Category: Comments about Life

After returning to a lower altitude and rehydrating it was time to eat. A good place to do that seemed to be at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, it was on my list. As I was headed there, the sign for Lake Moraine appeared, I’d been advised not miss that either. I was super tired but there it was and there I was and I all I had to do was turn the steering wheel. And keep turning the wheel as the trusty LT’s very loud fan kicked in, up, up and up we went. The road is 22km, definitely seems longer on the way up than the way down! Slow and easy is the key here, it may not be a road for most RVs, but for my little baby no problem. The lake was frozen and the Lodge was closed. Still I was happy to be there. I saw a couple of little dogs with their people having a blast on the ice.

Lake Moraine

Lake Moraine: wonder how crowded this gets during the season?

Lake Moraine

Walking on Water

Walking on Water

Lake Moraine

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, I was so tired by this time that the walk from the parking lot to the Lodge seemed almost more than I could do. When you have an RV you need to be a strong walker. Even a little one like mine goes in the farthest away parking area. How come not even once have I seen that little cars have to park far away or buses or SUVs or motorcycles, why is it always RVs? Guess what, the lake was frozen! There was a bit of a melt going on. I had a root vegetable salad not a lot of food, but just right with a few cold glasses of delicious tasting water sitting outside overlooking the lake in the late afternoon. It was an awkward meal for reasons I’m just not going to mention and I felt very very sad. It seems the spirit in me had left and gone off to find another human who would give it more pleasure.

Lake Louise...  I was feeling a little blurred then too.

Lake Louise

Waiting for the table at the Fairmont

Waiting for the table at the Fairmont Chateau

My intent was to drive to Calgary in what was left of the day but I couldn’t do it. Instead my obligation came to a close and I was on my own. I don’t know if I did everything I could or not to do the best I could, but I was worn out. I found a hotel in Banff, a mountain resort up on the hill. They kindly found room for the LT and I crashed in my sweet comfy king size bed enjoying the whirlpool hot jet bath and the steam shower for a few days, I never turned the TV on or used the pool. A few times I walked down and back up the steep hill to the town of Banff. My resort provided a free bus pass but I walked. The walk was more interesting to me than the town. I had to do it spurts since it was so steep and would make my heart pound all over my body. I didn’t go into even one of the stores or enter any of the sights but I’d stood on the bridge and watched the traffic. I sat somewhere and watched all the people bustling around. Banff was very crowded. People I didn’t know responded with kindness and people I did know too, my mother was my biggest fan, friends sent texts or phone calls, Lee took pictures of my pups. I read the Buddhism books Lee’s husband Craig had lent me, sitting with my laptop, camera, a drink of mixed water and juice and later a bottle of complementary wine, a bit of food, out on my patio, thoughtfully there was an electrical plug, a few chairs, a little table and a peaceful view. Mindfulness and freedom from suffering, kindness and compassion, responsibility and action towards all creatures including rocks and rivers and the balance to do ones best to relive pain but also to let others suffer if they needed to. It was what I needed.  I could have stayed another day, I could have stayed a week or more, but I became annoyed with the cleaning crew at my resort so after a few days I took off. I washed some clothes in the sink before I left and the big thing, I put away all things Alaska, cleared out stuff I no longer needed to see or deal with in the LT; it was time to start over again.

Slipping down the short cut from my resort on the mountain.

Slipping down the short cut from my resort on the mountain.

Still going down the short cut and back up!

Still going down the short cut and back up!

Where The Deer and the Antelope Play!  I found it!!!!

Where The Deer and the Antelope Play! I found it!!!!


Terrace, BS to Prince Rupert is 143 km, is this the best scenery in the world? Certainly on the list for icy mountains and fun driving. I only took a few photos, the vistas are burned into memory.





It was at Prince Rupert that I locked in my very difficult decision to cancel the Ferry. I haven’t heard yet if I will get any refund. It was not an easy decision and it broke my heart. This trip as planned entailed 8 to 9,000 miles in 5 or 6 weeks time. More time would have been better, if I did it again I’d take the Ferry at Bellingham and Ferry hop then rent an RV and maybe fly home, there are long driving distances in Alaska as well as across Canada. I wouldn’t mind doing another trip to Canada and if I did for some reason drive part of the Alcan again, I’d want to do it all.

I turned around on the same day and headed back on this stunning road, I was trying to be “brave” but I could tell I was sobbing. It was something I couldn’t control. I sobbed for 12 hours and then I couldn’t eat for days.

