Canada offers up great food, tasty scenery
EDITOR'S NOTE: Despite being vaccinated against the shingles virus, Sharon Nesbit has been waging a personal battle with the painful illness. "More on that later," she promises. But for now, here's another column out of her archive.
ANTELOPE LAKE, SASKATCHEWAN — The plan was to go to Canada and turn right.
Jean and I have made similar "bee-line" trips before. This one is aimed at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, and Teddy's Elkhorn Ranch. The latter, because of the energy boom in North Dakota, is one of the nation's threatened treasures.
But, first to Canada, tracing the Columbia River north and popping across the border at Christina Lake, a big surprise because we hadn't expected the lovely lake resort.
Up mountains and down mountains, and into jewel-like towns set in deep valleys. Rossland, Trail and Creston, which is British Columbia's banana belt.
We began collecting the treasures of the Canadian summer, Okanogan peaches, plums, the first of the apples, the last of the big, black plump cherries, new Yukon Gold potatoes and farther east in Alberta, Taber corn. Sweet corn so good that the community of Taber is known only for that. So sweet it ought to be labeled fruit.
For protein, we got homemade sausage in the oddly-named community of Seven Persons.
We rarely eat out because the meals we produce in Rhoda the Tioga's kitchen are better than any we can buy.
These great prairies shelter some good bakers who sell ginger cookies, homemade cinnamon rolls and fine pecan tarts.
Mostly we buy gas and produce and look for good places to camp.
One frosty night we slept in a sub-alpine basin in Crowsnest Pass, in a bowl of mountains. Another in a coulee in Lethbridge under a mile-long railroad bridge, that looks remarkably flimsy.
We spent most of one day at the Alberta Interpretive Centre on the Frank Slide, a 1903 disaster in which a good part of a mountain wiped out half the mining town of Frank.
As we know from Mount St. Helens, mountains can turn on us. In both cases, native people knew the mountains made them nervous. Turtle Mountain, which dropped bus-sized boulders on Frank, was known by the First Nations people as "the mountain that moves."
Antelope Lake is something like Pine Hollow, a close-to-home retreat for ranchers, who need respite from their hay fields.
One of the many potholes left behind by glaciers, Antelope Lake is an oasis in mid-prairie where kids torment frogs and swing into the pond on a knotted rope.
We are the only strangers. It is Labor Day weekend, so our neighbor saw fit to warn us about the dance in the hall across the pond, the possibility of fireworks and the certain probability of noisy drunks, of which he was one.
He got home about 3 a.m. We plan to make a bit of noise as we pull out.
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