Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Rocky Mountains / Golden, British Columbia, by Margaret Ullrich, part 20, Transplanting

Both robin parents are busy feeding the babies.
We watched one parent feeding and fussing over the nest.
Then the other parent, beak full of worms, came.
The parent who'd been on the nest left to find more worms.
No, I can't tell which is Mama.
They've been doing this all day.
I wonder when the babies will be able to find their own worms?

The haze is from the fires in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Yes, both provinces are having forest fires.
We're not so far away that we can't share a bit of their misery.
Our prairie provinces aren't as big as Ontario.

Forty years ago the sky was overcast.
Which, when you're driving in the unshaded prairies, is a very good thing.
We had gotten attached to Medicine Hat.
It had a quirky charm in those days.
A lot of local signs were in the shape of cowboy hats.
We thought they were cute.

We were heading into the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
The thought of driving through them was not comforting.
Just like in the movie The Long Long Trailer, Paul took the car in for a checkup.
It drizzled while we were there.
The car was fine.
STP and transmission fluid and we were good to go.
The mechanic wished us well.
Unlike the movie, there weren't any rocks stashed in the oven or under the seats.

We were starting to wonder about what we were doing.
After dangling off the car wash lot yesterday, the Rockies were beginning to look scary.
The car wash was in the middle of town.
The attendant and strangers were there and could help us.
What if something happened in the Rockies?
Was anybody else going to be driving through the Rockies? 

As we approached Calgary we could see the Rockies looming in the distance.
We were quiet during our KFC lunch in Calgary.
Maybe we should just stay in Calgary.
It might be a nice place to live in.
We didn't actually have a job lined up in Vancouver.

Then youthful bravado gave us a nudge.
We'd made it this far.
We were almost there, for Pete's sake.
We'd always wonder what it was like past the Rockies.
Years ago folks made the trip in covered wagons.
If they could do it, so could we.
We drove toward the Rockies.

By 5:00 p.m. we were entering the Rockies.
After a while we got used to them.
The TransCanada Highway was just the same.
Nice and level, with easy grades.
The mountains were a few miles away on either side.
They were just scenery.
So this was the Rockies.
Big Deal.

We paid the entrance fee to Banff Park.
We had planned to camp by Lake Louise.
Paul made a wrong turn.
Five miles the wrong way, then five miles back.
We finally arrived at the trailer park near Lake Louise.
It was full.
We went to the overflow area.
It was also full.
We drove to the tent area.
We'd do without the hookups.
Area G was full, so we left Lake Louise.
And we were worried we'd be alone in the Rockies.

Munching on potato chips, we drove to Golden.
Just like in the prairies, the sun was in our eyes.
Not like in the prairies, there were curves and elevations.

Finally we arrived at the town of Golden.
It's 163 miles west of Calgary.
As the crow flies, that's not much of a distance.
We weren't flying.
It had been seven hours since our Calgary lunch.
We didn't know where the hell we were going to camp.

We went to a pay phone to call home, so the folks wouldn't worry.
Ma said our wedding pictures had arrived.
Paul's folks were going out to Long Island.
I told Ma the Rockies were pretty and the campsite was nice.
Well, what would you tell your mother?

The KOA Trailer Park and Campground in Golden was full.
The owners took pity on us and allowed us to stay.
We paid and parked next to their office.
No hookups, but we could manage like we had in New York.

Our trailer had a gas stove and gas lights.
We used their washroom and got fresh water.
It wasn't so bad.
After a supper of macaroni and cheese, we got ready for bed.

So much for being alone in the Rockies.
We worried if we would find room at the next trailer park.

The robins are still feeding their babies.
That nest is really sturdy and able to take all the comings and goings.
The haze is making our yard smell like we're sitting by a campfire.

I wonder how the tourists are doing in the Rockies this year.
It can get pretty crowded there.
It is the height of the summer tourist season.

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