Saturday, June 14, 2008

From Atlantic to Pacific

At long last, I have returned from my trip between the "two great oceans of the world." After traveling some 4229.4 miles, I visited every major city in Canada along with a few smaller ones as well.

Except for 250 miles traveled by car between Edmonton, Calgary, and Banff, the entire trip was by train. Along the way, I was snowed on in the valleys of western Alberta and rained on in the rain forest of British Columbia. Our train passed muskegs too numerous to count and through cuts of some of the oldest rock on the continent.

The journey across this mighty land revealed a people diverse and proud. From the seafaring Nova Scotians to the lumberjacks of the West, Canada stretches across an area second only to Russia in overall size. And it was the railroad that kept it together.

Our train passed through communities whose only connection to the rest of the Dominion and indeed the rest of the planet lies in the spikes and ties of the Railway. For most of the trip through the pine forests of western Ontario, no humans were to be spotted from the windows of our carriages. With a land area greater than that of the United States, Canada contains only one tenth of the population. Most of that, according to humorists Will and Ian Ferguson, is located near the "U.S. border, where they huddle together for warmth." It is no coincidence that this population pattern follows the railway.

It is, as explorer William Butler once remarked, "the great lone land." The Canadian spent almost 24 hours crossing the Canadian Shield alone. Even after traveling for almost 2000 miles west of Toronto (to Edmonton), the Rockies are still below the horizon.

Of course, there is much, much more to tell about my long trek across the wilds (and civils) of Canada; and I will fill in the details. It is a busy time for me however. I start a new job on Monday and I'm looking for housing*. But fear not, I will update you as soon as I can. Thanks for reading.

*So if any of you know of any four bedroom houses for rent within a 10 minute walk of a Metro station, preferably along the Green Line or in Eastern Market/Capitol Hill sections of DC, please let me know.

1 comment:

kenf said...

Hey Matt, welcome back!