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32: connections

Updated: Feb 27

Dear Friend,

How are you doing? What’s the latest in the story of YOU? I hope that you’ve had a good week!

Shortly after I posted my blog/letter to you last Sunday, we drove away from campsite #4 at Beaver Creek Provincial Park Campground in Montrose, Canada.

The campground used to be a Kiwanis but was recently acquired by the British Columbia Park System (BC Parks). At the entrance to the campground, there are showers and a set of flushing toilets. And as in most BC parks, there are pit toilets in little cedar-wood buildings, potable water, sink waste receptacle, trash and recycle bins. (Now that we’re in Canada, all campground trash receptacles are bear-proof).

The campground is clean, located on a ridge above the Columbia River. (Though I sometimes include them, it seems monotonous for you to have to read a list of campground amenities so please know that IF you are interested in knowing more about our experience in any of the campgrounds, please write to me and I will be happy to share any info I can). 

Trees provided shade for the back half of our campsite. We were next door to a double site, (two campsites without partition) which soon held three cars and several tents and a group of over 15 people. An adjacent campsite held more of the group, with two more cars and another 8 people. Everyone met “next door” to us. Our neighbors were there to have fun and they all seemed to really enjoy themselves!

One of the most memorable conversations that I couldn’t help but overhear was an announcement made by a man who took his time with the following information so as not to leave out any important details. (Oddly enough, the majority of the crowd was already aware of the details and were more than happy to fill in blanks, especially when it pertained to one specific item: chocolate bars).

Let me talk, let me talk,” he began.

The crowd quickly shushed itself.

He used both hands to aid in describing: “There is a sort of sandwich that comes in a package, it is a box for a special sale at Wal Mart with everything included in this one box, the chocolate bars, marshmallow candy, and crackers…”

He had more to say but several of the women felt the need to comment, “You have to melt the chocolate bars.” “The chocolate candy must be first melted.”

He continued, “And the resulting sandwich is a dessert that you can hold in your hand and eat…”

He paused as he was reminded again, “The chocolate is melted first.” “It must be heated up.”

Smores are not necessarily universal treats and I wondered if anyone was going to address the toasting of the marshmallows. No one did. The man repeated the list of items in the box, discussed his viewpoint on how something with so many elements could become so popular and then one of the ladies said, “We cannot build a fire in the forest, we cannot melt the chocolate.”

That was that.

It was nice to see so many people getting along, laughing, talking all at once, preparing meals, eating together and cleaning up. Except for three children under 7 years old, the rest of the members of the group appeared to be in their early thirties.

I wondered where they had all met. What had connected them. Maybe they’d known each other for a life time, maybe just from work or a club or church.

Lasting connections have a beginning point, something that plots the meeting of two lives at an intersection along two paths.

Recently, I witnessed one such meeting at a campground along the Columbia River. It’s none of my business as much as it is too early to say, but I’m hoping that these two little boys will become life-long friends.

It happened around noon last Monday as I walked from our campsite to fill my water jug at the campground’s potable water spigot. A boy about ten years of age, on a yellow bike, sped up and skidded to a stop, close enough in front of me that I had to adjust my steps to avoid kicking his tire.

I laughed, “That was close!” and he said, “Sorry,” and resumed pedaling.

Right about that time, a family arrived at a nearby campsite in a rented CanaDream Van.

A couple of kids burst from the cab of the van, and one of them, a boy about 8 years old, ran toward the road and yelled after the cycling dare-devil, “Hey, I have a bike!”

The rider of the yellow bike made a quick U-Turn and came back to wait, shyly, as the family started unpacking. And a couple hours later, the two boys, now mates on the World of Cycling’s newest team, were whirring past our campsite, speeding round and round the campground loop, laughing and talking until sunset.

Before 8:00 am the next morning, the two-man peloton sped by again, fast and happy. Throughout the day, the two new friends could be seen playing in the mud by the river, walking to and from the ‘little-kid’ playground, fetching water for their families, together.

Together, all day.

I waited at the water spigot as the two chatted and filled, one, a pan, and the other, a gallon jug.

“Does your dad talk a different language?” asked the 10 year old.

“Yes,” answered the 8 year old.

“How do you know what he’s saying?” the 10 year old wondered out loud.

The two finished filling up their containers and started to walk away. As they did, the conversation continued.

“I speak a different language, too,” the 8 year old said, as if everyone does and it’s not a big deal.

“Is it the same one as your dad?” I heard the 10 year old ask.

What a gift!

