I’m in Canmore now, in the mountains, it’s snowing and I’m camping off the sides of the roads, hiding in the trees, cooking pasta in hollows curled up Indian style with a big flannel blanket someone donated to me out on the plains wrapped over my head.
The simple dreaming wonder of just being alive is incredible; I can't put into words how I’m really feeling about it all. The peaks are huge staring giants pasted with strips of dusted snow, the valleys are full sweeping sighs of endless rusting pines, and it’s up, over, down, around. I snake smoothly along the river, and it may never end, it may never begin. I’ve lost track of time or days or noon or night. There’s nothing but humming loaded bicycle tires, chilling wind, boiling pasta water, and freezing temps.
I woke up yesterday to the first real heavy snow of the trip. The water bottles in the tent had become clear plastic blocks of ice and I couldn't get out because the zipper had frozen together from the snow and sleet. And just then a large farm horse nudged curiously at the tent and I laughed out loud and said well now what, yes then, now what. When I did finally free myself I was astonished to see the brown fields of yesterday covered in waves of white and my bike completely buried in a snowdrift from the evening wind. I stood in my underwear, staring at the scene, thinking to myself, is this really my life?
The mountains are a great relief from the plains however. I spent the last 2 weeks fighting a 40 mph curved cloud Chinook head wind everyday for 6-7 hours at a crack which would move me roughly 30-40 miles a day depending on my motivation. I’ve never done anything that compares to the mental or physical suffering I’ve endured these past weeks. I’ve lost at least 10lb despite my constant eating, and feel as though I’m wasting away to nothing. When I look at my sunken cheek distant eyed stare reflection in gas station bathroom mirrors I appear a stranger to myself, but at the same time can’t recall ever feeling stronger or happier than I do right now.
So I push forward; I always say forward because even small, slow movement is forward movement. It’s a series highs and lows, the lows further than I can imagine myself sinking and the highs elation like I never thought existed. I see more clearly what I’m made of and in the past weeks have pressed harder than I ever thought I could have. It’s become more than a trip, it's become a series of moments shaping into something I couldn't have previously understood, gradually changing the way I see myself and the world around me. It’s far more than I ever bargained for and it's not nearly over yet. All of the road ahead, all of the road behind.