On Friday we emptied the humidifier, packed up the dog and headed out of Calgaryfor the first time in nearly 4 months on a trip that wasn’t work related. We both took off work a little early, and decided to take our favourite way to Hinton. On a Friday afternoon in June, the Parkway is pretty quiet, and we didn’t have to battle our way around RVs or stop for lines of people taking pictures. Since we had all afternoon to make the drive, we did the tourist thing and stopped at a few view points ourselves. Our first stop was at Lac Hubert to take the dog for a drink. We figured we’d walk the picnic loop while we were at it until we ran smack into a bear. Patches went nutty (he loves those brown furry dogs in the forest), the bear went up a tree and we made a quick retreat back to the car and out onto the highway. Whoa bear, that better our first and last bear encounter of the season… The rest of our drive was uneventful – we listened to old mixed CDs and Patches watched motorcycles out the window.
We spent Saturday hiking along the north bank of the Athabasca River in Hinton. Its not a strenuous hike, its pretty flat, but the view are good and its a chance to see parts of the forest you’d never go into. The only negative was the number of ants inhabiting the top of the river bank. I’ve never seen so many; every time I stopped they swarmed up my boots to bite. Even Patches had a hard time concentrating on barking at the pulp mill in the distance he was so busy shaking ants off his legs. They must have been the milder cousins of those South American ants in Indiana Jones.
Sunday we left Patches at the parent’s house and headed back to Calgary. We stopped in Jasper to hike Malign Canyon, along with a hundred other people but got some good shots of the canyon anyways. We also got treated to another bear on the highway and four mountain goats and kids.
Upon arriving in Calgary at 6:30 in the evening, we found our 6 yards of dirt, that we’d tried to order the previous weekend and had since cancelled, piled all over the road and sidewalk in front of our house (despite us telling them to put it on the lawn). A mad bought of shovelling ensued in which over 50 wheel barrows of dirt were transported to various parts of the yard. On the upside, we finally have our dirt.