Today we went from Squamish to Lillooet. Meaningless names yesterday but real, unforgettable places now. I woke to Mike gone in the preternaturally-early morning after a strangely-late sunset in a cabin on a river somewhere outside Squamish. It was nice to wake up at my own speed, do my five sun salutations, make my tea, finish my blog post from yesterday. I knew he was off scouting for fishing and photography opportunities. If we were a caveman couple, I’d be warming up the pot of roots and berries over the fire and he’d be off shooting some game to eat.
I took a walk around the cabin site, which we’d found last night at almost 11 pm mostly by feel and written-out directions from the sweet-faced waitress at the casino. During my perambulation, I took photos and found a trail through greening woods along a turquoise river. Purple hollyhocks grew wild among fields of daisies accented by columbine, and big fat bees, bigger than any in Hawaii, worked zillions of flowers busily. I walked along in an almost dreamy state, it was so technicolor and peaceful, not another soul around but butterflies. I found wild blackberries and raspberries and ate them, but that reminded me this was Bear Country and that they might like blackberries (and redheads) for breakfast so I didn’t go too far off the road, especially since literally no one in the world knew where I was, a strange and discombobulating feeling. I pictured the bear, roaring out from behind a tree wanting my berries, deciding I was invading his territory by stealing them, the crunch of my skull between his massive teeth, brains oozing between his writhing black lips…
Well damn. Now I found I had pep-stepped back to the cabin and squished my remaining berries in my overwrought state. (My imagination is both friend and enemy.)
Mike returned, we got on the road, and it was beautiful for miles of vistas, views, rugged mountains and lush foliage. We stopped in Whistler and used the internet at Starbucks to upload my blog and his photo, and refresh with Frappucinos before hitting the road again. Sometime outside of Whistler, we took a wrong turn which we realized was a wrong turn when it literally dead ended at a lake. A kindly (all Canadians so far have been kindly) fisherman directed us back to where we'd gone astray. We’d gone an hour out of our way.
Recouping involved eating chocolate, telling each other funny stories of other wrong turns we’d taken on the road of life, and stopping for gas at the tiny run-down hamlet of Lil'Wat to fuel up and confirm we were on the right track. I kept wanting to call the ladies who ran the gas station store Native American, and realized I have no idea what the politically correct term is in Canada, so after much debate Mike and I decided it must be proper to call the locals “indigenous tribal people.” My favorite sight of the day was two elderly indigenous tribal ladies in wheelchairs, decked out in beads, shawls and moccassins, hawking raffle and bingo tickets off the deck of the store and tracking their enterprises on iPads.
The gas station owner was kind to us in our lost state, gave us free coffee and directions, and I bought a beautiful beaded barrette so I’d always remember that little town and send prayers and blessings to the people there.
On we went, taking a break for fishing at the only river we’d found that wasn’t thick and chalky with runoff melt. Mike caught the first fish of the trip, a tiny German brown trout. We met the famous mosquitoes we’d heard so much about, three times as big as Hawaiian ones, so big I could feel their weight when they landed, and we were glad we’d taken everyone’s advice and hosed down with bug spray.
Back on the road, we somehow took another wrong turn which we discovered when the road turned to dirt, bordered by miles of purple and white flowers. In the morning, that road would have made a gorgeous photo, but by then, it was getting late—(7:30 p.m.) and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast (besides chocolate, coffee, and almonds.) I was fed up with still being three hours away from our campsite due to wrong turns, and Mike was fed up with not being able to fish. We compromised and he dropped me off at a motel in our default location, Lillooet, a town with the motto “Genuinely Rugged.”
The Mile O Motel smelled of pine cleaner and was decorated in painted cement block and shiny imitation Laura Ashley. I walked several blocks of deserted sidewalk, diverted by extraordinarily dramatic clouds overhead and stunning rock and cliff formations around the “genuinely rugged” town, which looked like it had got its start in the mining days.
I ate tasty, fresh Greek food at a nearby restaurant and am running myself a bubble bath as Mike is ending the day as he likes to, fishing pole in one hand and camera in the other.
Hopefully we are a little more on target with our destinations tomorrow. After all, we have a ferry to catch to Alaska in four days, and these mountains can’t go on forever… can they?