This is part of a continuing series from my travels in Canada. You can read the previous blog post here. I’m sitting at Canada’s Best Value Inn typing this blog post. My plans to visit Canada began a few months ago scrolling through Instagram and seeing photo after photo of Moraine Lake in Banff National Park. It was then that I set the intention to reach this majestic land. And now, here I am, in Calgary, about 120 miles from the famous destination! So how did I get here? You can read my blog post on Standing Rock here. I survived driving for hours through a nasty blizzard in North Dakota, until entering Montana, drove through the night and stayed at Vegas Hotel in Billings. Early the next day, I blasted out my aerial video from Standing Rock to reporters in an effort to license the rights for use on TV, online, and print media. Then I checked out and continued the journey to Glacier National Park.
I picked up a few warm supplies, including at -20° sleeping bag, at a sporting goods store next to REI, which is too expensive for my pocketbook. A friendly older gentlemen commented on my license plate "ATXMSU" outside the store and suggested I take the scenic route through Helena on my way to Missoula. I took his advice and was not disappointed. I originally intended to spend the night in Missoula but changed my mind at the advice of a friend from Austin and continued onward to Kalispell in the mountains. It wasn't before long that I decided to pull off at Big Arm State Park to set up camp, figuring I could test out this new sleeping bag in the cold weather. The temperature at this point was in the single digits. I found a sweet spot in the woods on the shore of Flathead Lake, took a few long exposure photos, and slept uncomfortably through the night. The sleeping bag is made of nylon which is not warm at the base, so my feet were freezing the whole time, even with a couple layers of socks. I must find a solution to this problem if I'm to continue camping in Canada!
I reached Glacier National Park around 2pm the next day. It was a stunningly beautiful drive on uneven roads lined with white snow-capped trees. I stopped a couple dozen times to take photos of the jaw-dropping scenery. Many people wait for the unrealistic promise of Heaven after life. What they fail to realize is that God is right here on Earth, and her name is Nature. That's why it's vitally important we preserve our beautiful national parks, as opposed to building oil and natural gas pipelines through them, as Energy Transfer Partners, the same corporation behind Dakota Access Pipeline, intends to do at Big Bend National Park. We must continue to protest against corporate greed and take the power back! These issues are only going to get worse once Donald Trump is sworn into office. I'm not looking forward to the next four years of politics. Which brings me back to the topic of Canada.
I'm legally allowed to remain in this country until January 4th, 2017, which also happens to be my 30th birthday. I was detained at Canadian Border Patrol for over an hour. They asked me a lot of prying questions about my reasons for entering Canada. The lady at customs looked into my photography business and apparently found indications that I was intending to work illegally in Calgary. Apparently my website ranks for relevant keywords, which comes as a pleasant surprise. Another guy asked to search my car without probable cause and asked for the passcode to my phone and laptop, which I reluctantly provided him. I didn't understand why any of this was necessary but continued to wait patiently in the empty room. He then proceeded to ask me more questions regarding texts I'd sent to a few friends regarding connections in Canada. I figured it would be a breeze to get through border patrol but was sorely mistaken. In fact, I'm fairly confident a few of my civil liberties were violated in the process. But there's no worrying about it now. I'm safely in Calgary, about to get a good night's sleep in a warm bed. Tomorrow morning, I will explore the city for a few hours and then make the legendary journey to Banff National Park. Have camera, will travel!
Here's a few photos from my travels so far...
If you're a fan of my work and are feeling generous, please consider donating to help fund my photographic travels in Canada. I'm not legally allowed to work here for the next month. Appreciate you taking the time to read this blog post. Check back for updates along the way...
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