April 23, 1999


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Journal Entry - April 23, 1999 -  (Ft. Macleod, Alberta)

Harry Chapin credits his grandfather with the description of two types of tired. He says there's good-tired and bad-tired. Bad-tired may be when you've had a good day, but you've fought other people's battles and lived their dreams, so that when you settle down at night, you toss and turn. Good-tired, ironically, may be when you lost, but you fought your own battles and lived your own dreams, so that when you settle down at night, you rest easy and you sleep well.

It's day 38 into this journey. I've crossed British Columbia after 1075 kilometres and 7600 metres of elevation gain. I've camped in strange and difficult locations, and I've had many challenging moments. Now I'm in Calgary resting with some good friends, realizing I'm about 15% of the way. Everyone I have come in contact with has been extremely supportive. My feet are doing incredibly well today. I suspect the orthotics are doing their job… My body is feeling good. My mind is still my friend. A very tough part of the journey is done and I will sleep well tonight. I'm good-tired and I love it.

The past 7 days have been 260 kilometres of breaking in my new orthotics and crossing my first provincial boundary. I'm 3 days ahead of schedule, so I'm taking an incredible 3 day weekend! Although I feel a bit guilty at doing so, I realize that the guilt is formed by my perceived notion that I must suffer throughout this trip. Indeed, I do not have to suffer, ever. So I will relax. Thank you.

It feels like the good weather is coming on. Save for yesterday's wet snow and brutal evening, I am optimistic that spring will find me.

Like everything in life, travelling without a support vehicle has many advantages and disadvantages. The good things are that I don't have to worry about people arguing for the joy of massaging my feet at the end of each day. There's also no reason to make up an elaborate schedule to decide whose turn it is to set up camp, or to cook or do the dishes. This keeps things simple. On the other hand, there is no one to take a quick trip up the road to see if there's anywhere to get some water, or if there's a better campsite around the corner. Nope. Where I get to is where I stay. What I've got is what I've got.

This has worked out okay so far. Except for the first night out of Cranbrook when I was running out of water, my feet were attempting mutiny, and my maps were better suited as napkins than navigational aids. (Hey, could we call a useless map a mapkin…sorry) Anyway, I thought I'd found a good site, but when I checked it out, I found two deer carcasses lying there. Reluctantly, I continued on. Shortly thereafter I chose to set up camp about 5 metres from the side of the road since I could not continue further. Since I needed water for the next morning's travel, I could not use any for cooking dinner, and I was very hungry. A dry dinner was not what my body had in mind. But it was better than nothing at all. The next day, I came across a water source less than 1 kilometre from my "camp", and after kicking myself passionately, I realized that this will happen again, and I don't want to get in the habit of kicking myself, so I stopped. Was I correct to do so?

I've figured out why horses stop to stare at me, I think. I look like one! With my tall front and short following rear, I look like a horse. They must think I've come to replace them or something. Lately, I've noticed that I appear to have a laxative effect on them. I could explain that more, but I think I'll let it go… Large herds of elk have taken an interest in me. And mountain goats too. One mountain goat stared at me for about 10 minutes as I disappeared over the horizon. Even saw my first coyote as I approached Fort Macleod who did 4 double takes before scampering off into the distance.

Figured out my sleeping bag. It's actually quite fantastic with lots of bells & whistles to keep me cozy. If you're in the market for one, check out the "Infinity Sports" bags. I'm impressed. In Vancouver, Randy sells them at the Backpackers Shop. I think he's opening up a new store across from MEC this month. Check him out.

Cheri, my nutritionist friend, said the biggest challenge for me would be "taste fatigue". So while I'm on the topic of shameless promotion, I would like to confess that I have yet to tire of taste or texture from either the Stealth Energy Bar or the Fireball Energy Gel. That's after 32 days of at least two each per day. I still look forward to them. I think I'm going to be okay. Thanks Gary!

East of Elko, I came across an avalanche zone with a rest stop in it. How's that for a tourist trap?

Fernie is spectacular. I love the mountains and this town has mountains galore. I also loved the Fernie Park Place Lodge. What a treat after a few days on the road. Heavenly. Even found an all-you-can-eat chinese food dinner! Wow. Let me at it! Met with their mayor, Tiny Shatosky, who is an eccentric character befitting this unique town. I really enjoyed Fernie…

I've been doing quite a few newspaper interviews this week, and it will be interesting to see how they all turn out since every reporter asks different questions (after the standard and obvious ones, of course). I see that Rob, the webmaster supreme, has created a media page so I hope we see the articles soon from Cranbrook, Fernie (2), Crowsnest Pass & Fort Macleod.

So I made it to Alberta. Coming through the Crowsnest Pass was a wonderful feeling of jubilation and accomplishment. As if to commemorate the moment, the universe sent some hail, and Ingrid from Calgary videotaping the crossing without me knowing so. Ingrid is convinced that the RoadRunner will be the next form of popular transportation in the 21st century. Her companions and I remained skeptical, but I revelled in her enthusiasm, since I was already quite enthusiastic. Nice moment.

In fact, every day seems to have its special moments. They sometimes appear out of the blue, or sometimes I can sense them coming and I say to myself, "Oooohh, here comes a nice moment…" These can be instances where all is well, or appears to be so. Times where all of life's challenges are momentarily forgotten. There's no thought of tired feet, or hunger or anything sensually lacking (that means "of the senses", I hope…). It's just a moment that stands alone as wonderful, memorable and joyful. Due to my current reading material, and the appropriateness of the name, I have taken to calling these: "Avalon Moments".

Most of you reading these words today are enthusiastic people of life. You have an interest in this trip for reasons of your own, but you share a common bond with me that you enjoy life and the pursuit of dreams. I wish you well over these days to come. I hope you lie down at the end of each one and say to yourself, "What a day. I'm good-tired, and I love it."

May Avalon find you frequently.

Coyote Kevin


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