Monday, June 25, 2007

Camping in the Rockies

One of my favourite activities is hiking. Now combine this with camping and I am a happy man.

Had the opportunity to do both this past weekend. Friends of mine, the Veenstra's invited me to join them in sharing a campsite at Elkwood Campgrounds in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. John went out on Thursday night and found the site, sheltered as they all are in lodgepole pine, and set up the family trailer. I had Friday off as pertaining to regular work schedule. I busily got all my gear together that morning (I had a council meeting the evening before). I made some last minute purchases on the way out of town, and hit the Trans-Canada by 12:30 PM.

I arrived at the campsite around 2 PM. On a side note, throughout Alberta this month there are a number of jazz festivals going on. To foster a good appreciation and turn-out, CKUA is promoting the playing of jazz n its daily line-up. So along the way to Elkwood my fingers were drumming to the beats from the radio. That alone had me in good spirits, plus the anticipation of the weekends events and the natural beauty as I turned down Kananaskis Trail (Hwy. 40) - my heart was grinning 5x5.

John assisted me with getting my tent up and gear stowed. we sat back and had some beer. Enjoying the sunshine. His wife, Edith and their two daughters had yet to arrive. i thought they were going to leave Calgary ahead of me. so it was with some surprise to find him minding the camp alone. They eventually did arrive a couple hours later than me. All was well.

There is a interesting phenomenon that happens in a forest of lodgepole pine. These skinny pine trees that have no branches on their lower stalks tend to sway in accord with the wind. It comes in waves. Across the valley nestled between the crags of the Rocks. Down, down it flows with a rushing sound into the sea of green. You can hear the noise ahead of itself like a freight train when the weather gets colder. Pushing the limber lumber ahead it passes through the pines making them rock like so many pentameters dancing like Fantasia broomsticks. And here is where the phenomenon happens -- the trees literally clap. From down below you observe them going out of time with each other, and then they collide. Its difficult to assign a word to the effect. Its an applause for all that is good in the forest.

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