We’ve been spending most of our time at the farm this winter, a big change from our normal many-thousands-of-kilometres winter adventures. Sid’s parked and covered with frost instead of soaking up the Arizona sun. The horses have also had some frosty mornings, but they’re used to it since they don’t travel south with us.
Truth be told, the winter has been very kind to us spoiled snowbirds, with only a few days that haven’t risen above -10C. That’s when we walk in jackets and I wear my Muttluks. Yes, Muttluks, that’s what they call them. Made in Canada, not that you had any doubt. But they’re a terrific invention, really. Living as indoor dogs most of the time, it’s a pretty big shock to the paws walking on snow and ice in very cold temperatures.
Chico doesn’t wear boots. He could if he didn’t have some strange allergic reaction when wearing them that causes him to freeze on the spot. Funniest thing you’ve ever seen. He doesn’t like the jacket much either, but at least he can still move when he’s wearing it. They call him my “little brother” but sometimes I’m glad there’s no actual blood between us.
But, I digress. I was going to tell you about our adventure in the Rocky Mountains to the west. We’ve been there many times, to Kananaskis Country with the horses, but never to Banff. Although, from the conversation on the drive out, it sounds like Teresa and Nollind used to frequent the place for hiking, canoeing, camping, and pubbing. In fact, it sounds like they spent one of their first dates there, foolishly trying to bike on a trail after a wet, spring snow and, less foolishly, following it up with a soak in the hot springs. But that was long before my time.
The trip out was the usual blend of shaking, panting, and drooling. If you’ve been reading our blog for a time, you’ll know by now that I’m not the greatest of travellers. And in winter, there’s an added bit of fun for the nervous dog, tiny rocks scattered on the road for traction that turn into projectiles when picked up by the wheels of a passing car. Each one like a tiny little gunshot when it hits the windshield or other part of the vehicle.
Mountains are impressive, especially when you’re surrounded by them like you are in Banff, but I’m not sure I get what all the fuss is about. You can’t see very far, you have to climb over or find a way through if you want to go anywhere, and they’re really just great, huge pieces of rock with some snow on the high parts. On top of that, there are monstrous beasts roaming around. We have deer out on the prairie, but nothing to the magnitude of the dude that was hanging out along the river trail in Banff. The rack on this guy could have picked up half a dozen dogs without running out of prongs! Chico, of course, would have run off after the beast if he’d not been on a leash. (Again, not a blood relative.) Fortunately, the elk, as I later learned he was called, wandered off toward town without incident.
A couple of walks along the river, lunch at Magpie & Stump (no dogs allowed), the best chai Teresa’s ever tasted at Jump Start (or so she said) and we were on our way home, out of the big rocks and back to the big flat. Aaahh … so much better. Room for a dog to run off … and a nice, long view for my people to watch me do it.