August 11th – 19th

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every driving day a different colour

I left for Olds on Friday August 11th, after stopping at Knibbe to have my leaky tire filled with air. I was so ready to be back on the road, on to what’s next, to sleeping outside, the gypsy life!  I drove out to Cochrane and headed for hi way 766 going north. After a few missed turns to avoid busy roads, I found my way to Olds where I spent the weekend visiting with family, and checking out property N of Sundre at a friends’ acreage, as a possible location for an installation.
When I woke on Monday morning I had a sore throat,  it seems as though I picked up a cold along with all the hugs and kisses from the kids I was visiting! I used my arsenal of herbs and vitamins to try to ward it off, then I headed west to Sundre. It turned out that the road I thought I would take, was a logging road, not suitable for an RV, so I turned back and caught the 22 S to hook up with the 1a just outside of Cochrane….
way too much traffic and construction for my comfort.
I stopped at Ghost dam for a break, before heading west towards the Kananaskis. After getting lost and then redirected, along with other tourists, I finally made my way into the mountains, just as it was starting to rain. I decided to stop for the night at Mount Kidd campground…pricey, but worth it. It was a good quiet spot, I was tired and my cold was making itself at home in spite of my best efforts to obliterate it!!!
It was a damp, cold, rainy, night, but no one is complaining, the rain is so desperately needed, we are grateful!

Tuesday August 15th
I woke up feeling OK actually. It was a glorious, clear, blue sky day – the drive would be magnificent, I couldn’t wait!  I was on the road by 10a, heading S on the #40.
Everything was alive and fresh from the rain – renewed –
Where I was, what I was witnessing, the wonder of it all brought me to tears, I felt weepy almost the entire drive, so filled with gratitude!

I took a break at the Longview tourist info, picked up some maps for the Crowsnest pass and then proceeded down the 22, stopping at Bar U ranch  to speak to someone about the possibility of an installation there. I spoke with Sandra and Mike, both of whom seemed amenable to the idea. I left postcards and all my contact info with them and then continued south. By the time I got to the #3,  I was ready to call it a day. I found a spot in a first come, first serve, part of Lundbreck Falls provincial park, spoke with an attendant, then slept for the rest of the afternoon. I made chicken soup for supper and even though I had slept well, I was feeling worse. There was no cell service, no internet, no water, no power…if I decided to stay,  I would have to find somewhere else to park tomorrow.

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Lundbreck Falls Provincial Park    AB

Wednesday August 16th
After checking out of the campground in the morning, I went to a coffee shop in Blairmore to hook up with wifi, to help me decide what to do next. After stopping at a pharmacy to get some cough drops, I went to speak to someone at the forestry office about the possibility for an install in the area, maybe in the remnants of the ’03 fire.
I spoke with a ranger who was very helpful. He gave me a map and pointed out possible areas to check out on Castle mountain. I left some postcards and contact info, then immediately went to check into Lost Lemon campground. The manager was very helpful, she gave me the quietest spot in the park. Even though it was not normally a place I would choose to stay at, it had everything I needed. I had a shower, something to eat, went to bed, and slept very soundly until 7p, when I was woken up by the train that passed right in front of the campground –  still feeling poorly 😦

Thursday  August 17th
Finally all the sleep I was getting, was starting to  help, I was actually feeling OK when I woke up. So I decided to go and scout around for possibilities on Castle mountain.
The road was very rough, but I went slowly and stopped often, each time thinking this could be a great spot, then further ahead I’d see even better possibilities! After touring around for a couple of hours I decided that I would stay in the area and create an eclipse piece up here. I found a great spot on a wide open plateau with burnt out trees from the Lost Creek fire as a backdrop that seemed to fit all the criteria.  So I started to look for a campground to stay at that would be quiet, and  give me time to get ready as well as continue to recover. I chose Crowsnset Mountain Resort, west of Coleman, away from the hi way. Castlegar would be next. I immediately relaxed and felt like it was the right decision – the cold/flu/whatever I have – slowed me down enough to make sure I would stay put –  so here I am – put!
I fell asleep with the blinds wide open, the stars were amazing, no ambient light, not many people – super dark, super quiet, super grateful!

Lost Creek fire      2003                 Castle mountain AB

Saturday August 19th   5p
My rear tire was showing low again, so I called AMA to come and check it out, before I go into the back country tomorrow. The guy came in under 20 minutes. He found that I had a cracked tire rim, and explained that it was dangerous to drive that way, so he swapped out the tire for the spare and inflated it. It would be fine until Monday, then I could have the good tire put back on for the duration of my trip.
I spent the rest of the day getting ready for tomorrow, powering up, dumping stuff off the computer etc. Getting excited about what could happen – spent time looking at the photos I took – I think I know what I will do, but I won’t know for sure until I walk the terrain. I’m feeling organized and prepared… here’s hoping the weather cooperates because it means I have to install it tomorrow, Sunday, and leave it overnight, come back to the campground, power up and dwnld everything that I shoot on Sunday, before going back up again on Monday morning. I made sure forestry knew of my plans and made a sign to leave up overnight in case there were any curious passersby.

crazy alien clouds in the Crowsnest

Physically I’m feeling better, I only had to blow my nose once last night. Still feeling heaviness in my chest and some head stuff, but not debilitating like before!
Feeling a sense of happiness, liberation, support and gratitude – welling up for all of it!

Louise
Okori

All images  © Louise Pagé   2017

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