We’ve come through mountains and plains, energy focused areas and farming/horse country. Alberta is energy focused with additional resources. First Nations people are an important part of the province.
Near the town of BeaverLodge.
Me: “I want to see the giant beaver.”
He: “I’ve driven this road lots of time and never saw a giant beaver.”
Me: “There it is, let’s stop.”
After a few photos, I examine his tail, which Jim stands next to for perspective.
Me: “The tail can provide fermented beaver tail (an Alaska Native delicacy) for all of Bristol Bay!”
We came into Alberta on Hwy 43 out of Grand Prarie, near Whitecourt and eventually took Hwy 32 to connect with Hwy 16 on our way to Edmonton. We need a place to spend the night. All roads off of 32 are dirt. On a whim, we take a right turn onto a dirt road with a vague promise of a park. We continue winding down the road, passing small farms and end at a boat launch for ShiningBand Lake. The campground is closed and submerged under several feet of snow. No one has traveled down this road for sometime, though it is plowed. We decide to camp at the side of the road for the night.
Stepping out of the Sprinter, silence greets us. Complete silence, not a car, not a bird not a breeze whistling through the bare birch trees. Magic. There are no people tracks, just elk or caribou. We walk down the road and notice footprints of many animals going out to the lake. The ice is still very firm and we walk more, than back to the Sprinter.
Jim wants his binoculars to study the distant shore and I want to practice my neck/back QiGong. It’s been two weeks and my back feels it. Jim starts off and I place my IPhone on the Sprinter bumper and start gentle music. It is not loud, the surrounding silence calming.
I start my routine with arms raised to the blue sky. Continuing, I turn my face and the gentlest breeze crosses my cheek. Seven different moves make up a quickly passing 30 minutes. At the end, I raise my arms to the sky again seven times, then come to a standing position with my hands in prayer position. I bow three times in gratitude for my moment in nature.
Jim returns, describing what he saw across the lake and we take one more walk before settling in for the night. After dinner, we climb in to bed to read with the Spring sun still high and soon setting at our feet. It is a peaceful, not too cold, night and the sunrise wakens us.
We drive down the dirt road to Hwy 32 and pass a snow-bound farm with a message. It is much more pleasant than “Guard Dog.”
Highway 16 takes us past a sign for the tiny village of Wabaman the home of “Canada’s biggest dragonfly.” Who can resist?
Me: Let’s stop
Me: It’s my birthday month
Me: My 70th birthday month.
And we laugh.
TransCandada Hwy 16 takes us to Edmonton where we plan to spend two hotel nights. On the way into Edmonton we stop at the Aviation museum. Jim wants to see the rebuilt Mosquito. Disappointing, it’s closed on Mondays. Next “must” is the Wayne Gretzky statue at Roger’s Place and the home of the Edmonton Oilers.
We drive to the hotel and have a little difficulty finding it. We drive round and round and then find it. I think I was staring at the garden nursery across the street and didn’t see it. Finally, we check in. As expected, Jim relishes the needed rest and the TV. I go down to the pool and put my feet in the whirlpool to try and stop the nerve jerks. It only helps while in the water.
In the room I heat up the chicken rice soup brought from Alaska and we head to bed.
On Tuesday, Jim has a rest while I walk over to the nursery. It is indeed a lovely one.
SURPRISINGLY, Jim suggests we go to the nearby IKEA for meatballs. He hates IKEA. Off we go, he enjoys the meatballs while I try a new meal, Butter Chicken with Naan. It is soooooo good!! Jim is not an ethnic food fan so it’s a good opportunity. We walk a little through the store with Jim herding me along. Probably for the first time ever, I bought NOTHING. It’s a Tuesday and the store is not crowded. Just for the record, there is a Tim Horton’s across the road.
It’s Wednesday and we check out today and head for Saskatchewan. Breakfast, laundry, a bike spin for me and we’re refreshed and ready to hit the road again.