August 23nd – Sept 5th


Every driving day a different color

After getting my tires retorqued in Coleman I headed west, and made it as far as Cranbrook, before I decided to park for the night. It wasn’t a great campground, in the city, noisy, ambient light, friendly host, but not an ideal spot, so the next morning I left heading towards Creston. I stopped at a garage sale, where I scored a great magazine rack for $20, next… a fruit stand to stock up on fresh stuff, then north on the 3a, a windy road along the east shores of Kooteney lake. I was headed towards the Kooteney Bay ferry terminal…. eventually. My friends were going to be away until after the long weekend, so there was no hurry to get anywhere. The weather was beautiful, even if it was smoky, my head still felt like it was in a fish bowl, and exhaustion lingered – the perfect recipe for a beach break. So I stopped at Grey Creek, and checked into Cedar Grove campground for 5 days. The manager was so sweet, she gave me 5 envelopes of Emergen-C  for my cold….and it worked, by the time I left, there was no sign of my cold anywhere in my body!!! 3 weeks!!
It was still dusty, and smoky, but I had water, power, internet, cell service, it was the perfect place to recuperate. There was a rocky beach just across the road, that I went and hung out at one afternoon. I also went to Yasodhara Ashram for lunch one day and to visit the grounds…looking for possibilities. I wasn’t able to see the temple as it was still under construction, but I sat and did a meditation in the beach cottage which was very peaceful. I signed up for 30 minutes, ended up omming for an hour…..
timeless meditations…the best!!
Lunch was eaten in complete silence – unexpected –
I left my postcards, portfolio and contact info with a volunteer to pass on to the person in charge, but in truth what I saw wasn’t drawing me, except maybe something around the beach – we’ll see what happens  –

Grey Creek Beach  BC                                        smoke, crossing Kooteney lake

I left Grey Creek on Monday morning, feeling ready to move on, Castlegar being an eventual destination. The ferry ride to Balfour Bay was exquisite – the longest free ferry in Canada – Out in the wide open space of the lake you could really see the pervasiveness of the smoke, the valley had been filling up with it all week long, getting progressively worse, the smell was very strong, visibility was limited.
I had seen Woodbury’s RV resort advertise water craft for rent, so I headed there when I disembarked, hoping to be able to kayak or SUP. But as it turned out, they only rented motor boats. Once again, not a great campground, although I had a beach front spot, neighbours were very close, and between the gnats and the smoke and the dust, being outside was not very pleasant. I browsed my camping app and found a provincial campground just south of Balfour bay, that rented kayaks and SUP’s, so I made a reservation for the next night.
Stopping at Ainsworth Hot springs the next day was a glorious idea! Breathing all that wonderful steam and the warm healing water on the body before continuing on the drive was perfect. I loved it!
After Ainsworth I stopped at a roadside café just outside of Balfour bay, spoke with a french Canadian guy, a longer than usual conversation, he was very chatty – as it turned out it was just long enough for me not to be involved in a car accident – less than 20 cars ahead of me!  Blessed!
Kokanee Provincial park was beautiful. Large parking spots, lots of space between guests divided by tall shrubs, lots of trees, close to the water – so I decided to stay for 2 nights even though there was no power, no water, no internet, limited cell service. I had enough propane and water to last a couple of nights.
After checking in and getting my bearings, I went for a hike through the grass lands, watched the Kokannee going upstream to spawn, sat on the beach, beautiful white sand, warm water, sunshine masked by smoke – I just sat and watched everything and everyone – drinking it all in, absorbing it – nothing interfering with just ‘BE’ ing –

Kokanee heading upstream to spawn                Kokanee Provincial Park   BC

August 30th 2017   I wrote:
I feel curiously silent – even in my head – especially in my head – not particularly chatty, feeling very unplugged – pas interessée – but also not feeling very retrospective – in spite of the silence – silence is enough – maybe it is everything!
Feeling open – well maybe what would be more accurate is that I’m feeling the opening happen – small breaths at a time – watching – witnessing – curious  –

I spent the next morning Kayaking, it was stellar! Bald eagles, parents and juveniles, osprey, herons, dozens of them all going to the creek to feed.
I was so happy to have found this place, grateful to be a witness to such magnificence!
I weep!!!

kayaking in  Kokanee Creek provincial park    BC

Sept. 5th
When I arrived in Castlegar it was the first clear blue sky I had seen since arriving in BC. The first thing I did was stop at my friends property just outside of town to see what the possibilities looked like for an installation on their land. The weeds were knee high and dry as a bone, crispy and golden – the blankness of the space would give me a lot of freedom. I came up with some ideas, then made my way down the mountain and drove to Castelgar Golf and RV resort, east of town, away from the hiway, train tracks, and city lights. Your neighbours were close to you , but there was reliable internet, water, power, showers, all in a beautiful setting, surrounded by green grass – the first green grass I’d seen in a long time.  I hadn’t thought of a golf course to put up an installation, but this one was beautiful. I could see the piece under the large cedars, along the hills, against the greens…I decided to ask about the possibility, knowing that it would be a long shot!!!!  They said no, but I think I will pursue the golf course idea, maybe somewhere else.

