Monthly Archives: August 2010

Aug. 7 – the last few days

In Jasper before the smoke

In Jasper before the smoke

So what is it about libraries. Most of the systems across Canada have wireless access but they are so different about the way they let you use it. Some places have it broadcast to the town so anyone can take advantage, some give you a password and some don’t let you use it at all. Today I am sitting in a beautiful, new building and they will only let me use it for half an hour. Well, I can understand that if I am taking up space that someone else could use (although the place is empty)

I have my own computer, I say. Oh, she says, with you? Umm Hum says me. Ok, half an hour. She smiles. I smile. It is free, what can I say. So why am I talking about this…when I should be posting. I probably don’t have more than 20 minutes left.

Ice fields. The wind blowing off of the ice reminded me of winter. I really didn't want a lift out onto the glacier where people were wearing jackets and probably freezing.

Ice fields. The wind blowing off of the ice reminded me of winter. I really didn't want a lift out onto the glacier where people were wearing jackets and probably freezing.

I left Rocky Mountain House, which surprisingly is not so rocky and headed for Jasper. It is always amazing to me how suddenly you leave fields and farms and hit MOUNTAINS. As I drove, I marvel at the roads going through. When I fly over this area, on clear days I have my nose pressed against the window, trying to make out the roads, the chains of peaks and the valleys. I often wonder how the first map makers and road makers found the best ways to go through. I do try to pay attention to the road when I drive like that, but my mind is often in very different places.

Smoke from the hundreds of fires in BC obscured much of the view as I was passing Jasper and for the rest of the day. As I get closer to Edmonton today I can still see the haze but the acrid smell is all but gone.

Smoke from the hundreds of fires in BC obscured much of the view as I was passing Jasper and for the rest of the day. As I get closer to Edmonton today I can still see the haze but the acrid smell is all but gone.

I camped in a KOA campground last night. I have never been to one of those before and they sure have lots of services at not a bad price.  It really was like camping in a field though. The smoke hid the view that the proprietors told me was usually pretty amazing and the smell of burnt, was enough to bring tears to your eyes, depending on the wind direction.

Miette Hot Spring

Miette Hot Spring

Last year when I visited the Liard Hot Springs in Northern BC, I developed a real love for hot sulphery water.  Miette Hot Spring is almost at the north eastern edge of Jasper park and so I was passing right by it…kind of. I had to take a 18 km windy mountain road in, the speed limit was between 30 and 50km/hour. I was anticipating a remote little hot spring like Liard but that was not to be. It looked like 2 large swimming pools (with 2 hot tub sized pools with cold water in them off to the side). The parking lot was packed but the pools were not too bad. My body loved the heat. I guess I am a hot spring snob, but I would love another trip back to Liard where you really feel like you have stumbled across a secret pool.

On the road to Miette

On the road to Miette

Back on the road this morning, heading for Edmonton and then to catch a quick flight to see the grand babies in Whitehorse tomorrow, I watched the land go back to agricultural. I listened to CBC and heard again, “Being Jan.” It is a show with Jan Arden. She plays music she loves and talks to great people. She has a quirky sense of humour and if you haven’t heard it, you might like it.

Talk soon…or maybe not so soon. I will be back on the road on Aug 17 when I am heading up to the North West Territories.

Aug 3-5 Heading North

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Leaving Calgary

Leaving Calgary

I lost a day. Holly and Caroline went off to work on Tuesday and I stayed home to do some writing and work that needed to be done. When I looked up, Holly was walking through the door. I had spent a day with my nose poked into my papers and didn’t even notice a beautiful Calgary day passing. Even with all of those hours, I didn’t finish a proposal I was supposed to be doing or an article I am writing. Maybe I am just not ready to be thinking of the winter when these things will happen. Holly is great company. We spent the evening eating ice cream covered in cherry sauce and talking about dreams. The time flew. Thanks again for sisters. I enjoy having one and I sure love meeting the sisters of my friends.

