Walk to Little Fort from Barriere dedicated to grandmother

Gorley takes second walk in five years as she travels along her personal path

Terry Gorley at the half point  mark of her walk from Barriere to Little Fort in memory of Ada Mackenzie.

Terry Gorley at the half point mark of her walk from Barriere to Little Fort in memory of Ada Mackenzie.


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

starting out.

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

the heat.

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

beautiful valley.

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’.


Barriere Star Journal