Canada is wild and fresh and breathtaking. Canada is alive and vibrant and has an energy you can feel as it courses through your veins. Canada is adventure and serenity mixed in this bundle that is hard to describe but easy to experience. Canada is not rumored to be the words “friendly,” “open,” and “passionate” but instead it lives by these definitions. Canada is pure freedom in the most beautiful and simple way that can only be experienced underneath those grandfather trees or by the shore when filling your lungs with air as you breathe in. Canada is all you need and yet still finds a way to brim with the ‘more’ you only found you needed when you arrived. But finally, Canada is also puppies in taxis and let’s be honest — Is there anything better in the world than all of this?
When we tell people about our British Columbia kayaking with whales trip, I’m continually surprised at their response: “Surely, that didn’t happen,” they tell us through laughter. Maybe they say this because they cannot believe we both made it out of Canada — not only alive but together. I like to believe, however, that they say this as a compliment — That the only way they can fathom our magical trip is by believing I simply created the entire story . . . .
To say there is a virus, that decisions are made that do not make the most sense, that the world seems to be crumbling around us, and that life is hard — sure, we are all experiencing this. However, if we pause to focus on the positives, there are also parts of life that are super rewarding, incredibly beautiful and these are the parts I’m holding onto.
It was Day One of our kayak adventure when Andrew asked loudly, “L, is this yours?” We stood in the middle of the charming Paddlers Inn, a floating lodge off of a remote British Columbia island. Go figure he would be showcasing only this for my entire new kayaking group to see . . .
“I cannot believe we made it,” Andrew and I kept saying, verging on tears and hugging each other. Against all odds, we did made it to British Columbia’s unbelievably gorgeous Telegraph Cove. Here was the start to our whale kayaking and wild camping adventure . . .
“Expedia cancelled all of your flights,” the airline representative told us the day we were supposed to travel to Canada for a week-long whale kayaking and wild camping trip. “This happens often with people that book through Expedia. If I could say not to do one thing in the future, it would be not to book through Expedia.” And was only a glimmer of our nightmare travel due to Expedia’s mess-up.
It is rare I’m willing to re-hike any trail; however, when it comes to the Three Falls hike, I vote the seventy-foot Dark Hollow Falls for its height and beauty.
People often talk of one of Shenandoah National Park’s most popular cascades: Rose River Falls. What they do not know though is that if you wander off trail and follow the river down, you will be rewarded with an even larger waterfall.
President Thomas Jefferson and I have something in common: We both were charmed by Falling Spring Falls, a mystical eighty-foot waterfall in the beautiful blue Alleghany Highlands.
I plunged my paddle into the water to fight back but my kayak did not move forward. Instead, I was pulled into some type of slow-swirling whirlpool. And this is a small glimpse at what our first kayaking adventure looked like . . .
I thought about much as the machine breathed beside me and my infusion medication dripped into my arm, and I realized that I’m actually living a better life than I ever have, that I’m lucky, that MS has opened my eyes.
We set off for a sunset at one vista before hiking in the moonlight to another where we would watch a sunrise the following morning . . . but nature had other plans . . . other plans as in tornado watch right where we were . . .
It was the most beautiful hike we have yet to be on: Colorful flower blooms lined the trail and the most breathtaking mountain cliff sunset and sunrise made this hike extraordinarily magical.
Welcome to New York where people hustle on the sidewalks faster than the cars on the roads and where the sounds of horns, exhausts, advertisements, music, more explode in the air. New York, an alternate fairytale where skyscrapers are enchanted and stretch so tall that they become invisible in the clouds and where colors — loud and sharp — blur to create a vibrant energy all its own . . .
With nearly every exterior light not working, we soon found the culprits: Wires were scattered with butt and screw-on connectors while other wires were cut without protection on the ends and therefore frayed ends splayed. Still more wires were leading to, well, unused wires. And all of this was apparently our Cortez’s norm.