We’ve covered a LOT of ground since the beginning. Like, over 1,600km/1000 miles now. But I guess I’ll catch you up with recent events!
Dad, Amelia and I started out from Castlegar on the Columbia Western Rail Trail, part of the Trans Canada Trail. We spent 4 days to get from Castlegar to Grand Forks. The first day, we had to deal with the new experience of tunnels and trestle bridges. Misty, Judy and Mak all did well. They’re not afraid of heights like I am, so they walked over those bridges like it was an every day happening. The tunnels were pretty amazing though!
We ended that day with a 1km long tunnel, where we had to use headlamps and couldn’t see the other end! Misty and Judy did fine with it. They just followed Amelia and I, though they followed more quickly if we kept the lights pointed at the ground right before their feet. Mak wanted to turn around and go back to the light, but he finally gave up when the girls got too far ahead and weren’t stopping.
Day 2 we had a few more bridges, and we went under the highway bridge that goes over the canyon. It was a pretty warm day, but less smoky than the day before. We could see hints of fantastic views. I felt like the trail kept getting narrower, so I tried to keep distracting myself so I wasn’t miserable to ride with. I’m not sure that it worked…
Misty kept on walking right by the outside edge of the trail. I would see how long I could stand not looking down, which usually wasn’t more than a couple minutes, then I would move her back over to “safety” on the inside of the trail. This repeated on and off for the first three days. I still really don’t like seeing over the edge, but I think I’m a little better at controlling my initial fear responses.
Day three was probably the hottest of this little leg. We made it to Christina Lake after crossing this harrowing little shored up part of the trail. There was a new walking bridge to use from one side to the other, but it was too narrow for Judy’s packs to fit. Dad tested out this built up part of the trail that followed the mountain to check that it was stable enough for the horses. I ended up going first with Misty, and just kept my eyes on the ground in front of my feet.
We all had to make sure both us and the horses stayed as close to the mountain as possible, because the trail was much narrower and the shored sections creaked ominously underfoot if you were too close to the edge. One part of it was littered with scree as well, so it wasn’t the best footing. In my head I was singing “Don’t push me, cause I’m close to the edge. I’m trying not to lose my head!” And then the rest of the medley from Happy Feet popped into my head and made me feel better.
We ended the day at Christina Lake, where we went down to town for icecream and met Maylyn and Emily with One Tree Adventures and their fellow Nature Detectives! It was a bonus to be able to teach the detectives about horses, on top of what they had already learned on their hike.
From Christina Lake to Grand Forks we had new experiences too! After we went over this ginormous train bridge refitted for the trail, we were finally done with all the heights. The Snow Birds were flying by for the last hurrah of the airshow put on in Grand Forks, and the horses handled it with no problems. Even when a helicopter landed about 500 meters away from them they didn’t spook! We ended up at Karan and Richard’s place and they took care of the horses while Dad went to a family wedding on the opposite coast, and I visited family in Calgary and Edmonton.
After we came back, we scouted some trails, dropped some bales, restocked and headed out on the next leg of the trip!
Special thanks to the following:
Jim/Faye Aiken, Rick Seymour, Sue Adrain, Karan Moore/Richard Stardom/Commune, Maylyn/Emily with One tree adventures and their fellow nature detectives!