The beginning of the end [of Canada]

Day 1: Drive from Revelstoke w/ the assistance of friends old (Mike) and new (Rheanne [sp?]), the bulk of it spent scanning through the FM band (with little success) and harmonizing on the word ‘cheese’ (?). A great deal of the latter was, mercifully, procured during a brief pit-stop in Golden. Lake Abraham is still frozen tight, so we adjust our starting point accordingly, unloading everything and setting up camp at a lovely spot just below the hydro dam at the lower end of the lake. Sharing whiskey and song (mostly whiskey), we celebrate long into the night, anxious to at last hit the water (not too) early in the morning.

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Day 2: The river is glacier-clear (and glacier-cold!), swift-moving, heavily braided, and a tad shallow in places. Our 22′ Mariner was remarkably steady and non-nerve-wracking atop Mike’s pickup, and its performance in the water is much the same. In rapids (of which this week’s may well be some of the worst we’ll see) the thing is unshakable. The crucial question raised by this first day of paddling (and, worry not, we’ve more or less got a handle on it now): how in heck do we stop this thing?

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What a king must suffer! For he knows, deep down in his heart, that he is a poor, cheap, wormy thing like the rest of us, a sarcasm, the Creator’s prime miscarriage in inventions, the moral inferior of all the animals.
— Mark Twain

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These days are good for the Canadian Conservative Youth Party Alliance.
— Rheostatics (again)

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Perhaps it’s fitting that we were altogether unable to get any CBC on Dana’s wind-up radio out here. Given the results we’re hearing — huddled around in the fading daylight, listening through the static to some sleazy Calgary AM talk radio station’s election coveragewho knows: the CBC may well soon be difficult to find on the dial…

Or perhaps it’s fitting that I never felt the slightest bit of the hangover I deserved this morning: because this — this — makes my whole body ache.

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Or perhaps it’s best to leave any further political musings until I’m well out of Alberta.

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Day 3: Did I mention that this water is effing frigid?!

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This Nalgene was used earlier today to mix Vega vanilla-flavoured protein drink. The water I am drinking tastes of vanilla.

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Spotted today: elk, moose, deer (pl.), swans, ravens (barrel-rolling), Cda. geese (omnipresent), sandhill cranes (of the prehistoric skronk), etc.

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The plastic jug we keep water in, in its previous life held vegetable oil. The water I am drinking tastes of vegetable oil.

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Day 4: Trip into Rocky Mtn. House for fuel: propane, veg. oil, lighters, coffee, etc. (Speaking of fuel: if only there were some way to harness the gases bottled up in the tent in the am…). Stumbling about this maddening Rocky Mtn. suburbia — in Crocs, still-soaked quick-dries, flannel shirts, neck-beards, suntans, etc. — is a positively surreal experience.

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Day 8: [I assure you, things happened days 5-7; I’m simply running out of time on this Edmonton Public Library computer station.] A little help from a few Good Samaritans on the Sabbath: one in Devon (a drive up the road and back to fetch water — at the church atop the hill, no less), and a whole pack of ’em in Edmonton (showers, water, wifi, directions, bizarre games, etc.) — assistance for which we are eminently grateful.

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Day 9: Dana and I find breakfast at what is, according to one especially bold windowfront clipping, “the Platonic ideal of greasy spoons.” Most satisfying. Also: there is nothing quite like walking an unfamiliar city early on a Monday morning as it slowly comes to life.

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