Monday, 31 October 2011

Banff National Park Canada

This was a really odd day.. can't say I wasnt' warned!!

I've left Glacier Park and need to travel through a bit of another Indian reservation.. I'm traveling now through the land of the Blackfeet tribe toward the Canada border and I saw this red band around a tree.  I wonder what it means... red is for warning, right?


Well the border crossing was a breeze, knock on wood, as usual.. no worries.  Welcome to Alberta Canada!

If you ask me, the oddness of the day crossed the border with me! Pink horses???


Now that I know why I see pink everywhere, turns out this town is in great support of breast cancer.. ok, not so odd, good on 'em!

Later on down the road,  oddities arise again.. This farm, very large farm.. has a hat on every single fence post.  ???????  I followed it for such a long time until the hats went up a driveway.



This is where the hats ultimately live.. is it a way to help grandpa find his way home?  Or just a hat 'enthusiast'??

I find a provincial campsite tonight on a beautiful lake.  It's such a gorgeous spot for an organized government campground, it's the weekend, and there is only one other tent here.


My campsite tucked in the trees

I got really worried, even if it wasn't so pretty, it's the weekend, and it's warm and sunny, where is everybody!  I rode the bike into town to get something to eat and asked a couple people if there is something I should be worried about due to the absence of people.  Like did a bear kill somebody there recently?  They say no..  it should be a safe place to camp..  Okay, so I head back, meet the other couple in a tent and tell them that I am worried, something is not right and if they hear a loud air horn in the night, it is me (and a bear or whatever).. they chuckled and agreed to come to my rescue.

On the notice board posted in the park, during my wander before sunset, I notice that a big notice is placed right in the center that says, "This park is experiencing an unusually high amount of theft, please keep your belongings locked in the vehicles, during day and night"..  Hmmmmm.

So I go back to the couple and tell them this, they were surprised.. A small 4WD had since come back to our area, just sat in the car and left it running for the longest time.  I am getting a bit nervous, but I decide to wave at the single man to let him know that we see him if he needs anything.  After 20 minutes or so, he drives away, and I leave the security of my new friends out here.

During the night, around 2:45 am, I woke up hearing the wheels of a car going ever so slowly across the gravel on the road above our tent sites.. it was so slow, and the hour, I knew something was not good.  I had my trusty tire lever in one hand and my leatherman knife in the other, and thought to myself, "here we go..."

Then in the distance I hear another car come barreling down the gravel road.. top speed.. I think this must be the bad guys back up?  We're outnumbered, what would the natives do???

Then I hear the "blip blip" of a police siren... oh thank goodnes.. How did they know???  Whatever happened happened, I didn't leave my tent, I just listened and hoped for the best.. and they both left.

Eventually went back to sleep, never needing to use my air horn.. but to this day, this is the worst experience I've had camping.. not from bears, but from humans... however, no harm to me, thank goodness. It was just a scary night.. can't say I wasn't warned.... still!

The couple up the hill came to see me at first light and we both pack up our tents to get the heck out of there.. Now I know why the campground was empty on a weekend!

Next stop, Calgary.  Time for a nice big service to the bike as I am about to head into Yukon Territory and Alaska.. want everything in good shape as population dramatically dimishes soon.

While I'm hanging around the shop, typing away on my computer, this guy comes in the door and walks up to me and asks, "Are you Sherri Jo Wilkins?"  I think I just looked at him with my mouth wide open, like. who are you and how do you know me and how do you know I am here........???"

He says he recognized my head lights.. "I'm like, what??  Should I slap this guy??" Desperatly wanting to put my jacket on.. Ohh, yeah, he's talking about the headlights on my bike which is parked outside.  Duh...  I guess these custom lights are a bit distinctive to my KTM.  So he's cool now, and introduces himself and all is well.. He had been following Walter's blog and recognized from there.. gee whiz!  And has done lots of RTW travel himself! 

Me and Corey Hanson

Okay, that was just the tenth odd thing to happen in the last two days.. so now that the bike is fixed up, time to go see the pretty stuff.  On to Banff National Park!!






Glaciers are everywhere!. Granted they are severely retreating, but still here and I feel an honor for me to see them..

This one is Crowfoot Glacier, really cool!


Loving the color of glacial silt water...


I came to Lake Louise because many years ago I saw this hotel on a travel program and it looked so pretty, I remember saying waying back then, "Someday, I want to go to Banff and Lake Louise".. So!  Here I am!

