Friday, May 23, 2008

Day 16, May 22: Who has Seen the Wind... and rain, and cold?

Trip stats:
Raymond to Taber, Alberta
73 km
6 hrs on the bike.

W.O. Mitchell has a classic book about prarie life called "Who has Seen the Wind". I always thought this title was a bit of prarie mysticism, but today I did indeed see the wind and I can descibe him: He is a crotchety, contrary, old geezer who delights in making everyone dance to his tune. For example, today's melody included turning from a strong west-south west wind to an easterly one. Of course, we were hoping to go east -- silly us! Instead we ended up going north along the 36 from Wrentham to Taber instead of keeping east on the 61 from Raymond to Foremost.

Oh, did I mention the rain and the cold? It seems that southern Alberta is sitting under a stalled low pressure system coming up from Montana. We dodged the rain, for the most part, in Alberta up until now, but today was a real soaker -- wind driven rain from morning until night. Indeed, it rained so much that we decided to take a motel room in Taber to dry out our selves and all our gear. The room is festooned with wet socks, cycling shorts, jackes, gloves, toques, jackets, and pack -- the humidity in the room is just shy of tropical.

Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to follow through with our Cypress Hill cycle plans. Initially, we hoped to stay east on the 61 to Manyberries, and then travel on dirt roads to the western edge of the Cypress Hills park. From here we wanted to ride the Trans Canada Trail through the park to Fort Walsh. But, the dirt roads and trails are now a sea of mud and the weather system promises 30 km/h eastern winds tomorrow, with lots of rain and cold temperatures. So, we are probably going to take a rest day in Taber tomorrow. But. on Saturday, just before we leave Taber, the town is having a pancake breakfast. We are going to set Mike loose on the buffet -- I hope Taber has LOTS of pancake batter and sausages!

But, our hopes for Cypress Hills and Grasslands are not totally dead. Although we are back again on the #3 (Crowsnest), we can drop down to the East Block of Cypress Hills in a few days if the weather allows.

But, as I often say, the worst day on a bike is better than the finest day in the office, and this one, although wet, cold, and annoying, was no different. We had an interesting stop at Stirling, a Mormon village laid out on the "Plat of Zion" plan. We stopped at heritage creamery and had a late breakfast. As well, there is nothing like a bit of rain to bring out the colour in the countryside.

More later

1 comment:

Unknown said...

welcome to our part of the world! Too bad the weather hasn't been more welcoming. Ah well.

-- jackie