At a rest stop just south of Silverton, British Columbia, Canada, we met a group of six motorcyclists. One remarkable thing about this group is that it is made up of priceless, life-long and long-lasting friendships. A fun group, they’ve no doubt seen each other through a lot. It’s a precious thing, friendship, rare and lovely. These guys meet for this annual ride, covering around 300 miles a day from their homes in Bellingham Washington up into Canada and on to Watertown Lakes National Park, in southern Alberta Canada.

Greg, Ray, Ron, Kevin, Tim, Grant Time at their day jobs fulfilled, or nearly so, (correctional and police officers, a GM at REI, an aviation mechanic), they feel grateful to be able to get out and ride in such beautiful scenery, and to do so together (it’s not an easy ride and these guys are not teenagers) … their energy, their camaraderie - extraordinary!

(Greg rides Ducati, Kevin a Yamaha, Grant has a Harley Davidson Police Cruiser, Ray rides BMW, Tim rides Honda and Ron rides BMW).

Safe travels, Bellingham bound!

We’ve met motorcyclists, cyclists and hikers, traveling far distances outside. These adventurers expect to have to deal with weather, but they also have to deal with smoke. That makes things tough. It’s not easy for us, truck camping, to find relief from the smoke, either, so we get very concerned when we meet people who are completely vulnerable. (It goes without saying that I worry about all the creatures, too).

It is sad, the number of wildfires. Do you remember reading Tracks by the Post - Blog/Letter #28 Smokey about the River Cleanup along the Rogue River? Well, there’s a wildfire there now, The Flat Fire. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people (residents, volunteers and forestry/fire crews) and, of course, all of the creatures, for safety and the best outcome for the land and all who love it.

There is a ban on campground fires in Canada. Yet, in our travels, some of our campsite neighbors have had open propane-flame fires at night.

To explain this, Park Operator, Tio, of Rosebery Provincial Camp Ground, told us, “Propane fires are not part of the open flame ban because they don’t generate incendiary particulates like wood fires… unless,” he adds, “someone puts charcoal in them, or, in the case of marshmallows, when a little kid is holding a stainless steel fork and the marshmallow on the end begins to burn, there is a moment of panic and the marshmallow becomes a flying flaming incendiary particulate.” He laughs, “I wish I was kidding. They fling the skewer and the hot-flaming sugar slides off of the hot steel much too easily.”

Tio encourages people to use a wooden skewer if they really need to roast a marshmallow.

We had reserved one night at Rosebery Provincial Camp Ground, also a BC Park, as part of an itinerary that we started to create before we learned that there are a lot of First Come First Served campsites in most of the BC Park System. Yay, spontaneity!

Rosebery Campground is situated along Wilson Creek, a quickly running stream that meanders through dense forests before pouring into the Columbia River.


As we traveled North on Highway 6, the road ended at Galena Bay and continued after a short river crossing by ferry to Shelter Bay.

After our ferry ride, (uneventfully interesting) we drove directly to Blanket Creek Camp Ground in Columbia/Shuswap BC. It was a short walk to the Columbia River and also to Sutherland Falls, on Blanket Creek before it flows into the Columbia River. Truly… Beautiful.

The next morning, back on the road, we crossed into Glacier National Park, British Columbia, secured a campsite at Illecillewaet Campground, and hiked the Grand Glacier Trail up to the falls. We took our time. We could have stayed and stayed, the views were stunning!


These campsites are a short distance from the Illecillewaet River (Big Water), a tributary of the Columbia River.

In Glacier, the river waters look creamy blue/green because they’re rich in particulates (mostly natural, but, unfiltered, are not safe to drink) – this is glacial water, very cold, very old, and at the moment, it’s running very fast.

And for the past few nights, we’ve stayed along Monarch Creek at Kicking Horse Camp Ground in Yoho National Park. Monarch Creek meets Kicking Horse River not far from the entrance to the campground.

There are many wildfires burning in Canada so depending on the wind direction, views of the mountains and glaciers have been hindered by smoke but we’re still in awe of the heights and formations of these gigantic glaciered mountains and hope that weather (hint-hint, rain) will aid forestry and fire crews as they monitor and fight the fires. Ash in the air. It’s summertime on planet earth.

One of the many features of Yoho National Park is Takakkaw Falls. And that is where we’ll leave you. Next week we’ll have more of Frank’s photos and quite possibly more tales from the road.

Thank you, dear Friend, for being here to read Tracks by the Post! We appreciate that you care to think of us and are grateful for your good-thinks in our direction!

Please contact me and let me know how you’re doing. (I’ll reply as soon as I can). The next few days we will be without cell signal.


We wish you a happy week ahead!

Gently Be,

Leslie and Frank

PS: Meet one of our new connections here in Canada:

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