Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The hobos have crossed the border!

Well, we're officially in Canada. We also forgot to put the SD card back in the camera, so all the pictures we took in Glacier National Park and crossing the border are gone. Oops.

So last night we got into camp at a reasonable hour, but we were the only ones tent camping in the park. There was a reason for this. Glacier National Park is not a park to be trifled with. More than once we heard something outside the tent (hopefully an herbivore of some kind), saw/felt/heard something nudge the tent, and got up to go look. Does anyone actually know the correct protocol for when a bear is outside your tent? We never saw anything, but if it had been a bear, are we supposed to await our death there or try to make a run/slow walk for the car when the bear goes to the back of the tent?

Other lessons learned:
1. Don't use a tarp outside the car until you NEED it. No matter how you bungee cord, rope, tape, or otherwise adhere it to the car, it will be blowing in the wind, and that will make it tear. We have switched to trash bags.
2. Cut the rope. Yes, it's nice to have a long length when you need it, but if you leave it one long piece it becomes useless. USELESS. And the flapping end will fray and tangle with the fraying tarp and you will end up cutting it apart anyway.
3. You cannot truly appreciate a mountain park with a snowstorm coming over the mountain toward you. Glacier is stunning, but coming early to avoid the crowds may also mean avoiding the scenery as well.
4. You're ambition to hike will be diminished in a cold, gusty wind. Especially when there is also sleet. You may end up looking out the car window at the park. Check the weather before you go.
5. Tearing down a tent in sleet/wind is miserable. Especially when you have to pack it down correctly because you don't have room to just stuff it in the trunk. Check the weather before you go.
6. Put your SIM card IN the camera when you are done taking off the pictures.

This reads: Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump Interpretive Center. The people in this area would stampede buffalo off a cliff, kill the buffalo that were injured but alive, then butcher and eat all the buffalo that died. And they used this technique, and this same cliff, for at least 5,600 years. Apparently, the buffalo never figured it out. How long does it take to evolve exactly?

The killing fields. Apparently, the fall used to be a lot farther, and therefore more effective, but over the years the carcasses built up so much that the people had to kill most of the buffalo after they had been stampeded. Um, gross.

Anybody remember the movie Cool Runnings? This is where they wiped out!

I think it's nice that they've kept up the signage. Apparently this is now a really fantastic rec center (basically). You can go for real training, or you can go play on a zipline, or go down the ski runs inside large plastic balls. Crazy.

Apparently no one has told the Canadians that the American flag must be flown highest, and that there really shouldn't be a bigger flag of a different country nearby. I actually did a double take when I realized that our flag was the same size as the rest, and in the bunch with the rest. I'm not sure when I became a snooty American, but I seem to be one now. Oops.

Our playlist so far:
The Call of the Wild - Jack London
Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
In Cold Blood - Truman Capote

The rest of our audio books got screwed up on the discs so we're going to put them on an IPOD and hopefully start more Alaska stuff tomorrow!

Tonight we're at a hostel in Banff (yay real kitchen!) and tomorrow we'll enjoy some more incredible Rocky Mountain Loveliness!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on making it! I made that very same trip in 1988 and wow was it eventful. I'm glad your trip didn't have the same ... challenges ;) that ours did!

    As for the flag thing... I think you'll find that in Canada they have the same rule about the Canadian flag & UK flag, but that they couldn't give a hoot about our flag ;) I must admit though, as an American living abroad it always makes me look twice!

    Enjoy Alaska.. it's an amazing place to live as long as you get out and become part OF it!