Up in Smoke
Back in Crowsnest Pass

August 30th-September 1st, 2015

What happened…

Andrew writes: It was just like old times when Mike and I shared his bachelor apartment. I woke up and reached for my iPod, and surreptitiously selected a song to play full-blast. It was “Peaches” by Presidents of the USA. I placed the iPod delicately on the nightstand beside Mike’s head. I hit the play button, and ran. The music started, pillows were thrown, curses exchanged, and the day had begun! GOOD MORNING!

Amanda and I had spent some time last night swapping out gear, since I was going to be camping up at the lake for 4 nights, and she was going to visit with our friend Dona in Suffield. I loaded my bike, and after the four of us enjoyed the complimentary breakfast downstairs, I said my farewell and set out for the 50km ride to the lake.

About 5 minutes down the highway, a car with Montana plates pulled up alongside me, and then swerved off the side of the road. It was my friend Gary (AirGar), and his friend Dave. They loaded all of my bags into the car, and I promised I would see them shortly. This made my ride a lot easier, but I was still in for one heck of a ride to the lake.

The wind was gusting between 60-80km/h from the south-west. I was riding mostly east, and my speed was somewhere around 15km/h with no bags attached. Then when I would turn north, the wind would pick me up and attempt to hurl me into the ditch on the left. It wasn’t much fun. Then the road that Google had chosen for me turned from tarmac into deep gravel. So now I was basically surfing on top of the gravel, getting pushed from side to side by the gale going on around me. Finally after two hours I could see the lake, with its’ waves and several kite surfers on it. Turning fully into the wind at this point, it was a long, hard slog to reach the lakeshore. A yellow truck turned up out of nowhere, and it was my other friend JimEh. I threw my bike onto his bike rack and we drove down to our kite launching area.

I was really excited to fly my new kite, except that the winds were so strong that everyone was flying 5m kites. AirGar had brought me a spare wetsuit, board, and 7m kite which I was able to use, and for 4 days the wind would blow upwards of 80km/h. Nice and steady. Perfect really. If it were skiing, it would be like 4 straight days of 30cm fresh powder every morning, and getting fresh tracks.

I missed Amanda though. She’s my favourite beach buddy. Not just because she watches me from the shore, or because sometimes I can coax her out onto the water. I missed her because she keeps me sane, she keeps me safe, and it’s a dangerous sport. The only other time I tried to kite surf without Amanda I ended up crashing my kite and breaking it within 2 minutes. Still, there were about a dozen of us out there, either on the beach or the water, at any given time. It was safe enough, and we all had a good time.

I didn’t even end up using any of my camping gear. I slept inside JimEh’s truck camper, and the three of us, AirGar, JimEh and me, bachelor’d it up. These two guys are so inspirational in that I hope to still be participating in “extreme” sports when I get to be 70! Good food, beer, tall-tales, and kitesurfing from dawn to dusk each day. It was a little bit like heaven.

Amanda writes: What a lovely start to the day. Watching Mike and Andrew re-live their bachelor days was super funny. Andrew set out on his bike, Mike and Nicki set out on their bikes and I settled in to watch the beginning of the Yankees game and wait for Dona to arrive.

Dona arrived with Choco (her chocolate lab) and we headed out for the few days. Dona is such a special friend to me. She introduced me to yoga, meditation and self awareness. Dona is so easy to talk to and I’m grateful she welcomed me into her home. We shared may long talks, loads of salads (which I miss so much on the road) and probably a bit too much wine. While hanging out I also managed some uninterrupted time to do the final touches on our one year video. I had worked on this for a long time and just needed a few hours to finish it up. It was such a pleasure to basically re-live the last year and view photos and video and to remind myself of how lucky we are to be living the life we have chosen. This combined with Dona’s hospitality and easy friendship, I felt recharged and ready to head out again.

Today’s Photographs

Up in Smoke
Back in Crowsnest Pass