The sign said Sulphur Lake, what a strange name. It was almost 12:00 noon and I saw another ascent. I decided to stop. The lake wasn’t pretty. The remains of a fire and filth on the muddy shore. I picked up some beer cans and put them in my trash bag.
Irritable (and hungry) I complained: these people are pigs!
Here on the map, Sulphur Lake (Yukon, Canada) very close to Kluane Lake and the glaciers of the National Park with the same name.
I arranged some stones to sit on and began to cook. I was almost finished eating when a family in a minivan came down off the highway. It was a family. Two women, a man and 4 children.
I waved and they waved back. By the time they were set up I was already finishing washing the lunch dishes.The children ran off to a trail alongside the edge of the lake and the adults came over, all curious.
They asked me where I was coming from, where I was going, “Oh!” “Why?” “Alone?”I wanted to know a little about them. They were there because of a national holiday, the only one in the bimester. The children were working on a fiction film project and the lake was the perfect background. The father, Tom, went down the trail and I continued talking with the mother, Maureen.
We exchanged contact information, we said goodbye and she went to sit and read a book.
The pair of swans that were my only companions at Sulphur Lake until Maureen’s family arrived.
I was finishing arranging the things on my bike and getting ready to leave when I felt a touch on my shoulder. It was Maureen, visibly emotional. I asked if she was ok and she answered by holding out her hand:“I want to give you this.”
I took what was in her hand. It was a Canadian $20 dollar bill.
I looked at her, confused, half asking why and half smiling. “It’s all I have in my purse, sorry, I wanted to give you more… I want you to eat a good dinner today.”
Kluane Lake, a little before arriving at Sulphur Lake. Wind, wind and more wind!
"Are you sure? It’s welcome but you don’t need to give me money…”
“I want to thank you… You’ve inspired me… your story… I’d forgotten some of my plans… Thank you!”
I don’t know what it was that touched Maureen, I don’t know what she was going through, I don’t know what had moved her so much but I was also touched. Not by the money, for she gave me much more than $20.00, she filled me with emotion! She pushed me that afternoon! I left there emotional, thinking. I thought about her during the following days, too… perhaps she doesn’t realize, but with that gesture we connected, forever! She became part of my highway.
Thinking of Maureen and what had connected us “pushed” me on the next kilometers. It was special having had contact with all her feelings, afterwards I thought about if she’d talked more with me, if I’d asked more. I wanted to ask her if she was happy and what made her happy…I’ll do this the next time I have a chance…