The land changes drastically near Drumheller

The land changes drastically near Drumheller

Wednesday morning I headed off to Drumheller to see the home of the dinosaurs. About 20 minutes into my drive I reached into my purse for my camera and realized that it wasn’t there. I pulled over to the side of the road and dug through my stuff frantically. I really wasn’t feeling like heading back into Calgary. They sure make things small these days. It had fallen to the bottom of the waist pouch. I started breathing again and pulled back onto the road right behind two over sized trucks taking a house somewhere. The darn thing took up both lanes and the traffic moved slow. It didn’t matter, I was enjoying watching the flat land become rolling hills. I really don’t like the 100 and 110 speed limit when I am sight seeing. I would rather go slower. When I am in a hurry it is OK but I am seldom in a hurry these days.

A few of the little bones found in that land.

A few of the little bones found in that land.

I did love the Royal Tyrrell Museum with all of it exhibits of the life that came before us. As I watched parents with their children, I had a flash from the past. There was a little girl afraid to walk into the dinosaur gallery where it was dark and there were realistic sound effects. Her brother was rolling his eyes and her mother was pleading with her to reconsider. She just howled louder, stopping the whole line up. I remember trying to get Desiree to go into the Royal Ontario Museum’s dinosaur exhibit, with Christopher eagerly racing ahead. She was convinced that there were girl eating animals in there and she was not going in. I felt that mother’s pain as her son complained bitterly and her daughter screamed in terror although in the end, after the flash of nostalgia, I kept thinking how much fun it would have been to have the kids with me. My favorite part of the visit was the walk around the outside trail, seeing the land formations and where bones had been found. It pulled at the part of me that has always wanted to go on a archeological dig, although I think I may be just a bit too impatient to dig with a paint brush.

Hoo Doo country

Hoo Doo country

After that I headed down the hoo doo trail and marveled ant the other worldly rock formations. Signs everywhere warned us about the fragility of the formations but people were climbing on them anyway, driving the one museum staff on site crazy. I guess that is why Stone Henge has been fenced off and the public has to view it from a distance. It would be a shame for the Canadian Parks to do that to this area because the best viewing is done quite far away from the road. I am afraid my pictures don’t do the whole thing justice.

I'm not getting much better at taking my own picture. Missed the hoo doo completely.

I'm not getting much better at taking my own picture. Missed the hoo doo completely.

Catherine had mentioned the Rosebud theatre, so in the afternoon, I headed for Rosebud. It is a very pretty town with a theatre school and two theatres, where the students can really shine. I saw a wonderful play called “Woza Albert” , about apartheid South Africa. It was very well done, energetic and emotional. I was glad I had come. There really isn’t anything like live theater. Then I headed to the campground that had been recommended. They were an RV park. The proprietors looked Vincent up and down when I claimed he was my RV. Eventually they let me in and gave me a good price because I wouldn’t be using any of their RV facilities.  Later I found that the park was almost half empty, but they assured me that I would not have been allowed to tent there.

Breakfast visitor. We shared some oats, I ate porridge, s/he ate some dry oats that had spilled.

Breakfast visitor. We shared some oats, I ate porridge, s/he ate some dry oats that had spilled.

I left this morning and enjoyed my drive through to Rocky Mountain House. I was here in the 70’s and it has grown substantially but still seems to be a friendly town. The parking meter guy told me that with Ontario plates, none of the parking times applied to me and he gave me a coupon for some free Rocky Mountain House paraphernalia. That is great. So many towns don’t care about tourists and will ticket anyone who is in contravention of their parking bylaws.  He was was a talker and we chatted long enough that I might have saved a few people from tickets.

Talk soon.

Downtown Rocky Mountain House

Downtown Rocky Mountain House

August 2 – Calgary

All my life of longing for Cowboy/girl boots and I finally got a pair here in cowboy country. Ummm now I need a whole new wardrobe to go with them. Maybe something with fringes.

All my life of longing for Cowboy/girl boots and I finally got a pair here in cowboy country. Ummm now I need a whole new wardrobe to go with them. Maybe something with fringes.

