After The Canadian Cross Country Road Trip.
ARTICLE #12: British Columbia PART TWO- FROM A DIGITAL CONNECTION TO AN ANALOGUE CONNECTION.
I’m a strong advocate of being proactive when it comes to life in general. Taking the time to educate yourself for a career you want to be in, putting in the time to practice and hone your craft in the many outlets of the arts, or train to become the best athlete you can become, the knowledge you’ll gain paired with the level of dedication and commitment to achieve those attributes are great qualities to have. I also believe that in a world that changes as much socially, economically, and technologically as it has done in our existence, there’s still plenty of room for the unknown, taking risks, and being spontaneous. The growth as a race has benefited from both sides of the coin. The natural progression of technology, for example, has kept on par with the demand that’s now expected and required to sustain our overall current state of life. Then there’s the products and services that have come to light which has changed how we interact as human beings that were unexpected. Changes that have affected how we socialize, travel, and gain knowledge on a day to day base. Having a path in life is a tremendous feat to accomplish that I envy for people to have. My path has been a bunch of left and right turns that gained momentum from the experiences I learned through those experiences. I wasn’t great in school. I rarely ever learned from other people’s experiences when I was younger. The only time that I felt a lesson was learned was after the fact the event, right or wrong, had happened. We’re all different in how we approach life, which is how existence on this beautiful planet can provide inspiration and excitement, enhancing the experience of being alive.
Another morning has come and shined its beautiful light through my home away from home in a campsite located outside the town of Mission, British Columbia. Throughout this trip, I've had a lot of dreams. There were good and bad ones. The dreams I despised the most was when I thought I was waking up in my real bed at home with the morning sun creeping through my bedroom window. I honestly figured I was in my home until I'd open my eyes and saw the green coloured tarp around me, and my bed was a small inflatable mattress with a combination of a worn out pillow and my hoodie to rest my head onto. I got out from the tent, stretched my body and cracked my bones and instantly felt ergonomically correct. I had breakfast that morning with a piece ham and eggs and toast, and after cleaning the dishes and getting everything packed into my car, I headed straight to the nearest coffee shop. I’m sure some of you will know of the Tim Horton coffee shop franchise since there is a likely chance you have one in your hometown if you live in Canada. With the public wifi they offer, that became my primary connection for uploading content and taking the time to gather a plan and sketch out my next upcoming destinations throughout the trip. With another caffeinated beverage in my hand and fuel in my gas tank, I was ready to head towards Vancouver.
While driving along Highway 7, I noticed a sawmill paired with an overcast sky which equaled to a potentially great opportunity for a photo. I tried finding a location to park my car and decided to park next to the highway where there used to be a driveway. I decided to take my bicycle to eliminate time. From this point on this was the start of a rough day. I distanced myself from the passing traffic, but every time a vehicle passed by me I felt uncomfortable and irritated. I continued my route until I got to a good viewing point and took some photos. On my way back to the car I decided I’d ride my bicycle on the other side of the jersey barriers to help myself feel a little more comfortable. It didn't work well on the other end of the concrete walls since there was no pathway and the ground was covered with thorn bushes on an uneven surface. Have you ever had those days where nothing seem to go right, or you felt off, and it’s difficult to get a grip on yourself? That appeared to be the case for me. I got my bike strapped to the roof of my car and proceeded on my route westbound. The overcast that I was experiencing became short showers and then rain throughout my travels. I got into the city limits of Vancouver, and despite having troubles this morning, I felt a little better, up until the vehicles in front of me jammed their brakes with little warning. The roads were wet, and that caused issues for a sudden braking situation. I watched the car in front of me sway left to right while I was doing the same and also paying attention to the vehicles behind me to see how they were making out. All of that mental processing happened in a manner of seconds. Everyone was all right, no collision occurred. The traffic started to move, and I don’t know what had happened, but there was tanker truck that was getting onto the side of the road with smoke coming from its wheels so I'd assume that could have contributed to the situation. With my heart rate slowly returning to normal, I continued my way towards the city. I didn’t know where I was going since this was my first time in Vancouver. I looked up trails that were near the city. One recommendation came up in my search results of a set of trails near the Capilano University. I got my GPS to direct me there, and all seemed well for a while. I got onto Highway 1 and went over the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge and then towards Capilano University, and then onto the most annoying road my car could have been onto. The road itself was excellent. The series of speed bumps that were laid out at an average of several hundred feet apart for what seemed like an eternity was the issue. After letting cars pass me because I was apparently too slow to go over huge bumps in the road, I found a parking lot and went for a walk in the woods. I needed this space of clarity. The beautiful tall trees paired with the fresh smell of rainfall was nothing short of being perfect. I remembered an image I’d seen on the internet with a quote saying, “There is no wifi in the forest, but I promise you will find a better connection.” which made all the sense in the world at this moment. I’m certain some of you, including myself, may have experienced being caught up in the hustle and noise that is our day to day lives. Being connected 24/7, having information fed to us on a constant basis. As beautiful as our technological advancements have been to our overall way of living, it also offers an opportunity to be taken away from the fundamentals of being a human being. Having the time to connect with an entity, that is a part of us. Nature plays an enormous role in our lives by offering a place that we can exist and have all the essential tools to survive, but it also gives us the opportunity to connect with it and give us a chance to reset and realize what’s truly in front of us. No stressful work deadlines, no useless drama from whichever spectrum of our social circles, no need to feel rushed when it’s not necessary. We are human beings that need our minds to rest, require extensive periods of self-reflection and clarity, and fully embrace ourselves for who we truly are.
