It’s Monday, October 3rd and it’s still raining. Not very hard mind you, but raining none the less. It seemed to be raining so much less than yesterday but there are puddles everywhere, unlike yesterday. I guess I’m doing breakfast inside today.
While I am getting my stuff ready to take into the Coulee Centre Building for breakfast I see the campers at the far end of the campground are packing up their tent and getting ready to leave.
Inside the Centre was the only other camper in the whole campground. She was tenting but doesn’t look as damp as I thought she would. I don’t think she speaks much English for when I told her she picked a good night to camp and all I got back was “Yes”. Maybe she just doesn’t understand sarcasm.
As I was packing up my stuff to hit the road I threw out my running shoes I’d bought in Beijing last year. I’d wore my shoes out while I was there and had to replace them and now they were in turn worn out. I had planned to take them along on one of my hikes and take some photos of them to do some kind of symbolic passing of the shoe but I never did see anywhere that I thought it would work like I’d pictured it in my head. So I unceremoniously just chucked them in the trash.
When I picked Grasslands as my destination I had envisioned being the only one in the campground. Alas, that never happened and even as I drove out, I was still only the second last one there. Oh well, at least it wasn’t Beijing busy.
Today was the first time I never saw any wildlife at all in the park on my way to the exit. Apparently cold rain is a downer for the animals.
Just outside the gate I saw what I’m guessing is the Antelope I saw on the road yesterday. The had the same pose and attitude but was at least facing the road this time.
It was still fairly dark with all the overcast so the few shots I took of him as he paralleled the road were not the greatest things I’ve ever shot.
I even tried to do a slow shutter speed creative shot but I’ve seen a lot better.
And with that I headed back towards Val Marie to take highway 4 north to Cadillac.
As I neared Cadillac I saw these three bachelors standing around in a barley field.
I was quite surprised how much barley was still standing as the forecast called for snow within a couple of days.
West of Cadillac I spotted 4 White Tail Does along the highway and as I slowed down they started to cross the highway. 3 of the 4 were quite graceful and trotted across the road and up the slope on the far side before launching themselves over the fence at the top of the hill. The fourth on stumbled across the road but still manage to clear the fence with ease.
I got fuel and food in Medicine Hat and didn’t stop again till I got to the Alto Rest Cemetery just outside of Red Deer to visit my dad on what would of been his 76th birthday. We had a toast for him. Well, I toasted; he was pretty quiet.
I thought lemonade was pretty appropriate as I won’t drink and drive and he didn’t have alcohol for the last 10 years of his life.
Twenty minutes later I was home from my short getaway.
While I didn’t see as many cool things as I had last year in Beijing, I saw a lot of the park and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Grasslands National Park is a pretty cool place with a variety of things to see. What I really liked about the park is that there are hikes you can do with trails to follow but you can also just set off across the bald ass prairie if that is what you want to do. With only about 10,000 visitors per year the park is also one of the quietest parks you’ll come across.
This was one of the shortest getaways I’ve had in years but it was well worth the time away. My wife thinks I go on these trips to run away from her but the truth is that I go so I can come back to her.