Wowzers, what a trip! We’ve been home two days and I’m still in recovery mode … which, in case you’re wondering, looks very much like sunny-afternoon mode, rainy-day mode, campground mode, general nap mode, etc.
On Monday the 13th, we set off south on highway 24, bound for a place called Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park. Since T is a writer, and I am a writer, it sounded like the perfect destination. And when we met up with our camping buddies G, S & R in Vulcan, it had the makings of … The. Best. Camping. Trip. Ever!
Since I sleep while travelling, I’m never sure how far we’ve driven, so when we had to stop for a rattlesnake crossing the road as we entered the campground, I wondered if I’d slept all the way to Arizona! But, no worries, still in Alberta—a part of Alberta that has rattlesnakes.
I used to be a great camper. I loved to lounge in my camp chair by the fire, watch the sun go down, hang with my peeps. But then my chair got difficult to get in and out of, the fire freaked me out but I got chilly away from it, and the ground just isn’t as soft as my foam bed. As much as I wanted to hang with my peeps, it just wasn’t comfortable. I started spending more time in the trailer … alone. I’ve never been a fan of alone and am less so as I get older.
This year I’ve been seeking my camping mojo, immersing myself in the whole lying-on-the-ground-fireside thing. And you know, with enough padding between me and the earth, plus a jacket when it’s cold, I just might have found it. On only night two of the trip, this was me, soaking up the fireside warmth on my camp bed.
After a day spent hiking the hoodoo trail and exploring the campground, I was too tired to object to the ground’s lack of memory-foam cushiness, or the flames licking nearby. And that’s all it took. That night and every night thereafter, I joined the humans and Ria by the fire. In fact, I got a little too close on one occasion and shortened the whiskers on one side of my muzzle. Oops.
After three nights in Writing-on-Stone, we ventured north and east to the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park on the Saskatchewan side, a new place for us. With the wind threatening to blow squirrels out of trees (I borrowed that one from my buddy Storm), we opted for a campground set in the shelter of a tall pine forest, Rainbow Campground.
After the usual mix of hiking and eating and playing music and fireside sitting, plus a day trip to the town of Maple Creek, we were off again, to the Alberta side of the Cypress Hills. Now this was a familiar stop, twice over. My first trip to Elkwater was four years ago, with Sid in tow and Logan by my side. Good times. And, crazy coincidence, the two side-by-side sites available in Old Baldy campground were the exact ones we stayed in then. It was as if Logan had arranged it all, a little reminder of our time together and how much we still miss him. T shed a few tears when we first arrived, so many memories flooding in. In particular, the one of Logan nesting in the patch of grass and fireweed still there in campsite #3.
That trip was the first time we had to leave Logan behind when we went hiking because the trail up Old Baldy was too steep. I thought of him a lot as I climbed to the top this year, wearing his red harness for good luck. I’m four years older with my own physical limitations slowing me down, and he was just a year older then than I am now. I wonder if I’ll be staying behind in the trailer next year. I sure hope not.
But, this year, I climbed to the top with only a short, shady break before tackling the downhill side to the lake. And all on the heels of another steep trail near Reesor Lake the day before. I’ve still got it.
And, in addition to “it”, I have discovered my senior-dog version of camping mojo.