Before I catch everyone up with our day, I want to talk a little bit more about my neighborhood. I will end with Earl, Jackie and Jeffrey who took their awesomeness to a whole other level today. But first, let me catch you up with the neighborhood gossip.
Here in loop E things were given a bit of a jolt when the men’s bathroom (a mere ten feet away and closer than any cluster of trees) was suddenly closed “until further notice.” On the plus side I was given the chance to branch away from my neighborhood and make new friends. However, the other loops tended to have more RVs and friends were harder to make. I did find out that the bathroom closest to the entrance (the A loop) was nicer than my bathroom at home. It had corian or some type of granite counter tops, newer tile work, and more stalls than the bathroom closest to mine. It also was hardly used since it was in the midst of RVs. Despite the longer walk, I was actually quite pleased with my discovery.
The next day an official Ford Transit pulled up to the closed bathroom and sat for a while eyeing the locked door. Then one teenager got out, unlocked the door, and immediately walked back to the car. One by one, three other teenagers did the same only to return back to the car. Then the Transit drove off. Later, upon returning from the nice bathroom I saw the Transit parked. I asked the kids what the heck was wrong with my bathroom. He told me and later a group of kids descended on the bathroom with mops.
Other goings on included two very large tee-pees put together in the C loop with the red cross label on one. Very long poles were brought in on a trailer and at least eight persons put together the one we saw being built. A very large group of kids and adults hung out by the tee-pee the four days we stayed at Waterton. There was also a very large, extended Indian family camping across from us for most of our stay. They ate a lot of food, laughed, and rode bikes throughout the campground. We never got to know them, but I wish we did. We did meet the owners of the unusual pop-up that I posted a picture of a couple of days ago. They were a very nice couple, maybe in their 50s from France (him) and Switzerland (her) and now Banff where they have lived for the past ten years. He works HR for a hotel complex there and we swapped hiking ideas for the four days we stayed.
There was a bit of scandal here too and I am happy to report that Corey was in the middle of it. I left Corey and Henna to get ice from town and was surprised upon my return to see a police car at our site. A lot of neighbors were pointing and whispering. Turns out that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer was eating ice cream at the same time we were earlier in the day and overheard us talking with another couple (who were teachers, had one daughter, and spent each summer camping in exotic places- for some reason we did not click as one might expect) about our trip possibilities. He was out of uniform and we did not notice him. Later he drove around the campground (we had talked with the other couple about where we were camping) until he found Corey and presented her with a hand drawn map of “K county” and told us why we should consider spending time there. Sometimes Canadians live up to their stereotypes.
As for our awesome neighbors, they first lent me a grill pan so that I could give my brats the respect they deserved. Later Earl took me, and then Corey, out on the lake in their inflatable kayaks. After hiking to several vantage points above, taking a boat tour on, and also skipping rocks, photographing, etc., it was amazing to me to be on the lake on my own terms. Jackie described her husband as a shepherd and he lived up to that nickname by never venturing more than a foot from our kayaks. He also detailed exactly what to do if we ended up in the water (which was 7 degrees Celsius or, in Fahrenheit, really cold). Other safety precautions included a leash extended from our inflatable life jackets meaning that if we ended up in the water, we were still hooked to the boat. The whole experience was exhilarating and reminded me of the time we met someone on the road to Alaska who took us up on his Cesna. Sometimes the road delivers good.
Later that night we decided to follow the RCMP’s advice (which was echoed by Earl and Jackie as well as the gentleman from Banff) and set off the next day north on Canadian 22 (The Cowboy Trail). It lived up to its name and will be described in some detail later. Other things to note- a temporary crown fell out of my mouth, my entire scalp is sun burned (sometimes I forget that I am half bald) and a bag of charcoal costs $24 in Waterton Park. Here’s to the road ahead.