Driving along Crowsnest Highway #3 on the way to Kimberley in beautiful British Columbia, the horizon is overwhelmed with snow-capped mountains. I embark upon this journey annually, and each time I gaze in wonderment at the splendour of the Canadian Rockies.
But the awe-inspiring magnificence fades abruptly where the road passes through mounds of rock on either side, at the site of the Frank Slide. On April 29, 1903, at 4:10 a.m., 82 million tonnes of limestone crashed from the summit of Turtle Mountain and buried part of the sleeping community of Frank in the valley below. An estimated 90 individuals who lived in the southeast end of the town were killed.
For many of us, travel is becoming as commonplace as breathing; while I am journeying in our RV to spend time in Kimberley, my son and his family are touring Italy. Last January when my nephew alerted us to his mother’s critical illness, my husband was at the World Junior Ice Hockey Tournament in Russia, my son was in Mesa, Arizona, and my daughter and I were in Costa Rica.
In the year and a half since I became a published author, the odometer on my vintage Prelude has recorded over 15,000 kilometers! During this time my first two novels, Arriving: 1909–1919 and Thriving: 1920–1939 have travelled even greater distances, to many more cities and countries than I could ever have imagined.
Still, the more I travel, the more I contemplate what the world and its parameters were like for our pioneers. I speculate that once they had experienced a long and tedious journey to arrive in Canada, the majority of them would seldom have left their homesteads for any discernible distances. Quite possibly, their lifelong horizon was the flat prairie stretching into perpetuity, with so many never having the opportunity to see the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains.
As a child my journeys were limited to road trips, and signs along the way have always intrigued me. If you drive on Highway #14 into a small town in Saskatchewan, watch for the sign, “New York is Big, but we are Biggar.” As perennial visitors arrive in Radium Hot Springs in the Kootenay Mountains in British Columbia, ever in awe following their emergence through the towering Sinclair Canyon, they are welcomed by, “The Mountains Shall Bring Peace to the People.”
Without a doubt though, the most inspirational sign for me was the one that entreats those travelling into Tamarindo, along the coast of Costa Rica, to “Exercise daily. Walk with my Son. –God.”