“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
John F. Kennedy
In order not to dwell on my last encounter with a grumpy hunter I have decided to honor some fellows that helped me and others along the Divide. Their kindness and action have made this trip exceptional. We call these folks trail angels. Usually you don’t notice them, but in moments of need they magically appear.
I met Greg on my first day of riding. I was still a greenhorn then. Out of logistic reasons I had decided to park my van in Canmore, incidentally at a car dealership, but that’s another story.
If you have ever been to Canmore you may be familiar with the steep, dusty gravel road that goes up to Spray Lake. It’s a beast.
Well, the day I started my adventure we also had massive smoke and ash falling from the sky, which did not lend itself to a healthy riding experience. The road was so steep that I had to push the bike. Remember, this is day one. My legs are out of shape, the bike is fully loaded and I have no clue how to ride gravel roads on a recumbent with skinny tires. I have a handkerchief in front of my nose, cars are zooming by, dust and smoke make for an eerie atmosphere.
Out of the gray plume comes a red pickup truck. The truck is going downhill while I am struggling uphill. At the next pullout the truck comes to a stop. A few moments later I hear a voice:
“You need a lift?”
I stop and begin to think. Slowly. This is day one. I want to ride 2700 miles and I catch a ride at mile 3? Then again, I rode this part already yesterday on my mountain bike. There is no need for misguided pride here. And the conditions are really awful.
I accept. On the short ride up I learn that Greg is visiting the area and owns a bike ship in Saskatoon. Aha. He can relate to fellow bikers. Nevertheless it takes a special kind of consideration to stop what you are doing and reach out to a complete stranger. That’s what trail angels do.