1966 Airstream

Restoring aluminum on an iron chassis

July 28 Glacier National Park

“The Columbia Mountains are steep and the valleys narrow, allowing for only a few easy hikes and a good number of challenging ones” read the trail guide picked up from the Roger’s Pass Visitor’s Centre. With an energetic, solar-powered seven year-old boy and a backpack to carry our two year-old daughter, my husband and I decided that we were up for the Glacier National Park challenge. We headed to the Illecillewaet Campground, and selected the Mt. Sir McDonald trail. We were encouraged by a cheerful Ranger who insisted that the Mama Grizzly and her two cubs spotted in the area would not be much of a danger as long as we stayed in a tight group and made noise. “Sing!” he suggested. I caught his both his optimism and his warning, and proceeded to sing almost every song I know. Our hike began on a wide, flat trail that followed along the ruins of the Glacier House Hotel. Here my concert began, a camp song describing how “The Other Day I Met a Bear.” The trail was formerly a mountaineering route laid by Swiss guides for guests of the hotel. We crossed a bridge at the confluence of the Asulkan and Illecillewaet Rivers. My singing continued “Flea, Fly, Mosquito.” The forested trial continued uphill along the river, not too steep but enough to get my heart pumping. My son scurried, his movement steadily ringing the bear bell on his backpack. We arrived at a sign stating that we were entering an avalanche path, prime grizzly bear country. We proceeded, following the cairns that led us through the boulder field. Hiking, singing, and breathing in high altitude requires a lot of oxygen. I just have a feeling that perhaps, that day was the first time the words to “Oklahoma” rang out in that valley. We declared a stream in the boulders our turn-around spot. The descent was quick, we never met the bears, and the kids happily posed for a picture at the end of the trail. Hiking: if the kids are happy, “Everything is awesome.”

Roger’s Pass Visitor’s Center: I was very happy to find out that Canada has a “Little Explores” program akin the the Junior Ranger Program in the USA National Parks. One of the activities was on “scat”: identifying which animal made the poop on a display in the visitor’s centre (yes, I spelled it the Canadian way. The rangers who greeted me with “Hello. Bon Jour just put me in that sprit) . You will be happy to know that the scat was made out of rubber. I was going through the activity with Shay, and one scat (moose, I believe) was described as looking like a cow pattie. Shay looked at me and said, “What is a cow pattie?” Yes, through the Little Explorers Program I made the horrifying discovery that my son did not know what a cow pattie was nor what it looked like.  I had failed him as a mother some how. I had failed as an Oklahoman raised by Texans.  I had failed as a person who likes clean-ish shoe bottoms.  I knew what a cow pattie was and how to avoid stepping in one by the age of 7 (Thanks Dad, it was probably you who taught me this).   The ranch neighboring the Ranch we were staying at Sicamous houses cows in the winter, so the Canadian was able to point out an old, stepped-on, cow pattie but not a fine specimen. I am on the hunt! No photo on the internet will do. This is field learning, my friends.

posted by stacy traylor in Camping Trips,Hikes and have No Comments

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