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The drive to Clearwater and Wells Gray Park, BC, Canada

The skies today are heavenly! Meriam and I have about five hours of driving today. The plan is for me to lead and decide where we stop. I am looking closely at signs for points of interest while keeping an open vision of the road ahead. Twenty minutes into our drive, I spot a sign for Nairn Falls Provincial Park, so we make a stop to check it out. It will take us thirty minutes to hike to the falls, which is still leaving us many hours for the rest of the day. We wander along the Green River, mesmerized by the minty color of the water. As we started to get to know each other, we find many similarities in our life stories. Nairn Falls might not be a tall waterfall, but it indeed has mighty power.

A quick look at the map shows we need to take two highways, Hwy 99 and Hwy 5. In my mind, a highway is a major road with a few lanes. Not in British Columbia. Most of the time, you have one lane and only two options of levels, up or down, but I mean steep up and down. I am sure my car will appreciate a rest day tomorrow.

I love driving day as I get to sit and watch a movie of landscapes with no idea what the next frame will be. This movie should get an Oscar for its stunning views with the smooth transformation from mountain cap views to desert with a blue lake (Kamloops Lake).

It is Meriam's first time trying car camping. I share my experience and load Meriam with as much information as possible. I am staying an hour past her location and she is a bit nervous, which is understandable. I know the feeling; I've been there. I give her my location in Clearwater and invite her to come if she feels the need. I know that having a plan B will ease her mind.

I am staying in a small motel next to Dutch Lake for three nights. I booked this place, knowing I would need to catch up with my writing. I love spending time writing and capturing my journey. Writing for me, is like painting with words. The room is small and cute, but the internet is a bit slow. A short drive later, and I am in a small, cozy library.

The morning started with hazy skies from the smoke. There is a fire not far from here, but I had been told there was nothing to worry about. By mid-day, the skies cleared. Later today, Meriam will join me, and we can see how to fit her in my tiny room. It is a hot day, and after a few hours of creative writing and Meriam's arrival, a jump into the lake is a must. I am happy I will have more time to get to know Meriam. I am changing my plans a bit, and won't go back to the library to write. Instead, Meriam and I will start exploring the waterfalls in Wells Gray. The weather forecast shows it might rain on the days I will be camping in Wells Gray. I learn to take advantage of beautiful days while I can. I will take Saturday morning to write before heading to my campground.

Wells Gray Provincial Park is known as Canada's Waterfall Park, with 41 Waterfalls. We plan to visit three today. Our first stop is Spahats Creek Falls, a tall and skinny waterfall that plunges through a keyhole in the rock face into the Clearwater River. Our second waterfall is the fourth-highest in Canada. Helmcken Falls is on the Murtle River. You can experience it up close with a three-hour hike along the river and a viewpoint platform. We chose to experience this fall both ways. I am so glad we did! You get a different view and feel for Helmcken Falls. The South Rim Trail makes you be part of the drama. As you get closer, the rush of the water and the sound get more robust and louder until the show's finale of the mighty drop. Wow, we are both impressed with the beautiful power in front of us! A ten-minute drive will get you to the viewpoint platform, where you can sit back and see what comes after the drama unfolds. Our last waterfall is Dawson Falls. Oh my, what an exciting waterfall! While most waterfalls have one fall, this one is as wide as the river it is dominating. This impressive terraced fall cascades on different platforms, creating an endless movement. What is so neat about visiting this fall is that I can get so close to it, feeling its power vibrate in the air.

Tomorrow I will return to the park for four nights of camping. There are more waterfalls to explore, but until tomorrow, Meriam and I are back at the library trying to see if she can book any places for her nights on the road.

Meriam is another magic beauty in my journey. We are total strangers from different parts of the world, but our journey to conquer our fears is parallel. There is, for sure, magic when two people are willing to be vulnerable and totally naked with their feelings and emotions. It is a gift for both of us. Meriam is traveling with no set of plans, or any experience with car camping. She knows she wants to visit some of the famous places in BC and drive the Icefields Parkway with a stop in Jasper and Banff. She expressed her concerns about being unprepared for this traveling style from the moment we met. With all of her anxiety, she knows she must push forward, as this is her path and dance with fear. Every time she falls apart, I can recognize myself in her eyes. I share all I can with her; my experiences and a few items I know will make things easier for her. She calls me her guardian angel. What an honorable privilege, Meriam.

Meriam stayed two nights with me; it gives us a good foundation for a deep friendship we both hope to keep. We feel the same sadness when it is time to say goodbye. We cheer each other on for a healthy and safe journey through the land of fear. You got this, Meriam!!!

The library is about to close and I still have another hour and a half drive to the campground. The skies are still hazy from the thin layer of smoke; as long as it stays this way, I should be okay.



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