The third of my goals was spending time alone and sharing my passion for outdoor adventures with the three granddaughters that I have lost too early. I have to admit that as I negotiated the river and the campsites I didn't have much opportunity to think of anything other than the task at hand. One exception to this occurred during the day that I spent waiting for the wind and rain to abate so that I could safely continue on my way down the river. As I sat on the pail that I used as a seat while I cooked my supper a ladybird appeared close to my foot and slowly travelled towards the edge of my tent where it disappeared into the grass. If you look closely at the Hazel's Heroes logo below you will begin to see the significance of the ladybird appearing when I was probably at the lowest point of my physical and emotional energy.
The ladybird flying across the top of the logo was not a graphic randomly chosen to add to the interest of the design. The ladybird is there because Hazel's mum, Gill, feels that when a ladybird arrives in her presence it is a sign that Hazel is there with her. In my case the arrival of the ladybird gave me comfort although I was not sure why. Later, when I thought about my ladybird, I felt a sense of frustration because I felt I should understand the significance of the ladybird's visit but I didn't. Now when I look back at the events that followed it make this cynical, old man think that Hazel was with me and was letting me know that everything was going to work out. That same evening the Alberta Fish & Wildlife boat came by and the two officers chatted with me and gave me advice about the next stretch of the river. Then, the next morning, as I packed up my tent I discovered one section of a tent pole had cracked and the tent could not be depended upon for future use.
That day when I found that a possible boat ramp was not useable because the bank had been eroded leaving a steep, 2m vertical bank to the vehicle access above and when I had paddled further downstream to find a campsite, Marc, one of the Fish & Wildlife officers, and an RCMP officer walked in to where I was camped to check up on me. They confirmed what I had been told by the people fishing at the unusable boat ramp that there was a suitable place to get off the river and load the canoe on the van and the equipment in the van at Metis Crossing only a short distance away. The final paddle to Metis Crossing was short and made even easier by perfect paddling weather and a steady wind coming from behind helping me along. Added to this Andrew, the friend who had volunteered to pick me up, had left Jasper at 11:00am while I was still on the river assuming I would be waiting for him when he arrived. When I reached Metis Crossing I was fortunate to arrive at just the right time to meet a staff member who provided me with access to their cultural centre and a welcome supply of food and drink.
Were all of these events just coincidences? Probably, but I think Hazel was close by with the ladybird and she was trying to tell me that everything would be OK and it was alright for me to accept that I should end my adventure at Metis Crossing.
These sponsors helped to make my canoe trip possible.
You can help me to achieve my goals for this trip in a number of ways: