Running Away From Home at 49

What was supposed to be a summer spent exploring my home province of Nova Scotia turned into something else entirely. I needed to get far away, as in, the other side of the country. My burnout had reached epic proportions. Not only had I stopped any cooking or cleaning, I could barely get out of bed or force myself to do anything. I had glass orders to get out, shows to attend, blogs to write, Instagram photos to take, and of course drives to sporting events. The smallest tasks became huge. I had to do something, anything.

Two years ago I took my family to Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper en route to visiting my oldest son in Cold Lake. I loved the Rockies, no words could describe them. We ended up doing the tourist thing, which meant traffic jams, expensive hotels, even more expensive food, and buying souvenirs to take home. We rode the gondola in Banff (amazing), hiked some easy trails, and drove along the ice field parkway. The scenery and the wildlife sightings were to die for.

This time was different though. I went alone. I had to completely disconnect, or I was going to be in trouble. Needless to say my plans met with resistance, but being 49 years old meant I didn’t have to ask permission. What I did have to do was check in with a family member every day to make sure I was still breathing and had not become the evening meal of a grizzly. I also called my 14 year old at night.

The first part of the trip involved a flight directly from Halifax to Edmonton. No sense wasting time lingering in airports along the way. I stayed a couple of days in the Edmonton area then went to pretty much the opposite of the Rockies, Drumheller. I had no idea that Canada had its own badlands, those places you see on the old westerns with tumbleweeds blowing by. Yes, there were tumbleweeds. Yes, it was hot and dry. And no, I didn’t go into the mouth of the worlds biggest dinosaur at the tourist bureau because I was to cheap to pay the four bucks.

Drumheller reminded me of a mini Grand Canyon. Layers of sediment and amazing views. As I went from the flat prairies I noticed the land started to change with rolling hills. Once you near Drumheller, there is an amazing view of Horse Thief Canyon that you don’t want to miss. There are also the rock formations called hodos which are interesting but were a bit underwhelming. The crowds were small, and the hiking trail even smaller. That all changed when I hit the fossil museum, which was very interesting but far too crowded. Not a place to go if you want to relax.

The campgrounds there were also really nice with lights strung between trees and a real western feel. I had been told online there were teepees available here to camp in but I couldn’t find them. I’ll be honest, I only spent a couple of days there, because the Rockies were calling. I needed that place where I could be quiet.

In a couple of days I’ll tell you about the peace I found, maybe for the first time in my life, in Kananaskis. And I forgot to mention, check out the swaying suspension walking bridge if you are in Drumheller. Lots of fun.

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