After having a peaceful moment with nature, I decided I wanted to attempt getting drone shots in between the trees in this thick open forest. I ran to my car, got my drone, went to a location where I knew I could fly the drone without hitting anything and got an ok shot. I walked to my car and noticed that my rear passenger door was still open. Instantly alarmed I ran to the car to see if my camera gear was still inside the vehicle. I was happy to see my faith in people hadn't let me down. All my camera equipment was in plain view for anyone to pass by and take but fortunately, that wasn’t the case. I made the decision and agreed with myself that I was having an off day, I was going to find a campsite outside of Vancouver and attempt to come to the city the next day. Golden Ears Provincial Park seemed like a fantastic deal. Located North-East of Maple Ridge, I had to drive down the countless amount of speed bumps once again and headed South-East to get on highway 7. Golden Ears Provincial Park is one of the biggest parks in British Columbia, and it sounded like it was exactly what I needed for a day like this. It was far away from the town of Maple Ridge, with no cell phone reception, and is surrounded by beautiful dense Hemlock Forests. By my tent side there was a short trail that went to a subtle but gorgeous waterfall. I set up my tent and early into the afternoon I decided that I was going to take a nap. I hadn’t done this much because I was either driving or in an area taking pictures or filming, so it was a welcome change of pace. Earlier in the trip, I would get frustrated with losing cellphone reception but by this time of the journey looked forward to it. I’d make my best effort to let my family and close friends know that I was going to be out of service and then shut my cell phone off. I can’t adequately describe how much I loved this place. After I had woken up from my nap, I stretched myself out of my tent, got dressed in my rain gear, and took my bicycle for a ride around the park. I got to one location that seemed to go to the water treatment facility plant of the park, so I stopped and took a little stroll into the forest. This environment is tremendous. Green is growing everywhere. Everything in this ecosystem seems to have a use in some way or another. The trees are massive and seem to be well nourished. With no traffic or noise within the general area, I felt completely at peace. This moment was of few moments throughout my trip that I felt comfortable in my skin. My body was feeling great; my mind was on par with the relaxed vibe that the area conveyed. Every step I took throughout this landscape was soft and acoustically sound that it felt like my entire world had stopped for a moment. In that short period, I believe that it did. Disconnected from the civilized world, walking through an environment that offered no human created technology but nature’s analog technology that was marveling to admire. Everything that was surrounding me was alive, and all are running to facilitate all the living entities within it, including me. After wandering aimlessly into the forest and portraying the image of someone under the influence of some hallucinogen, I got on my bicycle and continued to explore the park. I’d seen on the map that there was a lake nearby. With a little bit of pedaling, I ended up finding a body of water. Alouette Lake in a stunning lake nestled into the mountain landscape in between Mount Crickmer and the mountains of Golden Ear. The time of day and lighting was perfect. The overcast had settled, and it stopped raining for a few hours, so it was comfortable to shoot the area. A little further north offered a beach area where people were swimming and enjoying the tremendous view the area had to offer. I kept two journals throughout the trip. One was to document my trip which became very handy while writing these entries. The other was to write down anything that came from my thoughts. While sitting on the beach, I had both journals with me, and they both got filled in from my experiences that day.
With the sun slowly setting over the western mountains I made my way to my campsite. With a day that started out to be challenging, the rest of it was perfect. The weather was at a proper temperature; it stopped raining for most of my time in the park, and I was completely relaxed and content in my little piece of heaven. Behind me, there was the little trail that I mentioned earlier that led to the small waterfall. I decided that it be a great shot for a long exposure. With my camera in one hand and my tripod in the other, I made my way to the location, set myself up on a small piece of land that was just large enough for myself and my tripod, and got comfortable while the camera took its time taking long exposure shots of the water stream. While it was doing this, I couldn’t help but think of where life had led me. I was born and raised on the Southwest coast of Nova Scotia in a small Acadian community. Thirty-one years later I was crouched next to a camera in the middle of a beautiful, dense Hemlock forest staring at a small waterfall completely immersed into the environment. Photography wasn't something I planned on throughout the course of my life till about two years ago. I believe that having a plan for your future is a proactive way of approaching your path in life. By doing so, you give yourself the advantage of being educated in the field of work that you want to pursue, and train hard to be ready for the adversities that’ll come your way. Of course, you’ll come to the point that you can only do so much in advance, and unexpected scenarios paired with trial and error will be your next step in gaining knowledge. Then there’re be those moments where you take a chance, pursue something that instinctively feels right, but you don’t have a clue how you’re going to approach it, let alone go after it. Those moments should be an option left open to the ones that are cautious and calculated with most of their decisions. There’s an important place in all of us to be prepared to our fullest extent for what life will throw at us, and there’s a place where taking risks towards uncertainty can be vital to our lives and the overall human experience. With the small waterfall shot turning out splendid, it was time to pack up the camera gear, and head to bed. With a recharged and refreshed mindset and body, I was ready to attempt the trek to the city of Vancouver.