I had it in mind to create a full moon piece on Sept. 6th, a week away. The eerie orange glow of the fire moon could be amazing.  I began imagining what I would do as I worked diligently creating, writing/editing  my blog/website, as well as replenishing my inventory of ‘hai’ lights.


All images    © Louise Pagé     2017

August 20th-21st Solar Eclipse

August 20th
I arrived at my chosen location on Castle Mountain around 12:30p, walked the terrain, modified my original idea, scaled it down somewhat so it wouldn’t get lost in the vast space. Instead of the spiral that I had originally envisioned, I decided to put the pieces in the burnt out stumps scattered throughout the plateau. A few curious people slowed down as they drove past and a ranger from Pincher creek stopped and came by to speak with me.
I continued to work until after 5p, got down from the mountain and to the campground by 7:30 – exhausted!! I had some difficulty with the camera/cord connection so  the battery pack was completely depleted, as well as all the other equipment. I will have to make sure that doesn’t happen tomorrow. I plugged everything in, was in bed and asleep by 10p…….looking forward to seeing what happens tomorrow!


August 21st
I had set the alarm for 6a – was up by 6:30, on the road by 7:30, and on the mountain by 8:45 – the pieces were quite damp from the dew, a little wimpy, there was absolutely no wind, almost no clouds. I set up the action cam to take time-lapse photos, secured everything in case the wind showed up, then sat down in my chair to watch, to just ‘be’ in the space.
I wanted to say that the silence was startling, but in fact the more I tuned into the silence the more the space filled with the sound of buzzing bees, and flies, crickets and squirrels, ravens and songbirds – it was amazing!
I was alone on the mountain as far as I could tell. The campers/fishermen from the weekend had vacated, not one single vehicle drove by.
It didn’t really get dark during the eclipse, it was more like a cloud passed over the sun, it looked more like twilight, and it got very cold. I had to get another t-shirt and wrapped myself in my shawl.
I started taking stills and video with the iPad just after the peak around 11:30a, and took down the action cam around 12:30p, so I could get some overhead shots. When my arm got tired I put the monopod down. I can’t remember how it happened exactly but the camera ended up upside down. I noticed when I happened to glance at my iPad. What I saw was an amazing view that I would not have seen otherwise. I loved the perspective, so I started to shoot everything upside down. I couldn’t wait to see how they turned out.  I was done by 2p, so once again everything came down.

It was as though nothing had ever been there, yet at the same time, it was as though something was missing.

I bonged my bowl in gratitude then slowly made my way down the mountain, spotting a moose…on the loose…beautiful, majestic

IMG_0403 2.jpg
wandering moose

I stopped at the RV car wash before going back to the campground. When I got back, I cleaned the van – so much dust! did laundry, had a shower, Shepard’s pie for dinner, dwnld everything to the computer, backed it up. It wasn’t until after 9p that I actually got to see what I had shot –
I had felt somewhat disappointed not only with the seemingly uneventful event, but also with the piece – it wasn’t quite what I expected somehow – everything was feeling very anti-climatic. I went into self-doubt, criticizing mode – ‘what am I doing this for?’ ….
and then I looked at the footage and was blown away with what I saw – what the camera picked up – the upside down photos/video were brilliant  – so beautiful – I wept!
I’m always so quick to judge and criticize not just the work but me as well!
Time to learn some self compassion!

August 22nd
Woke up to another glorious day.  I spent it at the RV place, the tire shop, tourist information connecting to wifi, calling friends who I’m hoping to connect with in the Kooteneys, checked directions to Yasodhara ashram for a possible visit to their temple of light, Melted, stretched, exercised on the picnic table – so needed –
Got up early Wednesday morning to catch up on journal writing, had B/F and then stretched a bit before leaving, heading towards Cranbrook.
This cold continues to linger in my head and sinuses, and exhaustion seems to have become a constant companion.


All images   text © Louise Pagé     2017

August 11th – 19th


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.

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!


All images  / text © Louise Pagé   2017