A rolling stone may gather no moss, but it can collect photos from around the world.
Shauna Tourand, a co-owner of the Wells Gray Inn in Clearwater, B.C., 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.
She took the rock wherever she and her family travelled. She would pose the rock in front of scenery or a landmark and photograph it.
She called it “The I’ve been everywhere rock.”
A little over a year ago, they visited Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Park near Clearwater and walked to where the Murtle and Clearwater rivers meet — 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 fell out.
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 to drop it off at the Wells Gray Inn if they found it.
She heard nothing more and assumed the rock was gone for good. She was even thinking about finding one to replace it.
Then in December a Christmas card arrived, addressed to Wells Gray Inn staff.
The card had a photo of an unnamed tropical beach and swimmers.
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.
Then a few weeks ago, a small package arrived in the mail. Again it was addressed to Wells Gray Inn staff.
It was 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 travelled to the Dominican Republic (which was apparently where the tropical beach Christmas card photo was snapped).
From there the rock went to Paris and then several small towns along the French Riviera.
Other photos show the rock at Waikiki and elsewhere on Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands, in Hamilton, Ont., 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 humour. All I ask is that the next time they are in Clearwater, they drop by the Wells Gray Inn and say hello.”
Anyone who wants to contact Tourand can reach her at the Wells Gray Inn at 250-674-2214, or email email@example.com.
Keith McNeil is the editor of the Clearwater Times newspaper in Clearwater B.C.