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Wells Gray Provincial Park, BC Canada

It is early evening, and the sun is still shining my way. Hey, is anybody out here? I am on my way to Clearwater Lake Campground, driving on a long dirt road. How remote is this campground? I know this area has no service, but I had a different vision for this side of the park. This is another primitive campground, so I am putting up my own bathroom this time. I need a break from the pit toilet; especially when it's so hot outside. I love that I can be self-sustainable - life is easier this way.

A quick chat with the Ranger confirmed what I realized as I was driving, that there is little to do in Wells Gray that far in unless you have a boat. The main attractions in this park are the waterfalls I saw the other day. I decided to cut my stay short and only camp here for two nights. Tomorrow I will explore by foot the few trails around.

Interestingly enough, I am fully aware of how I am so relaxed about changing my plans and not even a bit nervous about the idea that I have no clue where I will stay for two nights, as I am leaving my reservation early at Wells Gray. I can recognize the source of it right away. The opportunity to share all the experience I have gained in the last nine months with Meriam showed me how much I have accomplished and the knowledge I now have under my belt. It is a valid reason for celebration and a pat on my shoulder. Experience is a direct way to build up one's confidence.

It is nice here, and the river is not far from my site, so my background noise is the river's soft flow and the mosquitoes' buzz (the part of the mosquitoes is, of course, irritating and I have bites all over me, but it is part of this place). Another hazy morning, but by the time I start to hike, the haze is slowly dissipating. I follow the signs to Dragon's Tongue and Sitcta Falls.

Oh, how I needed this waterfall today! Sitcta Falls is a secret in this part of the park, and I have it all to myself. I remove my backpack and go down as much as possible to get closer to the falls. Next to me, a spider is building its web. I can see it going up and down between two branches, but I don't see its web. I can only imagine its beauty.

Today is my Mom's anniversary. It's been 38 years since I lost her. No matter how many years pass, this day is difficult for me. Her absence is so painful, and I feel so empty. No words can express how it feels to grow up as a woman without a mother to nurture and love you. I miss you, Mom, in the most simple way.

This gift of the waterfall today is the perfect place to remember her. Since the beginning of this journey, her presence has been undeniable. I ask her to give me a sign.

I think about her last four years and her battle with cancer. It breaks my heart to know how much she suffered. Now that I am a mother myself, I can feel her unbearable pain, knowing her time is limited.

Even with all this pain, I still can't cry as I so wish to. It feels like I lost the ability to have a deep and cleansing cry. I used to cry for her every night until I had to shut myself down. Only when I visited Adi did I realize how much I still hold the trauma of my ex's actions in my body. I kept two deep secrets in my body for almost 18 years (I do not recommend that). It literally almost killed me. The freedom now to express and feel all the emotions in me is a breath of life. I know I will get there one day; I will find the key I chose to throw away in order to protect myself.

I am back at my site, preparing lunch and relaxing before I will hike to the lake. Suddenly a butterfly is resting on my backpack, waving her wings at me. Thank you, Mom, for showing up.

A week after I asked for my divorce, I came upon a quote that said it all.

"Just when the caterpillar thought her life was over, she began to fly." Since then, a butterfly has been my symbol, and I am for sure flying!!!

I am ready to hike to the lake, but the butterfly still rests on my backpack. I have been sitting about four feet from my pack, not wanting it to fly away. I can't believe how long it is resting; it has been at least fifteen minutes now. I decided to test this idea that my Mom is letting me know she is with me. I sit next to my pack, and it is still not flying away. I even touch her gently, and it still waves at me. We stay like that for another few minutes before it flies away, leaving me with the comfort my mom is around; flying with me on this journey. I know it sounds like a make-believe story, but if you know me, you'll know it's not.

It is a bit humid, and the walk on the dirt road to the lake is taking longer than I thought. I decided that if any car passed by, I would try to get a ride with them. Now, I know what you are thinking. What are you doing? Hitchhiking in the middle of nowhere, are you crazy? I am not letting my confidence fog my judgment; it just feels very safe to do it here. Fifteen minutes into my walk, a pickup truck pulls over. Two guys and two dogs are smiling at me. I recognize the driver from the campground. I asked if I could ride with them to the lake. Ron, the passenger, moves to the back seat to be cramped with the dogs while I sit comfortably in the front.

My idea was to hike the Chain Meadowlands Trail Eastern Bluffs that start at the lake, but as I started hiking, I obviously needed to turn around. The trail is poorly maintained and extremely muddy. The walk back to the campground is now downhill, making walking in the heat easier.

I am back at my campsite reading my book. Suddenly I heard someone saying, "Oh wow, you are far from home." Two women are standing at the edge of my site, pointing at my license plate, and yes, you know the rest. Janice and Bette invited me to join them later to sit at their campsite. After dinner, I walked to find their site. On the way, I stop to thank Ron and Vern for the ride and meet their wives, Lina and Elaine.

Now that is the perfect campsite! If you are planning to camp at Clearwater Lake Campground, make sure to book site number 25. Janice, Bette, and I go for a stroll along the river, enjoying the evening light on the flowing river.

This is the first morning that I could smell the smoke. It's time to leave. I know it's supposed to rain tomorrow. Not having service is terrific but challenging when I need critical information like weather and air quality levels. I am not in a good setting for wet weather. I better get closer to a town where I can escape during the day and be under a shelter. I will take this morning to wash my car and do laundry.

My first call when I return to civilization is to Meriam to check and see how she is doing. I am happy to report she is finding hostels to stay at and enjoying her time.

Now I have two days to create as I go without a plan.



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