Photo and quote by Sharon K. Summerfield at Muncho Lake

Celebrating the Gifts of Downtime

When was the last time you carved out time to disconnect?

In creating that space we discover ways to connect with ourselves, others and nature in beautiful ways.

This summer my husband and I did just that.

We took six weeks to travel throughout BC and connect with family and friends.

Just over a year ago I was speaking with a dear friend.

They had had lost everything during the fires in the Cariboo in 2016.  She invited me to visit their property and take photos.  This is where we started talking about a trip.

Late last year we purchased a “new to us” travel trailer and truck.  We started laying out our plan to explore BC,  sharing our route with family and friends.  All of these friends were people my husband and I had met through out work.

This helped expand on how we would travel throughout our beautiful province from Vancouver Island to Watson Lake in the Yukon and then down the Alaska Highway through the Okanagan and back home.

To prepare for our trip we signed up for a Starlink account, which we thought would help us connect when we were off grid.

Well sometimes it worked and others, well…

Due to the number of fires in BC we purchased a new to us generator in case our air quality was impacted.  So pleased we did not need to do that.

And my husband purchased a small boat (very small) to go fishing.

Photography and Quote by Sharon K. Summerfield at Muncho Lake

 

This blog is about our trip.

Throughout the trip there were themes of gratitude, patience, understanding and taking the time to pause.   In my coaching I share that when we are away from our professional lives it is important to do our best not to think or talk about work.  Is this possible 100% of the time?  It is like a muscle the more you flex it, the easier it becomes.

Sharing our adventure with you through storytelling and photos.

For some reason I wanted to take photos of cows.  These gentle giants truly spoke to me.

As I reflect what are the lessons from taking an extended holiday that can be extended to our day to day lives?

Our journey begins:

On August 20th we left our home on Vancouver Island and began our travels to catch the ferry to West Vancouver.  Sadly, we missed our ferry reservation by 8 minutes.  The ferry we did catch was 9 hours later.  A lesson in patience.

Very grateful for our travel trailer where we could rest and make dinner.  My husband had a chance to re-connect with a former colleague he had not seen in years.

We arrived at my parents very late on August 20th to spend the night.  The morning of August 21st our journey started after enjoying breakfast with Mom and Dad. We travelled passed Whistler and started driving on Hwy 99 and the Duffy Lake Road to head into the Cariboo.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield

Due to the many fires in the province our experience on this road was filled with smoke. My hope had been for my husband to experience the beautiful rivers and trees that surrounded the road. Sadly that did not happen this time.  We had to keep the windows up as the smoke was so thick from the fires in Lillooet.

As we ventured up the Duffy Lake road, we found a spot to stop for lunch.

There was so much smoke we enjoyed lunch in our trailer and stayed only long enough to take a short walk and for our dog, Shelby to have a quick swim.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield

Our trip to the Cariboo continued.

As we were towing a trailer, our truck was very thirsty.  We stopped at a Chevron near Lillooet and saw this gorgeous Pelton Wheel Turbine.  Even though we could only see the outline of the mountains this was a welcome surprise.

We continued to navigate the smoke and within a few hours reached Hwy 97, near Cache Creek.  We travelled north and decided it was time to call it a night at Willow Springs, just outside of Clinton.  The highway was so close we could hear the roar of the engines.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield

The next morning, August 22nd,  we decided to bid farewell to Willow Springs and continue north.  We were expected in the Cariboo to spend time with family.

We continued to drive north and arrived at Lac Des Roches.  The first view of the lake took our breath away.  As we settled in, our dog Shelby met Buddy. The two of them got along famously.  Shelby learned more about watching for Chipmunks.  She was more interested in swimming than “Chipmunk” patrol.

We were at Lac Des Roches for four glorious days.  If you have not experienced the Cariboo, put it on your list it is a magical place.  The interesting piece I felt incredibly grounded.  The cooler air.  Not being connected to technology and just being.  Thank you to Barb and Ken for the group shots.

