To Bad Life Couldn’t Always Be This Sweet!
I mentally prepared for the long ride ahead. A couple of hours later,
I realized it was going to be a very long ride indeed. The people,
towns, and even the traffic all but disappeared. When I finally
reached Kelsey Bay, I found a solitary sign pointing in a different
direction. It read Kelsey Bay 3 kilometers. I expected a gas station
or a store where I could get a pop and chips, but that didn’t happen.
I was on a tight schedule, so I unhappily pushed on. At least it
Around 8 p.m., a motorcyclist passed me heading south. He turned
around and came back for a visit. He parked his bike in the middle of
the highway, as we shared stories. He was pissed because it rained
every day on his ten-day vacation. The only day it didn’t rain on him
was today, and he was headed home. I told him I empathized. After we
got through the introductions, the guy asked me if I could roll a
joint. “Absolutely,” I said, so when he handed me his stash that he
pulled from the bottom of his saddlebags, I rolled a big, fat, number.
After a few hits of the weed, and standing in the middle of nowhere,
the smiles started to pour forth from both our faces, smiles that had
been long suppressed. A bird even started singing, and my muscles
stopped aching. After the last hit was gone, my friend hopped on his
bike and headed south while I continued to peddle north; we
were both in a much better mood, though, and I, knowing how
privileged I was to be bicycling in this extremely beautiful country,
counted my blessings .
The next day, when I began my bicycling through the Nimpkish Valley,
I found myself center stage in a beautiful dream. In the pristine
wilderness of Vancouver Island’s peopleless north country, the
songbirds offered up a delightful chorus, as the sun beamed hot on my
bare back. With cascading mountain streams greeting me every few
miles, and no traffic to break the spell, the bicycling was absolutely
fantastic. Above me eagles soured. I even saw a circling vulture or
two. On four different occasions I passed grazing deer. I hadn’t
experienced that much beauty since that time in Wyoming’s Big Horn
Mountains when I coasted down into Ten Sleep Canyon. On that occasion,
I experienced one of those highs that can’t be described–a bubbling
over high. Bicycling the Nimpkish Valley was that kind of high.
In Port McNeill, around 8 p.m., I passed a friendly looking pub and
went inside. On the backside of the pub, just outside the window where
I was sitting was a beautiful stream. At the bar, two guys were
talking to the bartender. The conversation ranged from fishing, to
fishing, to more fishing. Bad fishing meant small paychecks, and based
on what I was hearing, times were tough. Too bad those fellows
couldn’t appreciate what I was appreciating great beer and a great
view–whip cream on a great day.
That night I pitched my tent along the highway. I arrived in Port
Hardy the next morning around 9 a.m. I bought my ferry ticket, some
groceries, took a shower at a campground, and cleaned my bike, all
before boarding the ferry. Riding the ferry up the pacific coast to
Prince Rupert, I still hadn’t come down off my Nimpkish Valley high.
To bad life couldn’t always be this sweet!