We’ve all heard the saying, “A rolling stone gathers no moss.” However, at least one particular stone seems to have gathered a lot of photographs from all over the world – and there appears to be a Red Deer connection.
Shauna Tourand, a co-owner of the Wells Gray Inn in Clearwater, was upset last September when she lost a small, heart-shaped rock that her daughter, Kari Daoust, had given her three or four years earlier.
“She likes rocks and she knows I like hearts. So when she found a heart-shaped rock while she was in Mexico, she gave it to me,” said Tourand.
The Clearwater woman got in the habit of taking the rock with her whenever she and her family went traveling anywhere. She would pose the rock in front of some scenery or landmark and then photograph it to create a souvenir.
She had no special name for the rock. She just called it, “The I’ve been everywhere rock.”
A little over a year ago they visited Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Park near Clearwater. They walked down to where the Murtle and Clearwater rivers meet – about a 45-minute hike. She put the rock on a stump to take a photo of the confluence, then put it back in her pocket – except it apparently fell on the ground instead.
When they got back to the parking lot they realized the rock was missing. A small group of tourists were heading down the trail. Tourand showed them the picture of the rock on her digital camera and asked them to look out for it. She asked them that, if they did find it, they drop it off at the Wells Gray Inn on their way through town.
As Tourand recalls, the group consisted of a man and a woman, plus two teens, possibly a boy and a girl.
She heard nothing more from them and assumed the rock was gone for good. She was even thinking about how she would find another rock to replace the one she had lost.
Then in December a Christmas card arrived, addressed to Wells Gray Inn staff. The card had a photo of an unnamed tropical beach with surf coming in and swimmers in the water. In the foreground, resting in the white sand, was the missing rock.
The message on the card said, in effect, “Having a wonderful time. Wish you were here,” and was signed “RocksAnne.” There was no hint of who had sent it or where it had come from.
The card was so unexpected that Tourand admits it took her a while to realize that the rock was, in fact, the one she was missing.
There the mystery remained until about three weeks ago. Then a small package arrived in the mail. Again it was addressed to Wells Gray Inn staff. It had been postmarked Red Deer, Alberta, on July 24.
Inside the package was the rock, now called RocksAnne. There was a second heart-shaped rock as well one (a boyfriend?) named Rocky.
With the rocks was a journal, and inside the journal were about 20 photographs of scenes from around the world, with RocksAnne featured in the foreground in nearly all of them.
The series began with RocksAnne in Vancouver, then in Whistler. After that she traveled to the Dominican Republic (which was apparently where the tropical beach Christmas card photo was snapped).
From there the rock traveled to Paris, France, and then several small towns along the Riviera coast.
Other photos show the rock at Waikiki and elsewhere on Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands, in Hamilton, Ontario, and in Calgary.
The photos were on the left hand pages of the journal while the right hand pages carried written entries describing RocksAnne’s adventures during her travels.
“I would really like to meet whoever’s responsible for this,” said Tourand. “They obviously have a sense of humor. All I ask is that the next time they are in Clearwater they drop by the hotel and say hello.”