Monday, July 31, 2006

down by the banks, of the Kickapoo

I have always wanted to go down the Kickapoo River.

I did not say those words. I don’t know much about the Kickapoo River. There isn’t any river, in fact, that I wanted to go down all my life. But I have been itching to kayak again, ever since my delicious run along the rapids of Languedoc last month.

Ed, I say to the man with the boats and good paddling arms, we need to do a river run.

Most people would perhaps not choose to exert themselves on a day when the temps are crossing the hundred degree mark significantly before noon. Most people would enjoy their air conditioning, their ice cold beer or rose wine, their remote controls, or at the very least their back yards, preferably with the sprinkler on.

I don’t have a back yard. To get close to nature, I need to leave town.

Most people, when they do choose to do strenuous activities on a day when the temps are crossing the hundred degree mark very early in the day, set out even earlier. Not me. I have to eat my granola, drink my latte, study any number of things on the Internet. Indeed, Ed and I are famous for starting late on our hikes.

By 11 a.m. we are speeding due west in Ed’s pickup truck, kayaks and bikes bouncing in the back for the several hour trip to the Kickapoo. I feel very regional-seasonal, what with the rolled down window of the old pickup truck, and the radio crackling loudly as it tries to reach for fleetingly available stations.

We leave our bikes at the point where we will finish our trek down the river. We drive up to a bridge some miles up and unload the kayaks.

The Kickapoo has the reputation of being the crookedest river in the world. Maybe. It did seem to twist and turn an awful lot. It’s also not boring. Heavily wooded banks…

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…sandstone cliffs, ferns and firs…

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And the usual water wildlife. Nothing to get nervous about… [This guy is staring at me, challenging me with his tongue, I swear! Or so it seemed at the time.]

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But it most certainly was hot. At times I felt I was floating down the Mississippi, oh somewhere around Mississippi, the state. I doubt the Kickapoo looks anything like the Mississippi, the state, but still, I imagine southern rivers to feel like this on a hot summer day:

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In sunny spots, it’s all you could do to keep your clothes on. Empty stretches of river, the hot sun on your shoulders – oh, to be in southern France again and let that wind cool your skin from all sides!

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But no. This isn’t the Mississippi, this isn’t the Mediterranean, this is the Kickapoo in Wisconsin.
Oh, watch it! Move! (Does my insurance cover kayak collision with cows?)(Paddle furiously backwards.)

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where is everyone?

It was near 6 by the time we reach the landing where we had deposited our bikes. Four solid hours of paddling in the 100 plus plus temps calls for a pause. We are in the village of LaFarge, population 775. Nothing much happening on a Sunday evening in LaFarge when the thermometer is still registering 99 (yep; note the numbers in photo below). Wait, there’s always a bar to be found.

Can you go inside and see what this one is like?
Nina, if I am going inside, I’m staying inside. This isn’t like a restaurant that you check out to see if the décor and menu are appropriate.

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Inside, the AC is running hard. The air is a musty cool, saturated with the heady combination of tobacco, beer and fried foods. Gunsmoke is up on the two TV screens. The bar tender comes over to take our orders. He catches our glance up at the screens.

Sorry, not much else on on a Sunday evening.

We order Spotted Cows (the beer), french fries and pretzels. A sign reads “good eats!” Fries seem like the best bet.

Outside, the air is still. I had worried about storms (Will I get hit by lightening? I don’t know, Nina), but sometime when we were out on the river, the last cloud disappeared and the sky turned a solid blue. We bike back along the old highway. The sun is low, the colors are sublime.

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The truck is there, we load up, go back for the kayaks and head due east. It’s dark now – the stars are out. Ed wants to stop for an ice cream bar at a Kwik Trip. Heath Crunch. Save the Last Dance for Me on the radio, sticky everything from the heat, Heath Crunch melting fast in the warm pickup. Am I living the American life, or what?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

tomorrow, tomorrow, i love ya, tomorrow

Please do not ask of me to post more than this sentetence: my day had it all -- sweltering heat (upwards of 100), grueling upper-body, then, just to make it complete, lower body muscle work, snakes, birds, fallen trees, beer with the locals... In other words, it was full.

I am home, it is midnight. Tomorrow morning, I will think about all this again. Til then.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

out and about

Yesterday I set out to Rubin’s off the Square to buy a chest of drawers. I took Mr.B not because I thought I could cart it back home in one of his saddle bags, but because I had another errand to run nearby (framing my treasured canvases from Pierrerue) and parking is always tough downton.

I did not find it to be a problem to cart two large canvases on a bicycle. I put them in an extra large trash bag and they sort of flopped like a sail as I sped along Washington Ave.

At Rubin’s, they did not have a chest of drawers for me. But there was one at the far west Rubin’s. So I biked there to take a look.

It was close to 100 degrees yesterday, but Mr.B has his own air conditioning system (it’s called the wind as you speed along) and so I did not mind.

