The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Thursday, June 14, 2012

In Southwestern Alberta, Canada

I came up from Yellowstone Park through western Montana. It was a beautiful ride. In my opinion, that part of Montana is much more pretty than the more popular Colorado.  Odysseus and I had the road mostly to ourselves, just the two of us buzzing along with very few towns or cars. Lots of mule deer, though, crossing the highway in twos and threes.

There were many lakes, and vast forests of trees: firs and pines and hemlocks, nodding their heads in the wind; and birch trees and willows along the rivers, and cottonwoods spitting out silky puffs of seeds.

I asked about the crops. They grow timothy hay to feed their cattle, and some wheat, only ankle high now, and that is about it. I stopped for lunch where they were selling huckleberry pie. Hucleberries grow wild, and the kids go out and pick them in buckets, and then sell them to the restaurants. I thought they looked and tasted like blueberries, but I was assured they were not the same.

I had planned to stay in Glacier National Park and then ride the Going to the Sun Highway, but it was raining buckets and snowing in the upper elevations. The Going to the Sun Highway is stilll not open. It is covered with feet and feet of snow which they are working hard to clear.

So Odysseus and I rode around the southern edge of the park and crossed over into Alberta. Not because I was finally in Canada, but rather because of the weather that had followed me up from Montana, I rode in my heated jacket. It felt good. But it was the wind more than the temperature that bothered me. It was crosswise and buffeting, often gusting, the weather report said, to 45 miles an hour. I hate being blown all around the highway and having to fight to stay upright.

I stayed the night in Waterton National Park. It was beautiful. The lake, they tell me, is full of fish just begging to be caught.

The morning dawned bright and clear, still windy, but not as bad as yesterday. I am in a little pastry shop eating scones and drinking coffee as I write this. When I leave, I turn west and cross the mountains into British Columbia.  More later.