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Joel and Tommy in the Canadian Rockies
Three years before we'd driven out to California and back, camping on the way, and I'd introduced them to the deserts and Yosemite and the northern coast and Yellowstone and even Wind Cave and Jewel Cave in the Black Hills. We thought of doing that trip again but decided instead on the canadian Rockies.
Tommy flew out and told us he'd become a vegetarian -- which was going to complicate menu planning -- and we set off in the old telephone-company van I'd acquired. The Rogers Bell van, as Tommy called it. Stopped in Saint Paul to visit Jay and the Beatys. Battled the mosquitoes near Moorhead, Minnesota. Lost the universal joint in Strathmore, thirty miles east of Calgary. And slouched into the Rockies on July 26.
It had been hot in Iowa, but in the Rockies it was chilly and gloomy and the skies were full of rain. The rain was pretty much over when we came into Two Jacks Lake campground, near the town of Banff, but the firewood was wet and hard to ignite, and the whole process of setting up camp and making dinner seemed miserable. And it seemed as though there might be a week of rain ahead of us. It had been a wet year in British Columbia and Alberta. I cooked kidney beans for Tommy, beans and hotdogs for Joel and me, broccoli, a few hashbrowns. I was so cold and empty that the food seemed the most delicious I'd ever had.
It was a cold night, and the next day we came into Banff to get some of the equipment it had not seemed possible, when we were planning things in the ninety-degree weather in Iowa, that we would ever need. At the Hudson's Bay Company store we picked up a sweatshirt for Joel and a couple of sweaters and three or four pairs of wool "thirty-below" socks. The sky remained grey and foreboding. Joel looked for places to go skateboarding and we checked out the interpretive Cave and Basin Trail on the south end of town.
Later, from the campground, we tried calling Maureen to wish her a happy birthday. Fifteen years before, she and I had just been leaving the Rockies on her birthday. We had been lonely for our new friends the Beatys and had had a birthday dinner of chinese food, I believe, in Calgary; we'd camped outside Calgary that night.
Fifteen years. It did not seem possible.
Joel taking a photo on the Cave and Basin Trail.
Tommy and Joel turning from one of the interpretive displays where they've learned all about hot springs.
We moved to a different campground, Johnston Canyon, and the next day we hiked about seven miles on the Johnston Canyon trail. It led first to a pair of falls -- a lower and an upper -- in a narrow gorge, and then, after what seemed miles of hiking up- and downhill along a very muddy horsepath, into a wide beautiful valley, which was full of grasses and wildflowers and which boasted six deep cerulean pools (looking like some of the hot springs at Yellowstone) called the Ink Pots.
Where the as we got back to the area where the path followed the river gorge on our hike back (through intermittent rainfall), Joel pointed out a bird he'd noticed before: a small dark grey bird that hopped along the rocks by the river and then jumped into the cold water and disappeared beneath the surface for a minute or more. Back at the campground I looked it up in the field guide and found it was a dipper -- a little wrenlike bird with special oil glands and the ability to walk on the bottom of fast-flowing streams.
Monday morning, July 28. Joel and Tommy at Johnston Canyon campground before we set off to see the Ink Pots.
The grey, cold, rainy weather came to an end. On July 30 we moved across the continental divide into British Columbia and Yoho National Park, and there we camped in the shadow of Takakkaw Falls, the same campground Maureen and I (and our kitten Sunshine) had stayed at fifteen years before -- where we'd first met the Beatys.
[Nota bene: This page, like all the others in this site, is in progress. Please let me know if you find anything false, misleading, offensive, or intrusive to your privacy. Let me know too if there's a photo or something in the text that should be removed or something that should be added. I have not set up this site primarily for my own sake but for my family and friends -- and I welcome all corrections, additions, and suggestions about how to improve it!]
Joel in 1973-1977
Joel in 1981-1982
Joel in 1984
Joel in 1985-1986
Joel and Unity in Yosemite
Joel at Año Nuevo
Joel at Rocky Ridge, 1995
Joel's Michigan graduation
Copyright © 1999 T. N. R. Rogers. All rights reserved. Last revised 2 aug 99.