South and south we go..

CAMPGROUND: Riverside Campground. Brand new – not in guidebook. Private. A field with about 40 sites. Water and electricity at sites. Sites not too level. Picnic tables. Firepit at some sites. $32/night. 3 stars out of 5
LOCATION: Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada – in southwest Alberta
WEATHER: Mostly sunny. High 75

My assessment of last night’s campground might move it from a 4-star to 5 after this morning…..I took a glorious shower. Since we have stayed in so many campgrounds, we have become rather expert at critiquing showers. This one, although dated, had everything….lots of hooks to hang towels and clothes, benches for putting things and for sitting, nooks to put shampoo and soap, and a ledge between the shower and the dressing area to keep the floor dry, loads of hot water, and…..free!

Then, as we were hooking up, 2 deer scampered through our campsite. Cool!

We took our time getting started as it was a lovely day. We continued south on the Cowboy Trail, another 200 miles or so. We followed the Rockies most of the way, so enjoyed beautiful view of the snow-topped mountains.

We got excited when along one stretch, we followed a fellow Airstreamer from Texas!

When we first entered Alberta, we picked up a brochure listing the craft beer breweries in the province. It has really come in handy. I counted up and we have visited 14! I realized that one of the towns we were going through today had a brewery, Black Diamond, so we stopped at the Hard Knox Brewery to check it out.

Going down the highway, we suddenly saw this huge rock, and stopped to read about it. We realized that it is the Okotoks Erratics rock we learned about several weeks ago at Writing on Stone. There, we had gone on a guided tour through the Indian rock art. The ranger pointed out an ancient pictograph of a rock, and told us this Blackfoot Indian story…..

>>One hot summer day, Napi, the supernatural Trickster of the Blackfoot, sat upon the Rock to rest. Because it was so hot, Napi threw his robe over the Rock saying, “Here, I give you this robe because you are poor and have let me rest on you. Keep it always”. Napi walked on and it began to rain and get cool. He returned to the Rock and asked it to give him back the robe, but the Rock refused. Napi got angry and took “his” robe back. As he walked away, he heard a noise– the Rock was chasing him!

Napi was scared and ran. His friends – the Buffalo, the Deer, and the Antelope – tried to stop the Rock, but were crushed.

(Here is where the Blackfoot tale uses this story to teach young Indians about nature – for example, when the Skunk tried to help Napi, the Rock ran over his beautiful black fur and created a white stripe down the middle. The story goes on like this with many different animals.) The story continues…

Nearly exhauasted, Napi called upon the Bats for help. The Bats dove at the Rock and one hit in the middle, and split it in two.

This Blackfoot tale explains not only how the rock was split but also teaches others why each animal is like it is today – like the skunk with its stripe, and the bat with its squashed face. As in all Indian legends, there is a moral – “Don’t take back what you have given”.>>

So, it was so cool to see this rock that we had learned about previously. You can believe the Indian tale, or the geologists who tell us that it rolled down from Jasper centuries ago during the glacier melt.

We wanted to stop in Fort Macleod. Our camping guidebook said that there were 2 campgrounds in this area – a private one and an unserviced provincial park. We stopped at the commercial one and were immediately turned off – it is the kind of RV park we dislike. When it is called a resort, it automatically means expensive. This one’s resort amenities included a pool and there were kids running all over the place with their swimsuits on. RVs were parked cheek to jowl. No picnic tables or firepits. Mean-sounding signs all over the place, including signs about an additional price for the dump station. We said “no” and headed toward the provincial park. On our way, we saw this campground, which will be fine for 2 nights.

The weather here is so different from northern Canada – pretty warm and very dry. We made a campfire, just to use up the wood.

DINNER: Using some leftover Phillipino adobo (a thick pork stew), I added gravy and peas, and served it over a baked potato. Having this Phillipino food has been such a treat!

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