It was really sad to leave Catherine’s place. She has taken such good care of me and we had such good times but, I was on my way to visit Holly and her family in Calgary.  The directions were easy but I managed to miss a couple of turns so saw a great deal more of the city than I anticipated. Holly said turn at the cow house, which I assumed would be a black and white house, but when I saw it, I had no doubt that I was in the right place.

Cow house

Cow house

Holly lives in a small, eccentric, little house with nooks, crannies and a welcoming attitude that seems to be at the centre of everything in town. She took me on a walking tour of the downtown area. I saw the sights and because it was a holiday, we were treated to several different street performances. I always say that I am not a “downtown” kind of person, but, once I get there, I enjoy the life that a vibrant city centre has.

Art on the Board of Education lawn

Art on the Board of Education lawn

Nellie McClung

Nellie McClung

Me with Emily Murphy, who initiated the Persons Case. Opps...did she lose her head in the upload. I can't fix that.

Me with Emily Murphy, who initiated the Persons Case.

Street Art. There is art all over the down town area. It is great to just have it peek out at you.

Street Art. There is art all over the down town area. It is great to just have it peek out at you.

There are also community gardens in many of the downtown boxes. I saw lettuce, strawberries. I wondered how they keep people from leaning over and just grabbing things as they ripened. Nice idea though.

There are also community gardens in many of the downtown boxes. I saw lettuce, strawberries. I wondered how they keep people from leaning over and just grabbing things as they ripened. Nice idea though.

Rafts on the Bow River, taken from a foot bridge over the river.

Rafts on the Bow River, taken from a foot bridge over the river.

We walked for a long time and then wound up in a great little tea house having iced tea on a back patio. The end of a perfect day. Then we took the bus home so I got to see other areas of the city.  You really see the town better with someone who really knows their way around.

Tea room patio art

Tea room patio art

Today I am staying put, taking advantage of Holly’s internet connection to get some work done. Real work, draft proposals, articles and a couple of other things. I guess I should quit playing with pictures and get to it. Tomorrow I am heading to Drumheller and hopefully will take in a play at the famous Rosebud Theatre, weather permitting. It should be good though because despite the constant talk of rain storms, the sun is out and it is beautiful. Weather predictions… can’t put much faith in them. Talk soon.

August 1 – Vincent learns a new skill

Everything in the prairie is blooming right now. I wonder why anyone needs gardens when where ever you look the land is alive with colour.

Everything in the prairie is blooming right now. I wonder why anyone needs gardens when where ever you look the land is alive with colour.

My time in Black Diamond has been non stop. Catherine and Dwight have taken me to see everything that we could possibly fit into 3 days. We have been to art gallery’s, farmers markets, out to new restaurants and to dinner. We didn’t stop very often or very long. What generous hosts. We even took the back roads through the foot hills and to Banff. What a drastic change in scenery.

On the road to Banff

On the road to Banff

Banff Village crowded on a long summer weekend

Banff Village crowded on a long summer weekend

The way home. Hard to believe that an hour of driving can make that much of a change in the view.

The way home. Hard to believe that an hour of driving can make that much of a change in the view.

Through all of this driving, Vincent has spent his days sitting in the drive way so today we to0k him out for a little fun and let him ford the local river. He was tickled.

Vincent cooling his feet

Vincent cooling his feet

The river as we drove through

The river as we drove through

A definate highlight of the trip

A definate highlight of the trip

I am leaving for Calgary tomorrow but I will miss the laughs and hospitality I have found in foothill country.

Holiday Monday fun as the band does Johnny Cash and June Carter in Okotos town centre.

Holiday Monday fun as the band does Johnny Cash and June Carter in Okotos town centre.

Banff buddies on the road. These guys don't seem to understand roads and traffic. Luckily people are so thrilled to see them that they stop and snap pics as these guys wander down the roads

Banff buddies on the road. These guys don't seem to understand roads and traffic. Luckily people are so thrilled to see them that they stop and snap pics as these guys wander down the roads

Something else by the road side

Something else by the road side