[Apologies for our intermittent postings; wifi is tough in the Canadian Rockies!]
It has been a full couple of days. Sherry showed us around beautiful Sandpoint: Gorgeous lakes, big sky, cumulus clouds, adorable downtown. Sherry is president of the Community Action League, which, among other things, runs Bizarre Bazaar, an upscale resale shop. Dudley walked out with a new piece of resort wear. Laura bought a cute sweater. We had lunch at a floating restaurant (really! It is perched on the water and bobs about as you eat.)
Later in the afternoon, another Coastsider group drove up in their camper rig, and the 5 of us had a delightful evening of cocktails, dinner, laughter, and watching a herd of quail cruise the street.
We had a terrific stay in Idaho, but it was time to visit our friendly neighbors to the north!
It was a long driving day and always a little tense because we need to find a campsite. We keep murmuring something to each other about “it’s the journey,” but sometimes that platitude doesn’t work well at 3pm after 6.5 hours of driving.
Success was finally had and we found a good site at Waterfowl Lake on the Icefield Parkway. We may stay a few days. The Canadian Rockies are unreal: glaciers, cerulean lakes, mountain peaks that rise straight up from the valley floor. Today’s hike to Helen Lake had a wildflower show that was riotous; we have never seen anything like it. Columbines, Indian Paintbrush, purple daisies, white yarrow. No animal life so far, but a couple of hoary marmots. We hear that much of the bear population has left the vicinity, as it was blisteringly hot during May and June and they emerged early, ate berries, and left. The weather is to be expected: fairly clear in the morning, clouds gathering in the late morning and afternoon, and threats of rain from 3pm onward. It rained last night, but we were safe and happy in our cozy van. We are glad not to have the 89 degrees that covered the area the last couple of weeks.
A few tidbits we have learned from the Canadians we have talked with:
*Alberta is the youngest province in the area. Average age is 36! (Alberta has a tremendous amount of oil and young people are flocking to make money from it.)
*Canadians are well-equipped for hiking. Huge packs with who knows what inside, bear spray, poles, adventure pants, loads of camera equipment. We felt slightly unprepared and intimidated while suiting up in the trail head parking lot, Dudley in his Thailand resortwear and Laura in her running shoes. What are we thinking?!
*Canadians are funny. To wit, a joke about hikers’ use of bear bells (on some trails, it is by law that hiking groups must be in groups of 4 and carry bear spray/make noise to dissuade bears):
“What’s the difference between grizzly and black bear scat?”
“I don’t know. What?”
“Grizzly bear scat has bear bells in it.”
Bon soir from Canada!