Fun-loving, Smart, Strong-minded, Soft-hearted

Chris Sprague

I’ve known Ulrike since high school in the 1970s.  She was smart, vibrant, fun to be with and wise enough to see trouble and steer clear of it.

As teenagers, did we hitch-hike with our friend Martin 160 km to go camping at Killbear Provincial Park, after telling our parents we were bussing to Wasaga Beach?   Um…..maybe

Did Ulrike and I climb the fence after hours to get the hot tub running at our Louisiana campground so we could drink some Gentleman Jack whiskey in the midnight hot tub bubbles?   Uh…probably

I’ll never forget the time in the 90s that we were picked up on Vancouver Island by some guys who needed an adult to ride in the box with their lively kids.  Ulrike happily shared the truck box with our bikes, the kids, the kids’ candy (which they shared freely with her), the laundry and some paint cans, as we roared north on the Island Highway.   She had a blast with the kids, and ended the ride excited with shining eyes.  This, after we had bailed on another ride, because she did not feel safe.

She was so fun to travel with because she was always up for new experiences.  We transformed a cycling trip on Vancouver Island into a hitch-hiking, cycling trip on Haida Gwaii.   We rode our bikes out a dirt road in the rainforest to Rose Spit, and, of course, made sure to stop in at The Path, an off-the-grid cocktail bar and restaurant on the way.

Her care and empathy for people in need sets an example for us all.   We once encountered a man who was about to jump off of one of Vancouver’s bridges.  No way could Ulrike ride past him.  We talked him down and into a coffee shop, where Ulrike disappeared into a locked washroom with this stranger for 20 minutes, scaring me, of course.  She managed to soothe him, and we got him as much help as he would take…Ulrike’s brown eyes pouring out care, worry and sympathy.

This empathy continues on with the donation of her condo and her savings to help women and girls in need.

I’ll so sadly miss cycling through Vancouver’s streets with her, on our way to a cinnamon bun or some gin tasting.   I’ll miss hearing of her fun-filled travels.

Ulrike set a fantastic example for us by stepping lightly and with purpose on the earth while she made her community better and enjoyed life.  I’m so grateful for the multitude of blogs and photos to help us remember her beautiful smile and adventurous spirit.