sistersXcanada – Day 17 – Grasslands National Parks, Saskatchewan

I knew this was a moment I would carry forever. Sometimes I just have that feeling – when I work so hard for something and finally accomplish it – when something so beautiful reaches into my heart and writes its language there. I was so grateful to be there. I also got to see lenticular clouds, something you only see around mountains!

sistersXcanada – Day 16 – Waterton, Alberta

I need time in nature, I need to see and experience beautiful things. I need to be challenged and I need to be alone. And I need to feel like I’m making the world a better place in my own way, and my way has always been so focused on women. I didn’t come up with any answers that night, not exactly. But I’ve been working more toward what I want and away from what I don’t want. I’m confident that even if I don’t know where I’m going, I’m moving wholeheartedly toward something good.

sistersXcanada – Day 15 – Banff, Alberta (x2)

Going back down was a lot easier – we moved along at a hop! We saw a marmot (I think that’s what it was?) and we followed it for ages – it seemed very photogenic. We also saw pekas, and tonnes of birds. No bears, thankfully. Moving from the treeless mountain cirque back into the woods was something of a sad moment for me. I so loved the different experience and wish I had the opportunity to be out there more.

sistersXcanada – Day 14 – Banff, Alberta

I really love doing small, rewarding hikes. When Christine and I planned this trip, we weren’t sure how to manage my desire for long, remote solo hikes and her fondness for more leisurely activities like being by the beach. The short hikes really fed us both because I got to see lots of really interesting and unique sights, but it didn’t take too much out of her. It was a great mix that worked well for us both – and we both also got our solo and beach time, respectively.

sistersXcanada – Day 10 – Kamloops, British Columbia

The fires really were eerie. I can’t imagine living there. Ontario is so wet most of the season, with floods in the spring and periodic rain throughout the summer, not to mention countless lakes. Dry weather is just not something that I’m all that familiar with, and I found it really alarming. I can’t stand the feeling of being thirsty and something about these provinces, maybe it was in my mind, but I felt thirsty the entire time.

sistersXcanada – Day 9 – Jasper National Park, Alberta (x2)

We stopped for ice cream after the hike and it was delicious but so expensive. Since I live in a town that triples in size in the summer due to tourists, I know all about price gouging. But I spent $8 on a bag of ruffles chips and I wanted to cry. However, they were the best $8 bag of ruffles I’d ever had, so what can I say? Sometimes you make poor financial decisions because you’re hot and hungry and want what you want. No excuses! Own it.

sistersXcanada – Day 8 – Jasper National Park, Alberta

The fires had been raging all summer and I knew we’d be confronting that in time. Driving into a fire went against all my animal instincts and I wondered if it were the type of situation that I’d look back on and wonder why on earth I didn’t listen to my lizard brain and bolt. The sheer size of the mountains, though, even from that distance, had me in awe. I couldn’t wait to get closer.

sistersXcanada – Day 7 – Elk Island National Park, Alberta

And as someone who experienced sexual abuse as a child from my mom’s boyfriend, which my dad knows about, I felt completely betrayed. I don’t know that we’ve to this day completely integrated this information. I know I would have wanted someone my age with my skills to say something to my abuser about what he did to me, so I needed to confront it. The whole issue sickens me. This entire day I remember so clearly because of that knowledge coming to the forefront.