Guide to Serendipity

A guide is required for you to enter the Wolcott Quarry in Yoho National Park, ever since the British Columbia Park was designated a United Nations World Heritage Site. Although it is controlled, and you cannot keep the “Stone Bugs” that you find, the trip can be a treasured experience even if you live a sophisticated life.

Madison, my guide, moved about the tumbled rock on the trail like a nimble-footed mountain goat. She kept a brisk pace in the thinning mountain air, and she would not stop the climb unless I asked her to do that, which (of course), I would not ask her, simply because I was a guy and she was a girl. But, I did ask her questions about the stunning scenery, about the history of the park, and about Charles Wolcott, who discovered and mined the quarry of its treasure of trilobites (pre-historic anthropods) fossilized in rock.

I could not keep my eyes off of Madison, and she knew it! We were both young and single, and soon, my questions devolved into a personal nature. She answered those too. To me, Madison was – different, pretty, but not stunning, flirty, but in a mature way, rugged, and a little rough, but in an interesting way. An hour into the hike, I forgot where I was going! She was not chatty, but she did offer up, not just answering my questions. Soon, her Canadian accent became like the thrum of a hummingbird in my ear. This was my fault because I now hiked so closely behind her that I sometimes brushed up against her hiking jeans.

Curiously, she wore puttees (a gauss-like strip of cotton cloth wrapped about her ankles and the legs of her blue jeans up to mid-calf). I commented about them, to which she replied that they kept bugs from crawling up her pants legs. To that, I said, “But they have a color and look like the puttees worn by Allied Soldiers in World War I.” For the first time on our hike, Madison stopped and turned around to face me, and for the first time, she suggested that we stop hiking. “Let’s sit on that flat rock over there.” She pointed to the rock.

“This set of puttees belonged to my Great-Grandfather, who was in the Third Canadian Division,” Madison told me. “He wore them at The Battle of The Somme in World War I.” I was stunned. She explained that he had survived the war and it had become a thing with his sons and daughters to have and to wear something of his kit. The puttees were what of it that had come to her, three generations later. I wanted to know all that I could about Madison.

She insisted that I have the services of a professional guide, for which I had paid her. But, she was my guide in other ways at our campsite that night. I will only say that Madison was a talented cook, and she ran a disciplined camp. Fluent in three languages, Madison shared with me many stories she had gotten from other hiking customers, in the language of my choice. As I understood that she was a full-time guide, hiking and camping out in the Canadian Rockies all the time, I asked her how she could do that, given that she had much talent that could translate into a higher-paying city job.

“You and I are alike,” Madison told me. “You work in an American city to make money, then you come to a wild place because you want a wild experience. I live in a wild place, and make as much money as you by winning at pokerqq  and by day trading stocks, so that I can live wild out here all of the time.”