The pursuit of happiness

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I dreamed of going to Canada since I was a five-year old boy. One of my uncles had a book about life in the Canadian Wilderness during 1910- 1920, which was full of pictures. I then believed, and sometimes still believe today, that this would be the kind of life to make me happy.

This year, I wanted to go west. I was fortunate enough to bring my twelve year old daughter Dorothee. with me, and we were both eager. Three weeks later however something was still missing the real wilderness. We had fled from the masses of people in Jasper and Banff. Lake O’Hara was rather crowded, too, and when we arrived at Golden, we were wondering about finding a ranch from the tourists’ major routes. And we found it. It was going to be the climax of out four-week Canada trip. We were prepared to find some tough guys out there in the mountains, but we met the nicest persons. We were also prepared for mud and dirt, and log huts. We were welcomed again as if we belonged to the family. This family-like feeling came up again the other days when we all had breakfast and dinner together at the long table. Patrick kindled a big fire for us, and they gave us a very personal introduction to the area and to our horses. The next morning, Joanna introduced us to Western-style riding. And we tested our capabilities near the ranch. The following day, Mel took us up to Eldorado.

It was on our way back when it happened. We had stopped in the woods, and again higher up on the meadows. When we had reached the top, the sun had come through the clouds, and we sat there silently for a long time looking out and trying to tell rocks and shadows from Goats and Grizzlies. The horses waited patiently. When we returned, it was late afternoon. Below us, the immense forests were rolling down to distant lakes, and up again to the other side of the valleys where the mountain tops were covered with snow. A wave of happiness suddenly surged through me, and I was glad Dorothee was there to. I knew that this was one of those precious moments in life when one is close to what one is living for: the pursuit of happiness. I want more of it! And longer.

Rolf and Dorothee, Wiesbaden, Germany.