Roughing it – Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

So the next day we spent at the wedding which turned out beautifully .The weather cooperated with blue skies and barely any wind. It was an unconventional wedding where the brides brother got a `day` licence to marry them. Also there was no head table and we were delighted to find that we were seated with Jayne and Arn. We danced and made lots of new friends…everyone was interested in how Max and I met and how it was living in Argentina. I even created a new drink with the bartender and by the end of the night everyone was drinking the sweet yet potent `carmella`s.

One of the highlights of the night was when Brian, my good friend Julies` usually quiet and reserved husband, donned a big blond wig and performed the barbie song. What fun! The next day we slept in as long as we possibly could then packed up and head off camping.We had noticed over the weekend that many of the sites were full and we a bit concerned that we may not find anywhere. Max spotted a gigantic Canada flag billowing with the mountains hovering in the background and practically jumped out the window for the picture. Whoa! Slow down baby!

We pulled over and noticed that there was a campground just around the corner so we checked it out. Turns out that the big `rush` must have only been there for the weekend and seeing that it was Sunday, now we had our pick of almost every site. We creeped along the windey narrow road snaking our way through a thick forest of trees. I noted the very primitive outhouses, which I would NOT be using. We saw lots of decent spots but then there it was. We both saw it at the same time and immediately agreed that this was it. A gorgeous site right on the river with no neighbours in any close proximity. Nestled into a little alcove of trees with a stunning view of water, mountains, and all the nature you could stomach.

We staked our claim and began setting up our house which even had a nice little patch of flowers at the front door. Next we made use of our kitchen (a propane stove on top of our picnic table) and ate a hearty homecooked meal. I was glad that Max was so impressed with such easy dishes and so we just kind of fell into our natural roles. I cooked. And he cleaned. I cooked. And he gathered tinder for the fire. I cooked. And he did what ever needed to be done….as long as it wasn`t cooking. We settling into our chairs by the fire to watch the multi-level sunset and darkness descend upon our happy little home. We were really only going to spend a day or two at that site then move on but we just couldn’t leave. The next five days we had unbelievable weather in the high 20s and low 30s with not a spot of rain.

The next week consisted of the following:

*making friends with all the rodents in the area. We had our own resident squirrel who we named Skippy. Skippy was no ordinary rodent…he was daring and quickly became our new pet. Once we saw an entire banana bouncing away from our picnic table and who was on the other side stealthily dragging his prize with him…no other than our Skippy. He tried to do the same with a bag of doritos and a dozen buns. We had to put a stop to it before he ate us out of house and home. He would eat on the picnic table with us, hopping on our lap then on to the ground before flicking his tail in wave gratitude. I had the feeling that he wanted to come home with us when I would see him playing in the car if we left the doors open. But what really touched me is the odd whining seemingly sad squeaking noise he serenaded us with as we pulled away when we were leaving. I had looked everywhere for him in the hours we were packing up with no avail. Then just as we were about to drive away, he ran up to the road and sat less than a meter away from the car, pleading with his huge beady eyes making these heart wrenching sounds. Max and I both felt he was trying to tell us something. Then again, perhaps he just had a tummyache. Perhaps that is squirrel talk for `The least you can do is leave me some Tums!`.

*making ememies with the birds in the area. Ok, everyone knows I love animals but there is nothing worse than a million magpies cawwing and squawking at 5am in the morning millimeters away from your ear (tents are not very soundproof). Not only that they would also try to peck their way into anything they knew was ours…including my nerves. And most annoying is when you are yelling and trying to chase them away, they have this way of all gathering together hovering and cackling, yes, LAUGHING at me. Plus we had a black martin, a very rare sight, coming to visit us but these stupid birds kept chasing him away. They were the only real annoyance. That and the fact that fish in the river seemed to be too smart to get caught.

*visiting the local service station for _______. As the toilets were not in any usable state, we would make several visits daily to the local service station where we got to know the very friendly helpful staff quite well. It was a good excuse to buy ice creams, chips, pop, candy, pens, fish hooks….um, yeas, near the end we started getting desperate. The conversation would go a little like this.
`Honey, I have to use the washroom…`
`Hum. Ok. What shall we buy this time?`
`Dunno…certainly not more pop.`

We became quite attached to our new service station cashier friends and even had favorites. It was a little sad at the end when we had to leave and I had to hold myself back from giving them thankyou and goodbye hugs.

*watching for the first star. Every night I would get so excited about the fire that I would keep asking `when? now? can I start it now?` and Max came up with a system. Each night as soon as one of us would spot the first star, then we could spark up the campfire, which was always ready and waiting for the match. Then we would settle into our respective chairs and count the satellites whizzing by. Once we counted 16 in less than two hours! We began to guess which ones might be aliens and which ones were just shooting stars with training wheels. I showed Max a few of the constellations that I remembered from MY hemisphere.

Our sky was wide open with no cloud cover whatsoever combined with the fact that there was no moon, we had some of the best stargazing that I have experienced in a very long time. We warmed our feet by the fire and wished on stars until we ran out of wishes. Then we would crawl into our tent and snuggle deep into our sleeping bags to rest from our long day of hard work….until….`Um…honey? I have to go to the washroom….`

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