As much as I wanted to see Alaska, this trip was symbolic, I’d hoped for a renewal of life as there has been so much death and loss in the last 7 or 8 years. I’d hoped for a new sense of direction, I’d hoped my dead loves would be proud of me. Instead I have other challenges, life will provide a different direction, I had… I have other things to learn.

Joyfully Sharing the Merit

It’s unclear to me if we have ever lived before or will ever live again, but I leave open the possibility with the understanding that we are here now and responsible for all we do. I do love this song.

It’s been a little over a year since I’ve traveled in the LT. I think my readers know why. Now that I’m almost ready there is a sense of calm, perhaps it will be different tomorrow or the next day when I start remembering everything I’ve forgotten! I have still much to do…. today is waxing the RV, one last trip to the vet, sorting through clothes and my “to do” list . . . yesterday I cleared and restocked the LT’s pantry, took all the cooking and eating stuff to the kitchen for a washing and dragged everything back fitting it all in place. The floors are clean with new rugs, the cupboards are clean, much of the dog gear is safely in my storage shed ready for the trip after this one.

I added phone service for Canada . . btw if you do this with a cell phone it’s easy as long as you have an International capable phone. I added Canada for $15 a month which I will cancel on my return. There is one catch which I just happened to know from another trip when I was near the border. If you have your cell phone set to global roaming it may well roam on over to the Canada side and start amassing International minutes, I suspect sans notice if you’ve already added Canadian service. To stop that Verizon had me change Global network to LTE/CDMA; I will change it to Global after I cross the border and then back to LTE/CDMA in Alaska, and so on. I don’t want to be surprised by a huge phone bill!

I’m finding so many want to hear of this trip and wish me well, I have quite a list now of folks wanting to be crammed into my luggage….it’s gonna be a tight fit! Maybe some of you can go on the roof?

One of the things I will be looking at will be the effects of the climate on the land, it’s creatures and communities at least that which I can observe from main paths (I’m not prepared with 4-wheel dive, technical instruments or equipment for wilderness exploration…. another time who knows?) When I was a student at UCSB Geography, studying Earth System Sciences we knew that Alaska like the sea floor here in Santa Barbara are key indicators of change. It should be obvious that there are now longer melt seasons, less sea ice, and longer journeys for marine mammals needing food.

I am out of practice of observing what I see, perhaps you too? Do we just accept our environment like watching a movie, a real life drama, something that has little to do with us and our daily lives? Do you remember a time perhaps when you were a child when everything was a great discovery? When you asked the question, why.

polar melt stop

From the web : polar melt stop


I will be looking at how the trees lean, how the land slumps, for newly formed pools and lakes of meltwater on one hand and on the other for shrinking wetlands, of course at diminishing glaciers. On the drive up and back, I will be looking at the apparent health of the trees, for signs of dryness and insect attack, for dirty rivers, for towns that are growing or shrinking, for happiness or stress.

Perhaps I will see some effects on the economy or in the numbers of wildlife, fires of course I hope not to see but I may see evidence of large burns, more drought, unpredictable weather, less snow, variable temperatures, unusual winds, an altering of seasons and changes in flora and fauna.

Arctic Fox: from Cool Animals of Alaska

Arctic Fox: from Cool Animals of Alaska

Don’t forget I post links for you guys out there …  just click on them. If you find any that don’t work or you don’t like send me a message.

Video on Alaska Climate Change

Climate Change in Alaska

A more detailed explanation
here is a 50 min. video / lecture from Professor Jack Murphy at Humboldt State University. It’s worth watching, just like a classroom intro lecture.

I read an article about how loneliness kills and I’d wanted to write a post about this as I’ve experienced much personal loss myself and was intrigued by the current studies … rather than restate what I read I’ve copied some of the article. . .  the affliction is incredibly painful, people don’t like to think about it; it’s one of those ailments considered self-induced and therefore not worth talking about.

Never mind that almost all illness can be considered self-induced (especially if you talk to enough different healing practitioners or researchers) or a result of genetic tendencies or childhood experiences; loneliness has no medical cure, nothing in a bottle at least till now.