While at Lac Des Roches we took a good part of one day to go to our dear friend’s property well in behind 70 Mile.  In 2016 they lost everything due to the fires that devastated the Cariboo.  I wanted to visit this beautiful place that we called the “Gulch”.  This was where we spent part of our summers growing up.  I had not been there for close to 20 years.  As we ventured on our travel for that day, we truly were in “cow country”.  My husband stopped the truck and one cow was so close I could have touched her.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield

As we travelled to the “Gulch” I was struck by the loss and all the fires had impacted.  My husband shared this is called “Candling”.  The fire travels at intense speeds across the tops of the trees causing incredible damage to everything it comes in contact with.  As we travelled on the road that I thought was the right one,  we came across the important sign.  We were not lost – we were on the right road.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield

As we travelled passed the signs, the road started to get really familiar.  I knew where I was.  We had arrived. So many emotions struck me as we parked at the top of the hill and walked down the driveway to a place that had a hint of familiarity and so different.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield

We wandered around and I shared stories with my husband.  This is where the cabins and the house once was.  The tool shed with all the amazing antique equipment was once here.  We discovered a stump that the fire had gone straight through.  All we could do was just stop.  Everything had been lost.  It was now nature’s turn for new growth to happen.

As we wandered around we paused and listened to the sound of the river.  We walked to what had been an area where some of the trucks had been and discovered equipment and vehicles damaged beyond repair.  Two stumps were side by side.  One was burned to a crisp and the other not.  Once again our breath was taken away.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield

I felt so emotional by what I had seen.  It was time to bid farewell to the “Gulch” and return to Lac Des Roches.  As we left the “Gulch” my husband noticed four deer all standing in order.  It was amazing to see these gorgeous animals standing all in line.  We took another route on one of the backroads and encountered a Mama and her two calves.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield

We returned to spend time with family at Lac Des Roches and shared the many experiences of the day.  The memories, the sweet sorrow for all our dear friend’s family had lost.  It was bitter sweet in so many ways.

August 25th, it was time to move on to our next location.  We were going North.  As my husband is always looking for a deal from “Market Place” he located a piece of equipment for his brother.

We arrived at the ranch where the equipment was.   I saw two horses and asked the ranch owner if I could take a few photos.  As I walked closer, and of course spoke to the horses, they started to get closer and eventually were nose to nose.  I was reminded of the beauty of spending time with these elegant creatures.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield

Now it was time to venture further north into the Cariboo.

A beautiful friend, many years young, was now in a new living situation in long term care.  When we arrived for our visit we wanted to know her preference for lunch.  Her response was “get me out of here”.

We took a look at her wheelchair that had no foot rests.  She shared I will just put my legs out in front of me.  This is a phenomenal exercise for your core, however very short lived.

We had discovered a restaurant only a few blocks away.  As we walked, my husband noticed a bungy cord hanging off a fence.  He then rigged up a foot rest which made our walk to the restaurant much more enjoyable.

To celebrate “the escape”  we shared a delicious piece of chocolate cake.

After our wonderful lunch we returned our beautiful friend to her new home.

There is something about connecting with wonderful friends, those we have worked with.  The friends at work are what makes our work lives so much sweeter.

As we ventured north, just past 100 Mile  we dropped by and saw another friend, Joyce, who I had worked with on the Evergreen Line Rapid Transit project.

I was so excited to see Joyce as it had been well over a decade.  As we connected and caught up,  Joyce had put a few of the books she enjoyed for me to read on our trip.  A true joy connecting with friends who love to read.  I was so grateful to enjoy another book written by the Kate Morton – Homecoming.

It was time to continue north.  The next leg of our journey was to travel just west of Vanderhoof, which meant another several hours of driving.   We were still experiencing a fair amount of smoke filled air.  Sitting for these extended periods of time continued to be very uncomfortable and required stopping often.

As we continued  we decided to stop at McLeese Lake for the night.  We secured a spot next to the lake and watched the first sunset of our trip. Magical.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield
Sunset at McLeese Lake

It was wonderful to be by another lake being nourished by the gifts of nature.  The next day would we be travelling to a lake just west of Vanderhoof.

On August 26th we arrived at Lake CluCluz.  A true joy to spend time at Lake CluCluz with Dave and Nicole.  We have been friends for over 30 years.  Another beautiful friend I connected with when working together in the Yukon.  This was a time of enjoying wonderful company, connection and great food.  Both Dave and Joe went waterskiing, which both of them had not done for years.

Loved spending the days reading by the lake with Nicole and watching Shelby and Bella (our dogs) play. Such a gift that our four legged girls got along so well.   When we  brought our days to a close, we opened the cover over the window above our bed in our trailer, and were memorized by the stars we could see. Something beautiful about travelling north, the stars become brighter.  This started a new ritual.  At night we watched the stars dance across the sky.  In the morning  greeted the day by reading.  This felt like a big luxury.  Even in the smoke, time at the lake was perfect food for the soul.

