Constant happiness is curiosity. Alice Munro.

Devoid of many unnecessary things, objects, items, I keep on going, dragging the sun in my panniers, absorbing, gathering new afterimages of warm, utter astonishment. Are there really the same places I visited two years ago? The same people who chased me out of the tent into the woods, and now greet, smile, give fruits, reassure, wish a good day? And what about me? Did I change my identity? Did I switch my own personality with someone else? Maybe, if you want to get rid of what ‘s bothering you, you do not have to go to a different place, but you yourself have to turn out to be different.

In the evening, I arrive to a small village, although it could be said, it wasn’t even a village, but just a few houses, scattered carelessly on the road. The small building at which I put up my tent, stood as if nothing happened, still beautifully reflected in the water, as if nothing passed here for the last two years, as if I was here yesterday, or not even moved out of this place, just sat on the grass and ate another slice of gummy bread, with a too thick layer of peanut butter.

So there I sat, ate, and took some pictures, waiting for a meeting with another approaching amazement. That evening I didn’t put up my tent outside the blue building, which I was about to do. Before I came to it, I met Chris, a tall, thin mechanic, who invited me to his house in the backyard. Comfortable bed, food and drinks, and in the morning – an offer to go to the big top of the nearby mountain, from where I jumped straight into the sky. Well, so it happened, for a moment I finally became a bird that was watching the sun from above, or maybe it was the sun, spilled out of my panniers, yet before nightfall phenomenally shone, and filled not only the yard, but the whole area, the whole province, the whole Canada!

Jules Barbey D’Aurevilly in Les Diaboliques saysHappy men are grave. They carry their happiness cautiously, as they would a glass filled to the brim which the slightest movement could cause to spill over, or break’

Maybe I should not, because it is frivolous or inappropriate in relation to those who can’t do the same, or are not here, but somewhere else, but I don’t want to be grave, I don’t want to be cautious, I’m happy, happy as Larry, like a madman, like an idiot, like a child.

I am a complete child, and nothing more. My stature and my face may suggest that I am a grown-up person, but my mental level, my soul, my character, and maybe even my mind, do not let me fall into adults category and I will remain so, even if I lived sixty years. F. Dostoyevsky

I’m already in Vancouver, where I rested for a while in the house of immensely hospitable Mr and Mrs Rowińscy, whom I thank for their help and time spent together. Tomorrow I’ll be back in the U.S., heading south, behind the horizon, with a little rumpled, vague, but still vivid and overwhelming impression that if I go still ahead for a long, long time, then I’ll reach the line, where the sky meets the earth, and there I will find a solution to the whole puzzle.


A few days ago, when I was about to put up my tent in a ditch, I noticed some rusting barracks and two cars parked next to them. I came closer to ask if I could stay nearby for the night. Strange as it might seem, the barracks turned out to be temporary dwellings for some professional
mushroom pickers. Or, writing more precisely: pickers a particular species of mushroom, pine mushroom, with its Latin name Tricholoma matsutake, sold mainly for Japanese consumers, who pay for it better than for gold. 

In mid-August, an empty clearing west of Smithers, turns into a camp where you can find a well- stocked shop, brokers, who pay in stock for mushrooms, a warm café and some Port-a-Potties, or, for American readers: Port-a-Johns.

– We are the dinosaurs – says Steve putting more timber to camp-fire, lit despite increasingly whipping rain. – Our friends think we’re loony. Instead of going on holiday to Hawaii, or Mexico, we come here to collect mushrooms. But we like it, we have been here for twenty years, but actually, we are here not to pick mushrooms, it is not the main reason. We gather here just for the sake of being together, taking a walk in the woods, talking, sitting together by the fire, even in this bloody rain. This is the main reason why we are here – to light a campfire in the evening and to enjoy a warm cup of coffee in the morning. Life is about appreciating little things. Then, big things come more often.

Stew is angry. He made only two thousand dollars, while Steve nearly ten. Just by walking through the woods, looking below old, rotten trees, remembering absent friends.

– It’s because of your bloody glasses, your steamed up glasses. They steam up and you can not see anything, and when you rub them, someone snatches mushrooms from under your nose. Did you see how many young buggers come to the woods? They walk more, they are not as lazy as we are, and they may pick up more stuff.

– Bears? – Steve seems to be surprised by my question – How many people have you heard of that were killed or eaten by a bear? In recent years in Canada – maybe a dozen. And most of these cases took place during hunting. Because bears have a nose, I tell you, they hear a shot and they go to the meat. Hunter cut corners off, or cut tastier morsels and does not even notice how black or grizzly stands over him and then even the rifle is useless. I’m telling you, bears hear the shot and then something happens in their heads, and instead of running away – they go after the meat, and they are, after all, herbivorous creatures, gentle as lambs, until they here the shot. Then something fucks up in their heads. So no, we are not afraid of walking in the woods, anyway, when you make a lot of noise, they will not approach you. We have never had any accidents here. Once we had an accident with a moose, but this is a different matter, because a moose was just screwing a female moose and one careless bugger interupted them, and then there is not a trifle, moose screws only once a year. Why do you think males have such sad faces? If you had a woman once a year, you would look like the same. So be careful now because mating season started and mooses heads are also fucked up, blame hypothalamus, if you can, and it’s better for you not to see a moose in action or to be somewhere nearby.