Judith Shulevitz, writes in the New Republic:  Just as we once knew that infectious diseases killed, but didn’t know that germs spread them, we’ve known intuitively that loneliness hastens death, but haven’t been able to explain how. Psychobiologists can now show that loneliness sends misleading hormonal signals, rejiggers the molecules on genes that govern behavior, and wrenches a slew of other systems out of whack. They have proved that long-lasting loneliness not only makes you sick; it can kill you. Emotional isolation is ranked as high a risk factor for mortality as smoking. A partial list of the physical diseases thought to be caused or exacerbated by loneliness would include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancer—tumors can metastasize faster in lonely people.

. . .  Loneliness, she said is the want of intimacy.. .
. . .  Loneliness “is not synonymous with being alone, nor does being with others guarantee protection from feelings of loneliness,” writes John Cacioppo, the leading psychologist on the subject. . . . The lonely get sicker than the non-lonely because they don’t have social support.

Psychobiologists can now show that loneliness sends misleading hormonal signals, rejiggers the molecules on genes that govern behavior, and wrenches a slew of other systems out of whack. They have proved that long-lasting loneliness not only makes you sick; it can kill you. Emotional isolation is ranked as high a risk factor for mortality as smoking. A partial list of the physical diseases thought to be caused or exacerbated by loneliness would include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancer—tumors can metastasize faster in lonely people.

In a survey published by the AARP in 2010, slightly more than one out of three adults 45 and over reported being chronically lonely. A decade earlier, only one out of five said that. With baby-boomers reaching retirement age at a rate of 10,000 a day, the number of lonely Americans will surely spike.

Loneliness is made as well as given, and at a very early age. Deprive us of the attention of a loving, reliable parent, and, if nothing happens to make up for that lack, we’ll tend toward loneliness for the rest of our lives. Not only that, but our loneliness will probably make us moody, self-doubting, angry, pessimistic, shy, and hypersensitive to criticism.

Cole can imagine giving people medications to treat loneliness . . .  These could be betablockers, which reduce the physical effects of stress; anti-inflammatory medicine; or even Tylenol.  Since physical and emotional pain overlap, it turns out that Tylenol can reduce the pain of heartbreak.

” Boomers, who grew up using drugs recreationally, have become a generation that lives almost full time in the Valley of the Dolls: bombarded by direct-to-consumer ads, they are happy to self-medicate, and their cost-conscious H.M.O.’s are happy to substitute antidepressants for expensive talk therapy, prescriptions for repeated doctor visits.

. . . drug use has soared. Americans routinely take pills for high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and they also routinely take pills to sleep, pills to focus, pills to chill and pills to perk up, pills for more sex and pills for less stress. Mr. Critser notes that “the average number of prescriptions per person, annually, in 1993 was seven,” but had risen to 11. . . .

So what’s the issue? I notice Tylenol (amphetamine) has emphasized the risk overdosing on their labels…. isn’t it isolation that creates loneliness!  There’s a lot of talk about depression, its also chronic and widespread yet it’s become almost fashionable to be depressed and taking a designer pill to improve mood or some other home-brewed concoction gambling, sex, fast cars, …  you get the idea. Loneliness has not been shown to be improved by antidepressants or the pursuit of thrills. Loneliness is not helped by talking about it either as what happens is stigmatization as if the lonely must be flawed and incapable of social functions, the blame is put on the one who suffers, sometimes with pity but oftentimes with a little sigh of relief that it’s not you…  at least not yet.   Now, didn’t they used to do this with “women’s troubles”….  hysterical, they called it, it’s not real it’s imaginary. Why this pressing need to deny the basic foundations of modern lifestyle?

Isolation causes loneliness; living alone after loved ones have died or left, no children maybe at all, or none nearby or maybe estranged, no family or families that disconnect, married couples that divorce, long time friends that drop away,  compound with encroaching years illness, death, loss of memories, neighbors that don’t like each other or maybe don’t even know each other . . . the days of an open door, borrowing a cup of sugar, stopping by to watch a movie or play a game of cards is rapidly being eradicated from many people’s lives.  In many communities companionship still exists, however in many more it’s rapidly disappearing.

So, no problem now there’s a pill…  good old Tyneol to the rescue! But really!!!! Is the cure, then for loneliness a pill?  What about another PERSON???? Companionship, an intimate caring and inclusion, a wanting to know and be known, a friendly hug, a hand to hold, reaching out and being joyful in doing so. . . .  No?

Okay, then I say we put a person in a bottle and label it,”take one pill once a day or as needed” Problem solved.

Lois Mahalia- Original “GoodBye”