August 29th, we left Lake CluCluz and continued on our travels. This time  travelling to Smithers.  As we travelled north I needed a break to walk around and give Shelby a chance to run.  We saw this gorgeous river.  There is something about taking in the awe of nature.  I had a beautiful conversation with an Indigenous Man, an Elder, who shared the story of his people and fishing on that river.

Photography by Sharon K .Summerfield

Now we were travelling to the provincial camp ground for Tyhee Lake, just outside of Telkawa near Smithers.

Once we arrived at Lake Tyhee, we were once again in awe of nature.  The lake was a beautiful spot and a great place for Shelby to have a swim.  As she is a “fair weather” dog, the swim was short lived due to the rain that started as a drizzle and turned in to a full on downpour.

Tyhee Lake in Telkawa, BC

On August 30th we packed up and left Tyhee Lake to go into Smithers.

As we drove into Smithers there was no smoke and we could see a blue sky.  I cannot begin to share our joy as we walked around Smithers. Walking down the main street, a familiar face walked out of a store, a former colleague and friend, who I had worked with 20 years ago. It was wonderful to see Derek as he had just stepped into a new role as the Fire Chief in Smithers.  Something about congratulating a friend in person and giving them a hug.

The next leg of our journey was to travel on the Stewart/Cassiar Highway to Watson Lake.  We wanted to make it to Meziadin Lake.  As you can see, from the map, travelling to Watson Lake from Smithers would not have been the wisest of plans.

Our plan was to stay at Meziadin Lake for  two days and use this as our home base when we travelled to Stewart, Hyder Alaska and the Salmon Glacier in BC.  So incredibly grateful to Klara, my dear friend and talented physio I worked with for four years, for encouraging us to go the Salmon Glacier.  Another beautiful connection made possible through work and an extensive rehab journey.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield
Beautiful Meziadin Lake. To stay lakeside reservations are needed.

Leading up to spending time at Meziadin Lake, my husband tried to make reservations and all spots by the lake were booked.

As we walked around the campground after settling in, we met these two lovely ladies and their dog from Powell River.  They had this really cute trailer.   Always great to connect with wonderful people on the road.  The next day we started our drive to Stewart.  This is a small town with people that were so helpful and friendly.  Travelling to Hyder, US there is no border crossing.  The border crossing is only on the Canadian side.

We travelled toward the area in Hyder where the Bears are.  Sadly this day there were no bears.  There was a great walk way where you could experience more of Hyder.  We travelled forward on the road into BC to get to the Salmon Glacier.  This is one of the biggest glaciers in Canada.  Honestly it took our breath away.  What was fascinating was as we travelled the fireweed was growing on the glacier side of the road, but not on the rock side of the road.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield near the Salmon Glacier.

Once back at the camp ground we settled in for our last night at Lake Meziadin.

On September 1st we left Lake Meziadin with the plan to drive to Dease Lake.  Honestly at times it felt like the road was never ending with all the twists and turns.  The interesting piece was we continued to see no wildlife.

What we truly loved seeing was the gorgeous blue sky. For me sitting continued to be a challenge and we needed to stop on a regular basis so I could walk around stretch and Shelby could have a run or a swim.  As we stopped to enjoy our lunch discovered these trees.  Something beautiful, seeing a heart carved in a tree.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield

We continued to drive north.  We finally arrived in Dease Lake and gas was $2.349/litre.  That was our only option for gas. We had not been able to find a place to spend the night.  This meant we were going to need to drive a littler further.  My husband thought, we are not that far from Watson Lake, lets continue.

As we drove north, our dog was getting restless as she had been in the truck for a good portion of the day.  We arrived at Jade City and saw a very unwelcomed sign.  The road north was closed due to all the fires in the area.  As we spoke to the truckers we asked if the road to Boya Lake was open, which it was.  This was important as Boya Lake was less than 30 minutes away. As we got closer we could see the fires in the background.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield at Boya Lake

Once we were settled we walked around the campground at Boya Lake.  We recognized the cute trailer that the ladies from Powell River had.

As we reconnect all four of us looked at each other and said “we are stalking you”.  In speaking with these ladies we learned that if we lined up on the road tomorrow morning at 8:00 am there was a chance they were going to open the road to Watson Lake.

