Finishing that Cross Canada Tour

Skid at Tunnel Mountain
Written by Skid Crease

The following Travelogue is the second instalment by Bolton resident Skid Crease who recently enjoyed a Cross-Canada Summer Tour of our incredible National Parks….

The return trip back from Vancouver was nothing short of spectacular. First, you rise through the Coast Mountains from Vancouver, and then cross the Intermountain Plateau, and next the Rockies via Glacier and Yoho National Parks. Each vista is more breathtaking than the last, and the Trans-Canada highway itself makes the best ride at Canada’s Wonderland look like tame by comparison. This IS Canada’s wonderland.

After walking the trail to Yoho’s Takkakaw Falls with a crowd composed of every culture under the sun, we headed for our final Canadian visit along the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park. It was pure luck that the William’s Lake, 100 Mile House, and Sunshine Village wildfires had been contained (with 40,000 evacuees much relieved), so the skies were crystal clear when we did our area hikes.

Peyto LakeI had to scramble out onto a rocky outcrop to get a tourist-free shot of the turquoise waters of Peyto Lake, but it was worth it! We hiked this trail with all ages and stages and languages that you could imagine – a triumph of diversity and community – the world invited to share our True North, respectful and free.

After a visits to our wedding site under the peaks of the Three Sisters in Canmore and the Hoodoos near our Tunnel Mountain campsite at Banff, we packed up and headed home via Estevan, Saskatchewan. This was the crossing point for so many Syrian refugees this winter. One could only imagine their desperate quest for freedom that they braved the -40ºC temperatures and limb freezing Prairie winds as they crossed from Portal, North Dakota into Canada.

We had decided on the faster U.S. route home and made the trip across North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois as quickly as possible. After one hotel night in St. Paul, Minnesota our last campsite was near Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was at a KOA campgrounds and was by far the largest, most comfortable campsite of the entire trip. The facilities, however did not compare to the excellence of our National Parks. The other difference, perhaps the most profound revelation of the trip, was that at this campsite, everyone was white and spoke English.

When crossed the border and saw that first big Canadian flag waving proudly over the American-Brazilian owned Tim Hortons, we all spontaneously broke into our national anthem, in English and French, including “In all of us command”, with a heartfelt Miigwetch at the end. Old wisdoms, new realities.

William at Banff

Oh, Canada, thank you for your diversity in landscapes and in peoples. In celebration of 10,000 years of First Peoples cultures, and 150 years of European nation building, Happy Birthday Canada. It was the trip of a lifetime!

P.S. For six years we did the run every summer from Caledon to the East Coast, so Québec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia have been well explored, including the Cape Breton’s iconic Cabot Trail. I have swum in the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Arctic Oceans, panned for gold in Dawson City and eaten muktuk in Iqualuit.  We are blessed with a beautiful country.

Maybe one day my children will get to The Rock for Newfoundland’s 100th Birthday. It is always the journey though, never just the destination. Happy trails!

About the author

Skid Crease

Skid is an internationally respected, award winning educator, author, keynote speaker & storyteller. An environmental & outdoor education specialist. Accredited member Canadian Association of Journalists. “Always leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.”