Claire Porter
Great Divide
Sparwood, BC Sparwood. In this old mining town lies the world's largest truck, a Subway, and a grocery store with several barren shelves. It's nestled in the armpit junction of several highways, and the town seems to be wearing the wrong sized shoes. Even the name of it feels awkward­ "Sparwood". Part of my malaise is probably due to the fact that Ben and I have been here twice­ once, on the way to Flathead Pass, and twice­ when we had to turn around at the top of the pass when Ben's bike broke down and backtrack to get to the closest bike shop in Fernie. I am frustrated that we are in this coal town again, and want to leave. Ben insists on stopping for lunch at Subway because he "loves Subway", and some of my frustrations must be due to hunger because I feel better after eating a sandwich, loaded with crunchy veggies. Plus, they have wifi.

Two nights ago we needed a place to camp and nothing along the road was particularly inspiring. That and there were "NO TRESPASSING" signs posted every hundred feet along the dirt road. My knee felt like a coal pit with truckloads of rock crunching around my patella, and I worried about it hurting so early on into the trip. As we pedaled along, with me unclipping every few pedal strokes to ease the pain in my knee, I spotted a gravel road peeling up a hill. I wanted to stop riding for the day, and this road looked like it may offer refuge off the road to camp. We wound up the hill, and realized we were pedaling up someone's driveway. After me introducing myself to the family (I was the designated talker when it came to meeting people on the route), they invited us to camp, "oh anywhere up on the hill under the gasoline!" We cruise up under the gasoline, and trailing behind us is a GMC truck driven by Marcus, the father, who works for mining giant Teck just like every other man in this area. We stop, and so does the truck. Marcus steps out of the truck and hands us the keys, "just in case a grizzly pays a visit to your campspot and you need some refuge". We gulp and thank him. We sleep soundly, and nothing attacks us in the night.


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Claire Porter

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Claire Porter

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