 Lots of ski slopes behind the hotel

Do you think I'm going to STAY in this hotel!?  No way, didn't even bother to enquire about it.  It was $35 to get a campsite, let alone a place with a bed.. too much.  I did love my campsite, can't believe I don't have a photo of it, but the campground here is surrounded by electric fence to keep the bears out, so at least tonight I can sleep with less worry for once.  AND, it doesn't cost anything to wander around the hotel.. so I got my money's worth.. ;-)




I..... think it's a bit beautiful around here!!!!  See you..
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Friday, 28 October 2011

Montana

I'm back on blog!! Sort of.. only a quickie while bike is in for repairs..  now where did I leave off..

Here I am leaving Yellowstone (in August) and found this important little sign to pass on my way to the north of America..


I'm on my way to Bozeman Montana to visit and stay with Barton Churchill, whom I met last year in Russia.. a man with very good taste, he rides KTM as well!

Best add the Siberian flashback photo here along with Dean and Paul Martinello, from Adelaide!! in August 2010 (photo by Walter Colebatch):


Now a year later at Barton's house in Montana!!  I think we both look a bit different.. many many miles/km's after!



I know, the lighting sucks on this one, but I loved seeing Barton's dog, Amelia, smiling so nicely behind us.. such a good girl!!

Montana is a place I've wanted to go my whole life.. cowboys, ranches, horses, big sky, the whole deal appeals to me.. but I never really thought of it this way.. (took this photo through the store front window in Bozeman, if you can't read past the sunglasses, it says "The Green Coalition of Gay Loggers for Jesus") All righty then! That would be a busy mob keeping up with the politics... ;-)


After a great visit with Barton.. he changed my oil for me.. ;-)))) and we ate the best sushi in the world right here in Bozeman steak/cattle/ranch country..!

I was off on the road toward Canada and Alaska which I must accomplish before the weather changes up that way.. hard to imagine as it's so warm here in Bozeman.

So the other stuff I dreamed of is clearly here too.. big sky country!



I can not believe that house is abandoned!!  I'll take it.. I'd live there in a heartbeat!!

Big day riding, I make my way onto Flathead Indian Reservation where I set up camp for the night..




I know, I live in a dream world. But was hoping to see native culture happening here, maybe two men in a canoe with feathers fishing for dinner.. but so far I mostly see fast food joints and RV's... bummer..

Great night of tuna from a tin and crackers on the lake, looking forward to morning ride through Glacier National Park..

Beginning Glacier National Park


The poor fisherman.. waiting so patiently...


And a drive through the park


Here is a native Flathead man.. who brought me to the front of the line of traffic he is stopping for construction..  Absolutely hilarious man.. I was stuck there for 15 minutes, and couldn't stop laughing..


The cars behind me don't know what they are missing with this guy.. total comedian!  If the traffic people were on motorcycles, they would be having more fun.. ;-)




Haystack Falls



Watching a ranger talk is not normally what I'd put in a blog, but I really thought what this guy was saying is important.. he is showing us how the glaciers used to look compared to today, but the big point to note from him.. the glaciers are EXPECTED TO BE GONE.. by 2020...!!!!!  That's only 8 years away.. made me a bit sad and wanted to mention to you so that if your goal is to see "Glacier National Park",  you might want to get here sooner than later!


Another note.. the birds on the picture board the ranger holds above are called White Tail Ptarmigan. They also suffer from the effects of global warming.  Most animals that change color, do so as the season changes.  These birds however, change on a time clock rather than season.. so they are turning white for winter earlier than they should now since warmer weather means later winter.  Unfortunately, makes them very easy to see for predators long before the snow now falls.

 Disappearing glacier...



So I've set up my tent and decide to go for a walk.. some things to keep in mind as a solo traveler in bear country..


I was scared walking the trail back to these water falls.. I rattled my keys for noise the whole way.. at the end of the trail a couple there says, "did you see bears?"  I said no, thank goodness, however this couple was very happy to say they were right on the track!  Am I the only weirdo who is not keen to come across bears on my walk??



OK, there's one.. far enough away and only interested in berries it looks like.. whew! When I was nearly back to my motorcycle, a couple with 2 small children were starting down the trail.  I warned them about the bears because they were letting their little ones run ahead of them (running small people = bear targets?)... they didn't stop their children, but the Dad ran back to the car to get the camera, in hopes of seeing these bears.. don't mind the children!


Moving on to my next campsite..




I found hiking not to be as enjoyable when constantly worried for big grizzly bears.  I might be over worried, as most people around here don't seem to be..at all!  I'm going to hide out in my tent for the night.. I'll be safe in there.... yeah, uh huh.. ;-)  As they drum into you around here on paper notices.. do NOT leave any food within 20 meters of the tent, not even a water bottle, put all food in storage lockers or tie into a tree, including cosmetics, anything that smells of food, might invite a bear into your tent..  geez!  I've got my little airhorn, a tire iron and a leatherman (with knife part already out) ready for attack right by my pillow.. but I kept my water bottle and took my chances.. see you!

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