The next morning, September 2nd, we packed up and returned to the highway and waited in line.  Once in line we realized we were out of water.  Around 11:00 am the Ministry representatives shared the road was not opening and an update would come later in the afternoon.  We returned to Boya Lake camp ground and filled our trailer with a few litres of water to hold us over until we got to Watson Lake.  Then returned to the line.

We spent the next eight hours waiting and spending time with some beautiful people and the lovely ladies from Powell River.  The dogs even got along.

Just as we we were starting to make dinner, we got the word the road was opening up.  This time we were travelling through an active fire zone thick with smoke.  It took us around 90 minutes to arrive in Watson Lake.  I cannot begin to share how grateful we were to be on the other side of that fire.

When we arrived in Watson Lake, we stayed at a full service campground.  We had water and electricity.  Funny the things we take for granted.  Throughout our trip friends and family were checking in.

September 3rd as we were preparing to now travel on the Alaska Highway and travel south I received a text from another friend.  As I shared where we were,  she texted “watch out for  Bison in the ditch.”  I did not think much of it.  So far on our trip in the north we had not seen any Bison, Deer, Sheep, Caribou or Bears.

As we left Watson Lake, and were now on the Alaska Hwy and we were in awe of the animals we saw.  Thank you to my husband for the shot of the Bison and the Bear.

We continued to travel south.  As the campground at Liard Hot Springs was full we continued to drive a little further.  My husband took a road off the side of the highway.  We could hear a river, so we stopped the truck and trailer.  My husband then walked to the river and found a beautiful spot for us to camp for the night, at Trout River.

On September 4th,we left Trout River, and continued south towards Muncho Lake.  I had driven the Alaska Highway numerous times when I lived in the Yukon.  Not once did I stop and enjoy the beauty of Muncho Lake.

As we arrived on the Monday of Labour Day we drove into the MacDonald Provincial Campground.  It was almost empty.  What I learned from my brother in law is this campground is almost impossible to find a spot as it is very popular and you cannot make any reservations.  We felt like we had struck gold and found a gorgeous spot right at the lake.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield at Muncho Lake

After two nights at Muncho Lake, it was now time to travel south.  One of the areas I was looking forward to seeing was “Toad River”  When I lived in the Yukon and travelled north I often would stop at Toad River for the night or dinner.  Then Toad River had a collection of hats on the ceiling.  It always was something to see.  This time when we stopped, the hats had been removed and they had done a needed upgrade.

We continued to travel south on the Alaska Highway.  For me it was a true joy to savour the beauty that surrounded the highway.  We were now travelling to Fort Nelson.

Once we arrived in Fort Nelson, it was time to consider which campground we would visit next.  We decided to check out Andy Bailey Lake.  This is a lake where no motorized boats are allow.  This worked perfect for our little boat and for my husband to go fishing.

We stayed at Andy Bailey Lake for two nights.  September 8th it was time to travel south.   As we ventured south once again I was starting to get uncomfortable,  a stop to walk around was needed.  We discovered this open field, perfect to pull into.  Shelby enjoyed just lying in the grass.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield north of Fort St. John

We returned to the road travelling south to visit my sister Deb and her husband north of Fort St. John.  I had not been there for close to a decade.  It was amazing how much had changed.  Change is our only constant.

For a day trip we went south on the Alaska Highway. My sister and her husband took us to see the Kiskatinaw Bridge the first curved wooden bridge in Canada.  Another true engineering feat!

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield

Once we had experienced this spectacular bridge at trip to Mile O, Dawson Creek was in order.  Thanks to my sister Deb for this shot.

While visiting with my sister and her husband, their dog Maisy, was doing Agility classes.  It  was so amazing to see how much both my  sister and  Maisy  enjoyed Agility.  We  were  able  to  be  with  my  sister  and  her  husband  for  three wonderful  days.  My husband experienced a bit of ranching and helped out with haying.  So grateful for this time of connection, conversation and enjoying great food.

It was a true gift that our four legged girls got along so well.  On  September 11th, our  last  morning  we  enjoyed  a gorgeous  sunrise,  sadly  this  also  showed  how  much  the  region  was  being  impacted  by  the  smoke.

As we left Fort St. John and ventured south, Shelby was sad as she was back in the truck, without her buddy.  We were now travelling towards Chetwyn and once again being impacted by the smoke.  Our hope was to stay at the Heart Lake Provincial Campground, which is one of the complimentary campgrounds in BC.  This is where our little adventure gets interesting.

