Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wild Rosé Country gives way to Big Sky Country

By on Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 8:42 AM

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We leave our beautiful Medicine Hat campground, tucked away in a valley on a lovely little golf course. This is home to the most glorious bird in the west, the ring necked pheasant. Our departure is almost delayed by my mistake loading the Starfish (our Hyundai tow car) onto the tow dolly. The car has to be loaded with exact speed up the ramp. Too little and one has to gun the engine and the tires spin on the metal serrated ramp: not pretty. This time though, I get too much speed and almost over ride the end of the ramp. Quinn is at the front madly holding the car from going over, with eyes wide open telling me to back up. I gingerly reverse and the tires settle into the proper slot, delay diverted.

We dodged another mishap that day too as our resident skateboarder Keenan decided he would take on the steep road winding down into our valley. As he had a Go Pro camera in his hand, we saw it all on film, good speed control at first, then control lost as a truck "foolishly" past and sent him and his board in different directions. Elbows and asphalt don't mix, but outside of a bloody scrape, the lad survived.

Gin and Quinn set out in light rain and we left town delighted to see two pronghorn antelope, grazing at the city limits. Soon after K Dawg and I took the saddle we hit the Saskatchewan border and yipped with delight over our accomplishment. We are now entering the Cypress Hills, the last remaining vestige of the Wild West. Buffalo, mule deer and protection against bitter winter winds made it a sound choice for aboriginals. Sitting Bull and his Ogalla Sioux fled to these hills, Sheridan's union cavalry hot on his heels, after Custer's massacre at the Little Bighorn. They were all set to pursue him and his stragglers across the line, if it weren't for the newly formed NWMP and their commissioner James Walsh, who turned them back and invited the chief into the sanctuary of these hills. Sitting Bull and his people stayed for a couple of years until lured back across the line prompted by news of a final Indian uprising that never materialized. He was murdered by US Army troops soon after his return.

The day dried out but we faced unseasonal Easterlies all day and drafted behind the lead cycler as best we could. The only relief was turning off #1 south towards Maple Creek. Keenan and I screamed down the 8km incline with the wind at our backs, taking vengeance on the nasty Easterlies we had battled all day. Soon we were enjoying the ambiance of our pretty campground, a rack of lamb on the fire, baked potatoes, and heavenly broccoli with a zesty cheese sauce.

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