviving the ferry to Victoria.

20140721-144507-53107811.jpg
The Beez Kneez Backpackers Hostel, Whitehorse.

20140721-144558-53158551.jpg
One of the many bunking options at Beez Kneez.

20140721-144648-53208646.jpg
Bertha!! The friendly sled dog at Beez Kneez.

20140721-144742-53262648.jpg
Beez Kneez again.

20140721-144924-53364066.jpg
The Yukon River.

20140721-145011-53411992.jpg
Backseat riding in Whitehorse.

20140721-145225-53545124.jpg
Carcross, YT

20140721-145342-53622724.jpg
Hiking along the Klondike Highway, YT.

20140721-145445-53685667.jpg
Skagway River, AK.

20140721-145541-53741052.jpg
White Pass, Yukon Route to Skagway, AK.

20140721-145710-53830654.jpg
Hello from Skagway, AK!

20140721-145804-53884429.jpg
An attempt to raise funds to pay for the 120$ room in Vancouver…

20140721-145925-53965730.jpg
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park (Cliffwalk), BC.

20140721-150128-54088697.jpg
Hike through Yoho National Park this morning!

Sleeping on the Streets in Vancouver

Well, not really the street- more like the park beside the street.

Current location: Vancouver, BC
11:40 am

Tonight’s hostel is a luxurious upgrade from last night’s residency. After hiking along the side of the highway from the airport (roughly three and a half hours), I showed up in a very posh community barefooted and wearing clothes that I haven’t taken off for three days. I wish I was still in Whitehorse, or better yet, beautiful Carcross!

My legs didn’t move as quickly as I had hoped they would, so I didn’t make it to the dealership to fetch the motorbike in time. My camping gear was still strapped to the back fender so I called every hostel in the phone book hoping to find a cheap bunk. The only one that had a bed was $120 dollars, which surpasses my sleeping budget by a long shot.

I slept under a shrub and tree in David Lam Park. My mattress was topsoil and my blanket was my camping towel and map. It wasn’t all that bad, but I didn’t move all night because I didn’t want to frighten someone taking a stroll down the beautiful boardwalk.

I was rudely awakened by a sprinkler system at 3:00am which drenched everything I currently own. I had no other option but to join the pools of fellow insomniacs walking out their frustration at unsightly hours of the morning.

I ate breakfast at four, picked up the motorbike, and am now hoping to leave Vancouver though I don’t have a route planned yet.

It hasn’t been 24 hours but I already miss the Yukon. Come back to me!

But guess what. My bike is back and ready to go! How I’ve missed winds embrace and the feeling of the hot sun on my hands!

Remember, keep your head up and mind set. You’re so lovely!

Misinterpretations

Current location: Skagway, AK

Bitch defined: A person who is completely subservient to another.
“she will always be his bitch”

Also known as my absolute least favourite term in the English language.

Hostels offer a great option for travellers to collect and develop a certain intamacy to eachother. We bond over our experiences, our lacking money, the layers of sweat caked to our skin, and the smell of adventures that are still fresh on our bodies.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Jack*, who has been staying at the same hostel as I. We sealed our friendship over our only common characteristic: we both ride motorbikes. We’ve spent the evenings together walking out of town and collecting rocks to make inukshuks along the roads. I was so excited when he offered to take me on the back of his motorbike- it would be my second backseat ride! Finally- I could see parts of the Northwest on two wheels!

He carelessly sped down the highway hideously above the speed limit. He rode with his five ‘buddies’, one of whom had his young daughter sitting in what they all kept calling the ‘bitch seat’. This is the motorcycle culture I’ve tried so hard to avoid.

Jack and his friends were disgustingly derogatory. How can you repetitively call women bitches when there’s a woman right behind you, and someones young daughter is sitting in the shadow of her father (a father who also happens to be joking around about ‘bitches that love to wrap their legs around [him]‘).How dare you speak about my body and try to touch me the way you did, even when I told you not to. How did such a seemingly fun person completely transform?

Jack parted from his friends and brought me to a dingy cabin on some remote road. I kept lying and saying that I felt tired, that I was coming down with something. I was ready to run into the woods and bushwhack my way back to Ontario.

Anyways, I made it back to the hostel here with all of my limbs intact. While I’m out during the day, I return to the hostel in the evenings and immediately dive into my bunk so Jack thinks I’m sleeping. I go out of my way to avoid him. I can’t wait until I can return to my tent and spend the evenings in the woods.

So Dad:
Thank you for teaching me how to ride the right way. Thank you for never introducing me to typical ‘biker culture’. And thank you for showing me that I’m better than that!

 

*Name changed for privacy reasons.

Photo update soon, I promise.

Bathing in the Yukon River

Current location: Beez Kneez Hostel, Whitehorse, YT

Finally, I feel clean!

I had originally planned to rent a kayak and paddle to Schwatka Lake, but there was a two person minimum so I rented a bicycle instead. I peddled over to Miles Canyon, ditched the bicycle in the woods, and hiked along the Yukon River Loop Trail hoping to avoid the pools of tourists photographing the Robert Lowe Bridge that crosses the Yukon River and canyon. Five kilometers away from the bridge the trail narrows and foot traffic seemed to die off.

I hadn’t originally planned to go for a swim because of the strong current, but the dirt from the trail was sticking to my skin and the river was so enticing.

20140715-142701-52021643.jpg

20140715-142659-52019542.jpg

20140715-142658-52018324.jpg

The water was freezing and the current was strong but I couldn’t stop myself! How can you when the water is crystal clear and there isn’t a person in sight? I don’t know how long I swam for, but after returning to the banks to put my clothes back on, my fingers where practically translucent and my toes looked like prunes.

IMG_6618

How lovely the Yukon River is, how pretty the sun feels on my skin! Life is so perfect, how could I have ever thought otherwise!

Anyways, I won’t keep you, but after stumbling up the banks to return to the trail (recollecting most of the dirt I washed off), I picked up my first souvenir, pictured  below.

IMG_6623

Oh, and after returning to the bicycle, a group of  travelers winked and asked,  ‘was the water cold?’
Oops.