The Crowsnest Highway

Awe or despair is like a tag team during the familiar drive along Highway 3. I have made this return trek of over twelve hundred kilometres every month since April. Thanksgiving day was my last planned journey for this year on this great highway. The weather could not have cooperated more. The rivers and lakes reflect the brilliant blue of the sky, contrasting the autumn shades of orange and red painting the landscape.

This trip, the view is especially vibrant after a week-long silent retreat. The mountains and valleys, the farms and animals all contributing to the backdrop. Moment after moment, there is a surge of gratitude for living in this beautiful province.

There have been other trips when despair was not shakable, bombarded by ghosts. I have learnt to observe these thoughts flickering in my mind. I continue to respect the visit with a growing appreciation of a road is used as a metaphor reflects the whole experience of life.

A landmark triggers a cascade of stories: the loss of a clinic partner in the treacherous mountains near Hope, the theft of a car battery discovered returning from a winter camping trip in Manning park that left us stranded tired in the cold, wet snow. The losses of friends, patients and colleagues are reminding me to drive with care.

The opportunities for wine tasting and a plethora of fruit stands tempt me. The colourful desert hues through Osoyoos bring awe every time. The mandatory stop for baking in Greenwood, or borscht and perogies at Grand Forks. Our car catching on fire at the Paulson bridge. The struggle through the worst snowstorms at Strawberry Pass when I am the most tired, yet, most days rewarded with the breath-taking glimpse of the Kootenay’s panorama.

There have been some profound pivotal experiences along this highway. I am finding some acceptance and how this contributed to where I am now.

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