Firstly: I'd like to apologize for not posting until now. It has been a crazy, but rewarding beginning to our trip. We are just now getting settled into our routine, as crazy of a routine as it is proving to be!
Secondly: Wow, what a start! After five nearly 24 hour days of collective walking, we have covered over 300 km through beautiful and widely diverse terrain. It's tough to know where to start writing about our experience so far - it feels like we have been on the road for a month! So I may just begin by outlining exactly what Crossroads does, and move into how we are doing.
Many of you are probably wondering - how does this Crossroads operation work? 24/5?! Do you guys walk the whole thing?! Yes and no. As a group - collectively - we will be walking all the way from Vancouver to Quebec City. Individually, we will be walking probably anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 of the entire distance. This isn't because we are weak and only somewhat care about the cause - but merely for the fact that we have time constraints. It would take us more than twice as long to all walk the entire distance - which would make our mission at least a 6 month operation. As college students, this isn't exactly feasible. Furthermore, our mission isn't for selfish reasons - ie. being able to boast at parties that we walked the entire country, or to achieve the best suntan possible. Rather, we are walking to witness to the pro-life cause. This is done just as effectively with our walk being done in rotating shifts, as there is nearly always someone on the road, witnessing to the cause.
With that sorted out, let me inform you of how we organize the walk itself. Firstly, the team is divided into two groups every week: day shift and the (in?)famous night shift. Each shift aims to cover about 50 kms a shift, totalling 100 km over a 24 hour period. When one group is walking, the other is resting or sleeping. The transitioning point between the shifts is daily Mass in the weekday morning - if it is available remotely near where we are camped out or walking. This is an important time for our team, as it is one of the few times during the weekdays that the day and night shifters can see each other, catch up, and have a bit of team-building, before the shifts move off to either the road or bed. It is great that the team is able to recoup and regather around the Mass, which emphasizes our community of shared faith.
As far as our walk itself, our team has so far covered nearly 400 km over the first week, which I am very impressed with considering the fact that none of us are used to 25 km of daily walking! We have been relaxing with an incredibly generous host family - the Ziebarths - in beautiful Summerland, BC. (They live right beside one of the oldest vineyards in the province!) We are currently speaking at parishes in the Okanagan region this weekend. While we are all physically and mentally exhausted after our first week, it has been extremely rewarding. One of the most uplifting things in our first week on the road so far has been the support and kindness we receive at the churches we attend and speak at. During our training in Vancouver, the team got especially close to the parishoners at St. Clare of Assisi parish in Coquitlam, BC (a suburb of Vancouver). The priest, Fr. Craig Scott, was incredibly accomodating and supporting, inviting the entire team down for coffee after every morning Mass! It was our experience at this parish where our patron saint for the trip - St. Clare of Assisi - was chosen. We were informed by the parishoners here that St. Clare's feast day is on August 11 - the exact day we will be concluding our walk in Ottawa on Parliament Hill! Being the first parish we visited as a full team, it only made sense to choose St. Clare as our patron, as her namesake both commences and concludes our trip.
The hospitality has followed us down the road. We visited a gorgeous little parish in beautiful Hope, BC for two days, and were welcomed with much support there. I have to say a few words about Hope itself - as the scenery surrounding the town is incredible, even by BC standards. Lush green, with the mighty Fraser River running through the town, and surrounded by impossibly steep mountains, I felt like I had stepped into a fantasy movie. For those Stallone fans, it might also be remembered as the town where Rambo: First Blood was filmed. To the delight of the male contingent (all Rambo fans!) present on the trip, we were delighted to find that our campground was located right adjacent to the bridge where the opening bridge scene of the film was shot! It was a nice little treat for us movie buffs, despite the fact that Rambo might not be the most ideal role model for our cause (though he certainly wasn't apathetic about his beliefs, so we can respect that!)
There is so much more to inform you all of, particularly regarding our walking itself, and the varying backgrounds of our team members, so I will be posting more as soon as I have a chance. Stay tuned for picture updates as well.
In the meantime, I have also been posting semi-regularly on Twitter for the walk, as it is easier and faster to do on the road from my smartphone, and I don't need to find a WIFI signal and a power outlet for my laptop in order to post. So, if you want to check out our Twitter, you can find it at this address: https://twitter.com/#!/CA_Crossroads. You don't need to sign up in order to see our posts, but make sure to check back regularly to see our updates. You can also like our page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CrossroadsCanada
Please inform any of your friends or family of this blog address as well. All team members who wish to blog will be doing so here, so expect many more posts and pictures from myself and others!
Please also keep us in your prayers! We will keep you, and all the unborn in our many prayers on the walk as well, and you can forward us any prayer requests, which we will make sure to pray for as we walk.