Believe it or not, crossing the imaginary line that the 49th parallel is - the border between Canada and the USA - was an overwhelming process. Despite the fact that the mountains, the plants and the animals are the same, the humans codes change and I had to adapt. In the meantime, as I was riding towards Glaciers National Park’s entrance, I realized I had absolutely no clue about where I was headed neither of anything else I would do. All I knew was that I was going south, that I was hoping to catch up with the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and that I wanted to check out some of the hiking trails in the area. I tried to keep it easy and cycled over the world famous Going-to-the-sun road but is was not doing justice to the surrounding scenery plus I was already sick of the intense, uncautious, traffic and the crazy amount of people rushing everywhere. After figuring out the US Parks backcountry permits system, I left my bike at a campground and hit the trails again.
Over 6 days I covered 250km, gazed at almost all GNP’s highlights, swam in 8 different lakes, went over a dozen passes and last but not least, experienced the mentally toughest roller coaster of the journey, switching from absolute joy to the darkest darkness of inner storms filled with doubts and fears. The Canadian leg of the trip was sort of lined up beforehand and I was adventuring in a familiar environment. Now I was truly stepping into the total unplanned unknown and it was vertiginous. Time and distance started to freak me out but the absolute beauty of the pristine landscape always dragged me back to the moment and made me realize that it was just my mind messing up with me. At the end of the day it reinforced my willingness to dive into the unknown without planning and let things be. Day after day, learning to let it go a little bit more and fully trusting Burroughs quote : “Leap, and the net will appear.''
The idea of improvising my route day after day was confirmed by all the recommendations made by the people I met on my way. Being back on busy Nation Parks trails was shocking after wandering in the Canadian wilderness but it was the opportunity to meet tons of nice folks and scribble down their favorite secret or not-so-secret sports, trails and rides along the divide. The itinerary is slowly building itself up. It was also the perfect way to adapt to the American style and general mindset (it here is one).
Another big difference between the endless Canadian Wilderness and the US National Park was the amount of wildlife I encountered. On the Northern side of the border I would run into an animal every other day because there is so much room that they can live their lives and see humans every now-and-then. Here I had several close encounters everyday. On one side it was awesome. Seeing wildlife is always such a privilege. But at the same time it made me sad because I realized the horrific lack of room they have to roam. The density of population out of the park keeps them in it but even there they have nowhere to go without being bothered by humans. (fun facts : in the US there is no “bear policy” in the out of park campgrounds where in Canada it is bear country everywhere) The amazing trails system takes you everywhere to experience Nature’s beauty but it means that animals do not have the possibility to avoid those noisy bipeds. Everything always comes down the debate between arrangement for enjoyment and protection…
But why bears stick around here then ? Seeing the amount of berries I shoveled in my mouth over those few days, I cannot blame them!
Anyway, it was the perfect way to get me back on track and with my hip starting to hurt again, it is definitely time to jump on the bike again. Let’s pedal south !
Tramping, cycling, running, skiing, travelling, I keep exploring this amazing planet we live on. The following texts give an insight of my various wanderings. From poetry to trip reports or thoughts on particular subjects, this pages try to reflect how I travel through this modern world.