September 11th we arrived at Pine Le Moray Provincial Campground at Heart Lake and found a gorgeous spot close to the lake.  Heart Lake is a small lake where no motorized boats are allowed.

This is an off grid lake, with no access to technology.  Our first two days were lovely.  My husband enjoyed fishing on this gorgeous small lake.  You could barely see the mountains due to the smoke.  We had a very cheeky BlueJay that decided to say hello often and very loudly.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield at Heart Lake

Our third day at Heart Lake, my husband took me around the lake in our very small boat.  We decided that would be our last day at this  lake.  He dropped me off near our trailer and truck and ask me to meet him at the boat launch in 10 minutes with the truck.  I waited the ten minutes and tried to start the truck.

No matter what I tried, the truck would not start.  I checked everything I could think of.  By now we have a full on rain storm.  Our dog Shelby does not like the rain.  I put on my rain gear grabbed Shelby’s leash and we were off to meet Joe, my husband at the boat launch.

As he saw us coming around the corner he asked what happened.  I shared the truck would not start.  I could tell what he was thinking, “I will get the truck started.”  We walked back to our campsite and he was unable to start the truck. This is never a desired experience in an off-grid location.

This was creating a big problem.  We then walked around the campsite to see if someone had a truck, where they could pull our truck up a hill and then see if we could jump start the truck.  So grateful for this option as our truck is a 6 speed.  We did find someone who was very helpful.  Sadly this did not work.  This man asked my husband what his plan was.  The plan was for my husband to walk out to the highway, 3 km.  Then find a ride to Prince George 3 hours away.  The kind stranger, then shared I will come and check on your wife tomorrow night, just in case you are not back.  Not too worry, and I quote “I have a gun”.

The next morning as planned my husband left to walk out to the road.  As he left, I locked the doors to the trailer.  Was very thankful to have a washroom in our trailer.

I made myself a cup of my favourite Cacao drink with cardamom and collagen and considered what book I would read next.

I picked up Dan Pontefract’s book “The Purpose Effect”.

My drink helped to keep me grounded and calm.  This book inspired me.

As I started to read, I could not put this beautiful book down.

I loved this piece:

“We are team members. We are co-workers.  We are colleagues.  We are both leaders and followers.  It matters not the level you reside on the corporate hierarchy.  We are on the same team that is defining and enacting purpose.”

Later that day my husband returned with a rental car and more tools.  As promised the fellow with gun did drop by to check on us.

Once my husband returned he was able to get the truck started only three times.  It was an intermittent problem that kept surfacing.  The next morning he drove out to Cafe 97 as they had internet to do more research.

Within a few hours, he returned with two very tasty Cinnamon Buns.  Even when stranded tasty things often are discovered.

By mid morning the truck was running and we continued on our trip south.  Our first stop was Prince George at the Toyota Dealership to find out what the problem may be.  Everything checked out fine.

Our next stop was north of Quesnel.

On September 14th we arrived at Ten Mile Lake just outside of Quesnel.  A beautiful quiet lake.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield
Ten Mile Lake, just outside of Quesnel

On September 15th we decided to go to historic town of Barkerville.  This was one of the places on our list.  Both my husband and I had not been there since we were kids.  Joe has many memories of his brother hanging from the spot where the gopher whole is.  Therefore a shot of this was needed.  The good news was the truck started.  When we arrived in Barkerville it was closed for the season.  We could still walk around, but all the actors were gone.  Barkerville has a staff of 70 from June to the weekend after Labour Day.  So much history.

On our way back to Ten Rivers we stopped in Wells at this wonderful little eclectic store.  As I am always on the lookout for books written by the locals I picked up “Drugstore Cowgirl – Adventures in the Cariboo – Chilcotin”, written by Patricia Joy MacKay.  This book was filled of stories of the author working in many different ranches in the 1960s.

We were so grateful that the truck continued to cause no problems.  We returned to Ten Rivers for one more night before moving on.

The last sunset we enjoyed at Ten Rivers Lake just north of Quesnel

The morning of September 16th we left Ten Rivers and started driving towards Lac La Hache.  Honestly we had become very spoiled camping by rivers and lakes away from the highway.  The campground in Lac La Hache, was a disappointment.  We continued to drive south.

Sitting continued to be a challenge for me.  Recovery truly is one step at a time, rest, step back and take new steps forward.  As we approached 100 Mile, I thought spending the night at Canim Lake would be amazing.  Sadly there were no spots to camp by the lake.

