Due North

When winter failed to materialize in the American West, Kael Martin, Harry Kearney and Colin Wiseman pointed it north toward a land known as much for its blue-collar economy as its lightly traveled mountains. From Powder King, BC to Alberta’s Icefields Parkway, the trio finds small-town Canadian culture and, eventually, glaciated payoff in some of Canada’s lesser-known alpine environs.

Words: Colin Wiseman.

“Have you guys been smoking any dope?” the officer asked.

He had a hint of a smile and seemed eager to engage some out-of-towners in a little light banter. I’m not sure he truly believed we’d done anything wrong. Policing this tiny blip on the map in rural British Columbia must get a little slow at times. He said he’d pulled us over because I hadn’t slowed down to 50 kph quite fast enough when I came into town.

“No sir,” I replied. “We’re just driving up to Prince George.”

“I thought I could smell a little dope,” he said. “But then again, it could be any of these houses around here. Prince George, eh? You know what’s going on up there, right?”

Indeed we did. The Canada Winter Games were the talk of the two-lane artery to British Columbia’s north known as Highway 1. The border guard at the Abbotsford crossing had given us a bit of grief, suggesting that maybe my two companions, Harry Kearney and Kael Martin, were planning to compete in the Games – although we weren’t sure how or why, as both are American citizens and don’t really do the competition thing…

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