Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Germans are coming, the Germans are coming!

After a delightful four days and three nights at Meziadin, we reluctantly headed north once again along the Cassiar Highway.  It turns out that we both wanted to stay longer and explore more of the lake and I could have spent another three days just fly fishing. We thought that we needed a schedule...a plan...a goal.  But in fact, we needed none.  We had lived by goal setting for so many years that one forgets that life is not a goal, a peak to conquer, or fortune to make. Here on the Slow Road to Adventure, it was just to experience and participate and share in the wonder of it all. And to give thanks for each special moment. It was a wake-up call as we decided to throw off any time limits with or without an itinerary.  We had a good one provided by Pete Reed, Wagon Master of the Lazy Daze NW group, but we realized that the group thing would not work for us.  We wanted to slow down even more and catch each precious moment of life here in the North Country. So we moved the return dates from mid-July past August into September or whenever, maybe until the snow started falling. We were both hooked!

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. My great grandparents are from Toulouse, France, who immigrated to Quebec, Canada.  And, my grandparents on both sides were from Quebec who eventually crossed the border into Maine to start new lives; so the French Canadian influence has always been strong upon me. In fact my first schooling was at a French Catholic boarding school where half the classes were taught in French and the others in English by the Sisters of Mercy. I wanted to spend a great deal of time in Canada.

At nearly every campground and many towns along the way, we were intrigued that most travelers on the road with us were German, Swiss, or Dutch. A few Americans, a handful of Canadians, and mostly Europeans.  Especially the Germans who were on vacation and outnumbered other travelers 10 to 1. They were crazy for BC and the Yukon.  We met some who had travelled here each summer for 20 years by camper.  They return home each fall dutifully back to their families, but as one old timer said to us in broken English, "My heart is in the Yukon." I find it interesting that the original Alaska Highway or "Alcan" (a military acronym for the Alaska-Canada Highway) as noted in "The Milepost", was started in March 1942 by the American military and completed a little over eight months later in October as an important part of the war effort and a strategic necessity.

As we entered Kinaskan Provincial Park, we camped next to a couple our age from Switzerland who were travelling with another younger couple originally from East Germany.  The Swiss couple were especially curious about us and our lifestyle asking questions about how much money we received in retirement, Social Security payments, and the cost of life on the road. We compared notes and surprisingly, our government retirement benefits were similar. They had recently purchased a camper and truck in Alberta and bought an inflatable raft with electric motor to fish the lakes along the way. As he talked to me about the local fishing for Rainbow Trout, I couldn't resist the temptation. I talked him into taking me along and soon we were trolling for the famous rainbows of Kinaskan Lake.

Fishing and especially hunting is expensive business in Europe beyond the financial means of most citizens.  Johan was enjoying himself immensely as we caught some rainbow trout, again near the inlets of feeder streams.  We made a date for early the next morning as well and he was able to take four beautiful and tasty trout with him on his way north.

It was great fun to share our stay on Kinaskan Lake with Johan and Marisa of Switzerland ...

as well as ... Derek and Kristen of Germany.


At June 17, 2010 at 10:51 AM , Blogger Judy Jones said...

Hey David. Love your comments about living without a goal or an itinerary. I am so inspired! Not inspired enough to leave my comfy, safe lifestyle yet, but it all looks pretty good from here.


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