By Terry Gorley
Five years ago, on Sept. 24, after walking from Barriere to Little Fort, I wrote that I had hoped to do it again one day.
However, the time never seemed to be right, until ve years later I decided it was time.
I planned to retrace my steps on Saturday, Sept. 27, the day after my 60th birthday. It’s different this time, I’m ve years older and I look at it more as a test of endurance than an adventure.
I would walking with memories of my grandmother, who lived to be 99 years with a myriad of health issues, partially, if not all due to being diabetic.
She always said, “You take care of it, it won’t take care of you,” and “you gotta keep movin’.”
Just like the last walk, I had no idea what to expect, I decided to take it one step at a time and go as far as my legs would take me. So, on Sept. 27, I got up at 4:45 a.m. and did
my usual morning routine, leaving the house in Barriere at 7:00 a.m.
The morning was a warm 10° degrees celsius with mist on the hills as I set out on my journey. A much easier start than last time with the much warmer temperature.
“Good Morning Starshine” was playing in my head. Don’t know where it came from, but I liked it. I stopped on this side of the bridge to take my first photographs. Nearing Peterson-
Betts Road, one of my toes that gives me ongoing
problems began to burn and the scent of
skunk was in the air. It dissipated only to greet
me with a stronger scent a little further on. It
too dissipated, then much to my chagrin, my
bladder was asking for attention. I kept going
… toe burning … bladder calling.
As I passed where the old Chinook Cove
Hall had once stood I was grateful for the reminder
that 42 years ago we had our wedding
reception there. In that moment, I was once
again grateful for my husband who has shared
his life with me, and who was following in the
truck behind me.
Toe burning… bladder calling, then toe
burning… bladder bursting… toe burning …
bladder bursting. So much for “Good Morning
Like a broken record… toe burning … bladder
bursting… toe burning… bladder bursting
as I wondered what to do.
Finally, I came to an old driveway long since
abandoned. Making my way down the beaten
path I found a discreet place to relieve myself.
With a feeling of gratitude and great relief, I was
on my way once again.
I stopped to take a couple photos of a dead
bat that was lying in the gravel. Not far ahead,
a young white tailed buck stopped, looked at
me, then crossed the highway in front of an
oncoming car. Thankfully, the buck made it to
the ditch and up the embankment without incident.
In that moment of stillness and serenity I
took several pictures of him.
At 9:00 a.m. the sun peeked out from
behind the clouds heralding the glorious,
golden autumn day.
I made it to the turn-out at the bottom of
the Dar eld hill almost an hour and a half after
I took a photograph and said hello to a couple
from Wadman, Alberta. Then to my great
surprise and admiration our daughter, Kim,
joined me with camera in hand ready to take on
the journey with me.
We munched on Nature Valley Granola
bars and made our way up the hill. I found the
hill more dif cult to do this time. My left knee
had shooting pains going through a scar from a
fall I took when I was about 12-years-old, and
my hips had joined in the protest.
We trudged along, took photos and felt disappointment
that the bear who had been eating
apples on my previous walk wasn’t there again.
Eagles and hawks soared above us, and a
bald headed eagle across the eld caught our
attention. Stopping for a time to take pictures
gave us a break, and for a time muscles and feet
didn’t complain as much.
There was cooing coming from down by the
river that we assumed came from doves. The
sound was almost a whisper and added a calmness
to the walk.
To our delight at 11:30 a.m. my three nephews
honked and waved on their way to Kamloops.
The sun was so warm in places that it felt like
we walked in front of a heater. We laughed and
joked about “another heat wave.” Falling leaves
reminded us that it really was autumn despite
We took notice of the number of dead and
alive black and orange caterpillars and snakes.
As I write this, curiosity had been sparked. Interestingly
enough, when I did a search for symbolism
of the caterpillar, snake and bat, they all
represented transformation and change.
We laughed at the antics of the two lively
white tailed deer in the bushes. Following the
same curiosity, I found, “By inspiration from
the deer’s qualities, you can achieve ambitious
goals and tackle dif cult situation smoothly
with a touch of gentleness and grace.” The
quote seemed tting for our day.
The crowing roosters, barking dogs and
those who came to greet us, the cows, horses
and the baby goat who cried until his mother
was found were reminders of my grandmother
and how much she loved her animals and this
I found a “lucky” loonie lying in the dirt
and was reminded that luck is what we make
it. It will be a precious souvenir that will always
remind me of this day, of love, of support, of
family, of gratitude for the little things that may
seem insigni cant.
Kim ended her walk at Webb Rodd, fourand-
a-half hours after starting with me. I continued
on and completed my journey to Jim’s
Market in Little Fort at 2:30 p.m., seven-and-ahalf
hours after leaving home in Barriere.
So the question remains; how did I fare
walking the same distance ve years later?
As previously mentioned, I found the
Dar eld hill a little more challenging. There
seemed to be more times when my joints and
muscles protested and yet, my legs didn’t feel
like lead weights and I wasn’t dragging my butt
on the nal stretch. I wasn’t tired, and could
have kept walking had my feet been doing better.
When I nished the rst walk, I had no stiffness
and only three small blisters. This time, for
three days whenever I sat for any length of time
my muscles protested.
My toes are still complaining and likely will
for a few more days. It took me approximately
15 more minutes this time than last. Overall, my
stamina was greater on this walk.
Our walk was dedicated to my grandmother,
Ada Mackenzie, who loved life and was active
throughout her 99 years. It was about physical,
emotional and spiritual health. It was about
memories, healing and wellness. It was about
testing ourselves and our abilities.
I believe that sometimes as we age, we underestimate
ourselves and our abilities.
When my grandmother came to live with us
in 2006, just before her 91st birthday she would
say, “The doctors tell me to exercise and I tell
them I can’t.” When she moved into the Yellowhead
Pioneer Residence in the fall of that year,
she became more physically active. She began
by walking from her #12 suite to the gate, then
she would go to the gate and down the side
of the building, and nally she was able to go
around the building.
In January, 2008, she moved to the assisted
living side. She told me she didn’t like ‘sit and
t’, so she started throwing a small ball. Before
long she had a group of her own who played
wallyball three times a week. This was throwing,
kicking or hitting a beach ball around the
group for an hour. She was proud of herself
and her group.
She would tell me how much easier it was to
move and bend, and of others who were more
exible after playing.
Granny had given up wallyball a few months
ago, but still loved playing carpet bowling on
Tuesday and Saturday evenings. Despite having
poor eyesight due to macular degeneration, she
would tell her “horse” where to go and I gather
often hit her target.
My grandmother was an inspiration to me
and those who knew her.
Take care of yourself and keep movin’.