As we drove around Canim we started to see directions for Howard Lake.  In the years I had spent in the Cariboo I had never heard of this lake.  We were now in search of the place to spend the night.  As we followed the signs for Howard Lake, more signs emerged, “travel at your own risk – this is a former logging road.”

Our search continued.  After following the road for more than 30 minutes we arrived at the campground.  Except it was full.  We drove to the other side of the campground, parked the truck and started to walk the road.  The key piece was to find a place where my husband could turn the truck and trailer around, and do this safely.

We continued to walk.  Grateful yet again to be out of the truck, enjoying the many gifts of nature, looking for where we would spend the night or several nights.

We found a beautiful spot that was so close to the lake and spent several nights in this gorgeous spot.  Shelby (our dog) could not get in the water fast enough.  Our first night we enjoyed fresh trout Joe caught from the lake.  As this spot was very remote, if the truck did not start we had a serious problem.  We continued our ritual of looking at the stars from the window above our bed each night and greeting the morning by reading in bed.

On September 18th it was time to continue our journey.  There were no issues with the truck, which we were so grateful for.  Our next stop was going to be Kamloops, to spend time with family.  We decided to take more of a scenic route.

As we drove along Highway 97C I saw the signs for the Honour Ranch.  This ranch supports first responders struggling with Post Traumatic Stress.  When my husband and I lived in Vancouver we attended many fundraisers to support this work.  Such a beautiful spot.

While at Honour Ranch we met the person who keeps the Ranch running.   We felt so honoured to be there.

We left the ranch and continued on our travels.  As we often did stops along the way were needed.  We arrived at Lac Le Jeune outside of Kamloops.  This was such a beautiful spot.  As we arrived we paused.

One day after exploring the Kamloops area we returned to Lac Le Jeune and decided to take a different road.  We were greeted by several Gentle Giants, Cows.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield

It was lovely to enjoy time in Kamloops.  As we were camping we had our family over for a barbecue dinner.  Something about being outdoors enjoying a meal together, that is suddenly short lived when the skies open, with liquid sunshine.

Kamloops is a place my husband goes hunting with his brothers and nephews (featured in this shot).  He wanted to share with me, the areas they go hunting.  And yes, as we travelling up the mountain there were more cows.  We truly were once again in “Cow Country” and they let us know that.

Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield

We continued to explore around Kamloops.  A friend had shared it may be dry and brown, but we love it.  Kamloops really started to grow on me.  The beauty of the roaming hills, the nature and the lakes.  Simply beautiful.

We were so blessed to enjoy 5 beautiful days in Kamloops.  On Saturday, September 23rd it was time to say good by to Lac La Jeune.

As we travelled our way outside of Kamloops, I had hoped to connect with a wonderful friend who I had worked with for many years.  Due to changes with her schedule sadly there was no way to make this happen. I had put together some products I had made from our garden and dropped these off with her husband.  Our dogs had a wonderful play.

Yes, both my friend and I were disappointed that we could not connect in person, this time.  What I loved was she was so open and honest.  She was saying yes to herself.  So often we are managing many things and keep saying yes to everyone else, except ourselves.  Finding new ways forward begins by saying yes to ourselves.

We continued to travel to the Okanagan and arrived at Lake Kalamalka, in Vernon on September 23rd.  Such a beautiful lake.  Our friends Dan and Cari, had arranged for us to have a beautiful spot right at the edge of the lake.

Shortly after we arrived, my husband and Dan, started talking with Bob another friend who lived on the other side of the lake.  Joe (my husband), Dan and Bob had all worked together for decades.  We enjoyed an amazing evening, with wonderful friends and great conversation and incredible food.  As we got back in the boat, now a little later, the skies opened and we once again were kissed by lots of liquid sunshine.

While we were at Kalamalka Lake, as my husband and Dan both play the trumpet they greeted each day playing music.   Our time in Vernon truly was spending time with those who are like family to us.

One afternoon we enjoyed a wonderful lunch with the family I grew up with in North Vancouver.  It was such a gift to reconnect, catch up and share stories.  One of the stories, this really brought it home what a small world it is.  Theresa, who is like a sister, her son was riding in the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock fundraiser.  A few years ago, my husband and I,  had volunteered at Camp Good Times, which this fundraiser supports.  Several of the Firefighters my husband works with were also participating in this ride.  Always wonderful to connect over the ways each of us are making a difference.

The theme of great food, conversation and connection continued.  Throughout our trip we ate very well.

That evening we were treated to a wonderful dinner at Dan and Cari’s home with several of my husband’s former colleagues.  It is amazing what happens when we reconnect with dear friends, the time apart does not matter.

We were in Vernon for the next two days and had hoped to connect with some friends in Kelowna. As I was not feeling 100% sent regrets.

These past few years have created space where taking care of ourselves is celebrated.

That day I took the time to rest and read.

This time I read Hang the Moon, Jeannette Wall’s recent book on a young girl during the prohibition.  Always love books that feature women.

As I reflect what if we carved out time to reading as part of how we do life?  Not just, I would like to do this, scheduled this as part of our week.

While I rested Joe spent more time with Dan, which also included going to a band practice and loving every part of that.  He received an open invitation to come back and play his horn anytime.

We were now looking at our trip home.

Earlier in our trip I had received some very sad news, one of my former colleagues, his wife had passed away.  This was a top priority for me to attend her celebration of life.  The people we meet in our working lives become so much more than colleagues, they are friends and in many cases like family.

This meant leaving Vernon a few days earlier.

Joe and I were so incredibly grateful for Dan and Cari.  The hospitality.  The time together. We had this gorgeous spot on the beach for 6 days.

September 28th, it was time to look at continuing on our journey.  We had a plan and were going to leave Vernon take the Hope/Princeton Highway and spend a night in Manning Park.

Everything was packed it was time to go.  We settled in the truck.  Once again, the truck did not start.  My husband said “call your Dad”.  Once the truck starts, that will be our next stop.

This was a familiar road. At least this time, we were in a place with friends, access to technology and more tools.  In time, Joe and Dan got the truck going.  There was no scenic tour back to the lower mainland.  We took the Coquihalla Highway and travelled to the lower mainland.

The interesting piece was when we arrived in Vernon I commented on how much traffic there was.

We had been travelling throughout BC with very little traffic.  Travelling to the lower mainland, lots of traffic is the norm.

Once the Port Mann Bridge was in sight we knew our drive was coming to a close, where answers would be found.

Spending several days, where my husband and Dad worked on resolving the truck issues, was time well spent.  I was so grateful we were able to attend the celebration of life and borrow my Dad’s car, while the problem solving continued.

This was also a time to celebrate my Parents’ birthdays.  It was a constant flow of birthday cakes for four days celebrating Mom and Dad.  So pleased we could be part of that.  It took time and in three days, the truck was running once again.  Incredibly grateful for family.

After four days with family, October 2nd, it was time to head home..  As with all ferry travel you learn patience.  This trip my sister Sandra was with us.  For some reason this ferry left on time.  Now that is something to celebrate.

One of my rituals on BC Ferries is to visit the bookstore as the collection of books and magazines is amazing.

It is always wonderful to enjoy this ritual with my sister Sandra.

On this visit I discovered the new book by Grant Lawrence “Return to Solitude” a follow up to his earlier book “Adventures in Solitude – What Not to Wear to a Naked Pot Luck and other stories in Desolation Sound”.  

A little backstory, I had heard Grant Lawrence do a book reading in 2014 at the City of North Vancouver Library talking about his book Adventures in Solitude and The Lonely End of the Rink.  His books will make your heart smile and great additions to any downtime.

This was a perfect way to bring out 6 weeks of our adventure to a close.

As I reflect on those wonderful weeks, what lessons can I bring into my day to day life?

During this trip we mostly had no schedule.  There is incredible freedom in that.

In what ways can we hold onto that feeling of downtime and schedule those pauses to connect with ourselves?

How can we make choices to say yes to ourselves more often?

I truly hope you have enjoyed this journey throughout BC.  Sometimes things did not go as planned.

We can navigate unchartered waters, with unexpected surprizes, even without an oar and find new ways forward.

Be kind. Be patient. Be nourished in all you do.

Photography mostly by Sharon K. Summerfield

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Photo of Sharon K. SummerfieldAt The Nourished Executive we coach leaders to invest in wellbeing, with a holistic lens, to prevent burnout.

Our founder, Sharon K. Summerfield,  is a Wellbeing Coach,  Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Smart Growth Advisor, with demonstrated success in nurturing healthy employees and high performing organizations. 

We have a strong commitment to giving back, investing in local community creating space for all students to consider careers in construction, science, technology, engineering and math.

 

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