Well I’ve been procrastinating in posting my latest stats for my hypothetical Walk Across Canada. My life has been busy lately. The sister and her family drove out from Alberta to celebrate Easter with us. They stayed eight days and filled my house with lots of noise! Happy laughter, exciting squeals, mad shrieks, sleepy whines. It’s lovely and tiring all at the same time, to go from a quiet existence to a tumultuous one. I was sad to see them go.
Now on for my stats. Since the last time I posted back on March 15, I’ve walked 342.43 km at an average pace of 6.25 km an hour. My total to date is 1185.13 km. So if I was hypothetically walking east from Prince Rupert along Highway 16 towards the Alberta border, I would have reached Jasper early this week. I would have passed through the scenic Robson valley and the small town of McBride, BC (which if I could only find a reason to live there I would, as it appeals greatly to me with it’s open valley bottom rimmed with lofty mountains on either side––perfect for a small ranch with horses and chickens and garden!) To learn more about McBride click here!
I would have walked through some of the most gorgeous mountain scenery in Canada (in my opinion). It’s not as well know of course as Jasper and Banff, Alberta, but I find the Robson Valley and Mount Robson quite spectacular. Last summer I stopped on my drive out for a quick hike into Overlander Falls near the Mount Robson Campground. I plan on exploring the area more when I get the opportunity. I would love to do a few more longer hikes into the back-country.
Eventually I would have crossed over the provincial border into Alberta, the province of my birthplace and what I consider my home province. I’m a prairie girl through and through, but mountains are my second home. Closer and closer to Jasper I would see great swaths of normally green forest now a browny-orangey-red of dying pine trees. Evidence of the pine beetle wrecking havoc. It’s sad to see. Other patches show places where forest fire has ripped through. The highway is tighter here and the valleys narrower and deeper as the mountains walls rise up steeply. Ponds and lakes glitter brilliant aquamarine and rivers foam white as they tumble over rocks and boulders.
Jasper is smaller than Banff and a little more isolated. But I find it busy and crowded. Too many tourists for me. I have enjoyed stays in the off season, but haven’t had much opportunity to explore in the summer. I’ve explored Malign Canyon in -30, enjoying the spectacular ice falls. Malign River starts at Medicine Lake and flows through a limestone network of underground streams to come out in Malign Canyon. I was intrigued to hear that scientific experiments have been done and they discovered that water disappears into underground channels and has reappeared in far off lakes one of which was Pine Lake (near where I grew up in Central Alberta) which is a heck of a long ways away. Apparently there is a whole network of underground rivers and what not that extends hundred of thousands of miles around.
I’ve decided on my figurative walk that I would turn south towards Banff and travel along the Icefield Parkway through some of the most iconic and scenic National Parks of Canada. Jasper is 1095 km from Prince Rupert. I’ll start charting my way from Jasper, AB now. From Japser I’ve walked 90.13 km. I will have passed by Athabasca Falls (one of the most well-know waterfalls in the park and very impressive despite not being very tall) after 32 km. Sunwapta Falls at 56 km and would be 8 km short of reaching the Glacier Skywalk in the Columbian Icefields which holds the largest expanses of ice south of the Arctic Circle.
Last summer I drove past the Skywalk a couple times and considered stopping and trying it out, but for the mad amount of tourists there and the fact that I wanted to keep driving. The glaciers can be visited in the summer and one can go on tours that takes you up on them in glacier buggies with massive tires. The great sheets of ice are impressive even though they are shrinking. Scientists are trying to figure out how to stop or slow down the shrinking rate of the glaciers. Which reminds me of what my son was up to this week.
My son this week has turned activist. His mission is to save endangered animals. He and his friends have been reading up on animals that are in peril of going extinct and they have spent hours drawing posters and coming up with a group name. They decided on S.E.A. (Which stands for Save Endangered Animals, of course) Their poster features a few animal drawings and a blurb about why they are endangered. It also says to contact them for more information on how they can help save these animals.
So I asked him what he’s going to tell these people when they contacted him. He didn’t know what he was going to tell them exactly, he just knew that he needed to do something––anything. “Raise money or something, mom. They can give money and we can save them.”
I thought about how our children are learning to “save” things by giving money. It seems to be the go-to thing. Give money to Save Animals, Cure Cancer, Fix Climate Change, Stop Poverty and Bring about World Peace. More money, more solutions right? Maybe. Maybe not.
I showed him a site that is marketing BEE Earrings that will SAVE THE BEES. I looked everywhere on their website to see where and how that money they say they will use to save the bees is going to be used. I couldn’t find anything. I wonder if it’s just a ploy. Preying on people’s sympathies. He was very upset that people would take advantage. I asked him how he could do differently with his SEA program.
He had to do some hard thinking and decided he needed to do his research and background work first. That deflated him a bit and I wondered if I was doing the right thing by pressing him. I asked him, what we could do to save the bees without giving money to buy unnecessary trinkets. His ideas centered mainly on lifestyle change (drastic ones of course because that’s how kids think), such as getting rid of our vehicles and stop using pesticides and the like. He was totally willing to do it! Now he just needed everyone else to do it too. I personally don’t want to give up my vehicle, I’m kind of attached.
Change how we live is hard to do. Especially when it requires us to be unselfish and to make sacrifices. We would far rather give money than change our lifestyles. And because there are so many many worthwhile and necessary causes out there in this world, it becomes rather overwhelming to know even where to start when it comes to changing our lifestyle.
In trying to teach my son. I realize I’m teaching myself. Some thoughts we discussed in how to help save endangered animals (which can apply to many other things such as missions or humanitarian aid or curing diseases) are:
Pick one that’s close to you, or that you are passionate about. (Closest to home is sometimes the easiest to get yourself physically involved with, my son decided to focus on the Vancouver Island Marmot)
Educated yourself, read up on what you would like to help or “save”.
Research how others are going about saving these animals. And then do your homework to see which one is actually making a difference.
See if there are practical changes you can make in your lifestyle that will help.
Raise awareness among your peers––by not shaming or pointing fingers (this is what he decided his posters and S.E.A. group would be about, bringing attention that there are endangered animals, to his friends and schoolmates).
Bring it to the attention of your community or government, if possible.
Only then, give money when it’s going to places it will be effective. (which means do your research on the groups or organizations).
Sometimes, a cause or need arises and you feel strongly you need to give too or lift a hand. Sometimes that is exactly what you need to do.
Any other thoughts on how we can Save the _____________ ?