Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Life has been the theme during our past week.  Life lost, life in the balance, ancient life, living life.   Our journey has taken us from visiting friends and family in Washington State to the top of a peak where a 530 million year old ocean once existed.  During the week’s  journey, we have celebrated renewed connection with family and friends, watched a brave woman face the precious fight for life  that modern chemo promotes, and heard of the tragic loss of a young life well- loved in a community little used to such loss.

Life.  As we settle into a fourth week of travel, we find that we celebrate each day with each other and see wonders around every corner.  We had believed that the life we lived in Gunnison was one of unparalleled beauty until we entered the Canadian Rockies.  “Awesome” seems like such an inadequate word yet we utter it constantly at every turn of the road that winds past glacier rivers and basins.

 A high point of the week was a killer hike straight up a mountain to visit the Burgess Shale Fossil Beds in Yoho National Park in British Columbia.  Jess had been a fan of the scientific work done in this ancient sea on top of a mountain since she was an undergrad and convinced Sally that the guided tour was worth the price.  After an arduous ascent, our small group stood on a mound of fossils etched into the dark, gray shale of a 530 million year old sea bed that stretched as far as the eye could behold.   Each step was centered on top of a new organism that spoke of the greatest explosion of life the earth has known with creatures of mysterious names and livelihoods, some so small that Sally peered at them with a lens and others broken pieces of organisms 6 feet long.  All were soft body experiments from a time long past with multiple eyes, strange snouts, tentacles and spikes galore living in an ocean as no life existed on land. 

While the diversity of the Burgess Shale Fossils beds may not be matched in modern times, we find a quiet excitement in each new glimpse of life we see.  Whether an American Three-toed Woodpecker, a young wolverine,a foraging black bear, a glacier ice worm, or the first orchid of the season… life abounds everywhere we look.  

Posted from Jasper National Park, Alberta.


  1. We know all too well how precious life is... Not a minute of your day can be taken for granted. It's wonderful to read your postings and we look forward to them each week. If you need a little peek at Gunni life please visit our blog site once again delaneydiamond.blogspot.com (We've kept it going since our NICU experience). Travel safe and know we're thinking of you.

    1. Jennifer -
      Indeed, you and Brandon certainly did and do know how precious and special each life is. We sent Merry a letter from Alberta today. We are missing Gunnison so will check out your blog!

  2. I would love to experience the "Awesome"