It's one thing when thunder rumbles overhead, quite another when it reverberates in your bowels. I felt my insides liquify as I grasped onto a puny Limber Pine and leaned out to snap this photo. It was a memorable five sense moment. When a massive river gets squeezed into a slit of a canyon, something has to give. Fortunate for me that both pine and bowels were up to the test.
Athabasca Falls were tumultuous on that particular day... loud enough to wake the Devil himself. It sounded like all hell moaned in unison at this massive conversion from volume to velocity... as if excruciatingly painful. A deafening chorus of burning baritones quaked in my chest. The Athabasca River plunged and shredded through a chasm with all the force of spit atoms. It was a detonation, of sorts, all that went missing was the iconic mushroom cloud.
Enveloped in a contagious mist... water streaming like workout rivulets of sweat... my Limber Pine bent and kneeled. Loosing my death grip I shot a quick one from the hip then beat a wise retreat to guardrails, warning signs and a tour bus load of blue-hairs... eyeing me like the fool I was.
Another hour up Icefields Parkway landed us in one of prettiest last bastions of civilization I ever laid eyes on, Jasper, Alberta. Flowers seem to be mandated by peer pressure in Jasper; they swing from lamp post baskets and spring from black soiled beds like Forth of July. Over a goo-fest cinnamon roll and coffee strong enough to light even the dimmest tourist bulb in town, I read a newspaper story about a guy who fell into Athabasca Falls only last week, a tourist, of course. They found his body several miles downstream... every single bone pulverized to jelly. The article went on to mention a lady who survived the same plunge a few years back. Same "input," different result. Weird.
It never does much good to question such things. More and more I get the uneasy feeling that life is a crap shoot. We are flimsy mobile homes in Kansas just waiting for a double six roll of the dice. One can live the most protected existence imaginable and still get sucked to Oz in their sleep. There are things worse than dying, you know. If you don't believe me just roam the ammonious halls of any nursing home. Go forth and thrive... before the "dice" tolls for thee.
Now a few more shots from our trip through Alberta and British Columbia.
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