Somehow they didn’t convince me to go for fresh, early morning mushroom picking, but I took an invitatin to be taken to the city. After completing food supplies for the next few days I went to Prince George. Lots of warm meetings, good words for the road, nice weather, as if it wasn’t the same part of the country I visited two years before.

Kind of the same, but every day seems to be different; I see other faces, meet various people, seeing things that I didn’t see before, or maybe I did not want to see them because I was too busy with myself, with my own thoughts, too self-centered and not really open to the others.

It’s not that just only places, visited again, show us earlier unseen or unconscious images and meanings. When you peer into yourself, there is always something remaining to be found.

wesoły poranek

Stewart-Cassiar Highway


The man who is on the road is still bestowed. While he undergoes lots of attempts to struggle with the temptation of the apostles and in many spots he would like to put up his tent on a permanent basis. But ultimately he knows that everything that creator and nature shows him is a free gift. And all these things and possessions do not belong to anyone, and he must not seize them, because the price he would pay for it, would be the loss of freedom. Kazimerz Mrówka

Iskut. Stewart-Cassiar Highway. I’m sitting at a table in a separate part of the store dedicated to consuming bought-in-the-shop products. A scent of coffee and hot sausages permeates the air. I can not afford a hot dog here, it is nearly half of my daily budget, but I can make my own – there is still a lot of bread and half a kilo of sausages in the panniers (producer wrote that the sausages are made of chicken, with a trace of scraps of other animals). I buy a cup of coffee and ask if I could sit and eat my own stocks. Saleswoman seems to be very confused at first, but finally says that perhaps yes, but she has to call the boss and ask him.

I don’t know what the boss said, but I sat down near a very serious-looking man and started eating my sandwich. It could have happened that I was staring too intensely, or perhaps not in a way I should have, or maybe a man took something into his head, but at some point he said:

– Normally I do not eat like a barbarian, but here they do not have cutlery.

At first, I did not understand, but apparently he meant that he ate a chicken leg with his hands.

– Oh, no, I do not think that you’re eating like a barbarian. I was just looking at you because I wondered that you could come here easily with guns, because I’ve seen signs saying that in British Columbia it is forbidden.

– I ‘m from Oklahoma. I was on the hunt and did not have time to get changed, anyway, what I am, criminal, or what? Is that your bike outside? Yes? Watch out for bears and do not take antlers from the road.

I said that I have a bear-spray and that I see a few bears every day, especially in the evenings. A man stopped eating for a moment.

– If I were you I would not trust this bear-sprey, because with a grizzly you would have to use three of them. And with blacks you will have to fight anyway.

I’m saying that two years ago I saw a mom with two small cubs.

– Oh, so you were damn lucky – he says. – She must have been fed, and you did not look as a tasty prey. It would be best for you to carry a gun. Here you do not buy it, but when you get to Stewart, there is a twin town Hyder, Alaska, and there you may buy a small Colt. Oh, and do not take antlers from the road.

Two years ago, a Japanese cyclist rode with antlers he collected from the road and some road hunters spotted him (ie those that do not want to get into forest to look for the pray, they just go on the way in their jeeps sipping beer, and smoking joints, watching for moose on the road, and when they see the moose they shoot). So, once those road hunters took the rider as a moose and shot him. I think that even if I found the antlers, it still would not carry them on the bike. As for the Colt, I said, that I would think about it.

In the United States there are 270 million pistols, rifles and carbines in the hands of civilians. Americans represent 5 % of the population of the globe, and have at their disposal 40% of civilian firearms. M. Wałkuski

There are many reasons why Americans are so attached to the weapons. Apart from practical considerations, an admiration for shooting and some cultural factors, weapons and the right to its possession are also associated with American values ​​- above all, equality. [ … ] The American ideal of equality was reflected in the archetype of the hero of the Wild West – cowboy. Unlike European knight or Japanese samurai, cowboy is not the representative of the upper class, but an ordinary American with a Colt – a gun that has been known as “great Equalizer ” and became a symbol of equality. [ … ] As the inhabitants of the Wild West would say: ” God created a man but Colonel Samuel Colt introduced the equality”.

The weapon is also an element of American individualism. Since the beginning of the country, Americans have to rely on themselves and this tradition has survived to this day – especially in the provinces. People living there do not trust the government and are happy to take matters into their own hands, including safety issues. The use of weapons against a person who commits or intends to commit a serious crime, is legal in all 50 states. Everywhere a citizen may arrest the offender caught red-handed, or fleeing from the scene. [ … ]

Another states introduce a “castle doctrine” which says that in his home (also in the yard, in the car or in the office), the citizen is covered by special protection against attack and can kill the intruder, when he only has a “reasonable belief” (” reasonable suspicion ” is not enough) that the attacker intends to cause death or serious injury to persons residing in a particular place. This is a pretty loose standard, almost always leading to the acquittal of someone who shot a burglar. What’s more, in some states, the person staying in your home can kill anyone who barged into the premises, and does not even have to prove that feared for their safety. M. Wałkuski

In Mezidian Junction I put up my tent near the barracks of road workers, and in the morning I got a huge portion of breakfast – bacon, eggs, toast, fruit and plastic bag to eat on the way. It is difficult to express the gratitude, especially after a long day of cycling, in more and more winter conditions.

I got to Hyder, but did not buy a weapon. I’m going with a bear-spray instead, with hope that bears won’t eat me. I’m too skinny:) 

Stewart-Cassiar (15)