At the far west side Rubin’s, I fell in love with a lamp. It has a large glass shade with orange and blue splashes of color. I purchased it on the spot.

Can I wrap it for you in bubble wrap? – the salesperson asks.
If you wrap it in bubble wrap, it wont fit into Mr. B’s saddle bags.
(I know, I have just made Mr.B sound like a horse, but what else do you call those big bags over his rear wheel?)
How is it that you’re taking this?
On a bike. If I fall, it will crack no matter how much bubble wrap you puff it out with. But I haven’t fallen for more than a year so chances are good that lamp and I will make it home.

Lamp is heavy. I push forward, pausing to buy several ears of corn at a stand, a baguette at Wild Grains and a jug of rose wine at Steve’s. At Border’s I refresh myself with a latte.

At Whole Foods I pick up some olives. I come out with more than just olives and as I stand contemplating how I can stretch the saddle bags even further out to accommodate the additional nectarines and pea pods, someone comes up and tells me: your bike attracted quite the attention a few minutes ago. People were talking about whom it may belong to.

Don’t others routinely ride around on bikes with bright yellow fenders in 100 degree days with lamps and baguettes sticking out of their saddle bags and jugs of wine and ears of corn packed tightly in between?

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This morning I was out of my superman clothes and going about as if life was normal and the world was full of happy children holding sunflowers and orange balloons. I left Mr.B at home.

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UPDATE (in response to commenters): the lamp:

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Friday, July 28, 2006

simply sardine

Much has been written about Madison’s newest bistro-like eatery, Sardine (same chefs, same owners as Marigold Kitchen). Click on virtually any blog around town and you’re going to come across a comment or a review. Okay, maybe that overstates things a bit, but I swear, I’ve seen stuff out there in fistfuls, it seems.

So I had to try it.

I love a good bistro. You’re not supposed to be wowed by the food. You’re just supposed to think -- now that was one nicely cooked dinner! And I thought just that.

I do not want to write a review here – I don’t really want to go into detail about how the grilled to a delicate crisp sardines were dazzling in a lemon and olive oil sauce and how the salmon swam in a sea of flavorful lentils, wilted spinach and many chunks of portabella mushrooms. My writing style is way too placid to do justice to a good eating place and so I’ll back off and let others write great things about dishes such as this one:

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I do want to note one thing, in case others have forgotten to say it. Sardine has energy! Look how many young and with it people are hopping around and slicing bread and what not, while other very with it looking people are lapping it all up (were this a review, I would draw your attention to the yummy cauliflower soup with the drizzle of olive oil):

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Some blogger, can’t remember which one – sorry – compared it to Balthazar’s in NY. I have passed Balthazar’s numerous times because it’s close to a subway stop I use to get to the general Village area in the city. It always looks packed and everyone looks pleased to have landed a reservation. So in that way alone the comparison seems apt. There, I favorably compared Sardine to one of NY’s hippest bistro-like places!

Another blogger – again, can’t remember who, sorry sorry – said that the décor is way common, what with the exposed beams and the brick walls. Well I live in a building that looks much like that and I have to say, if it’s good enough to live in, then it’s good enough to eat in.

(By the way, may I again repeat how nice it is to live in a loft with tall windows and skylights? In the summer, the place shouts: light! Riding by on my bike today, I looked up at my window and smiled.)

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So, I am happy to add Sardine to my list of reasons not to cook. And no, I’m not simply being all chipper about it because they had all these bottles of red stuff:

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Thursday, July 27, 2006


It is still dark. I force myself to sit down to work. I click on the forecast. Hot, humid days ahead. Good. I need them. I need to feel saturated so that November (and the winter months thereafter) does not seem like such a disappointment.

My workmen gather (how quickly they have become “mine!” Repetition breeds familiarity. I work, they come outside my window and drink coffee, there at 5:30, every morning. Hi guys.)

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What are the colors of today’s sunrise? When I was little, I used cornflower blue to outline puffy clouds on pictures. They must not have been sunrise clouds for these are bordered in pink or orange.

The sun has crossed the horizon. At this time of the year, it comes up smack in the middle of the cut up tree. I feel sorry for the tree – it is tall and beautiful but it made the mistake of growing by electric cables and so it has been made to look like a wishbone of a chicken.

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I take Mr. B to work. The saddle bags which carried 35 lbs of groceries yesterday (I balanced another 10 lbs on the handlebar) are carrying texts needed for class this day. And cookies.

Class moves along nicely. The students offer wise and sensible comments. It feels like a conversation. Summer classes, I learn, are more relaxed. I could wear shorts and it would be okay. (I do not. I like summer skirts.)

Suddenly we hear a rumble. Another. More like a roar. Out of nowhere an orange dot has appeared over Madison (so tells me a student who happened to click on the weather site, with radar indicating a newly developing storm).

Class ends. It is pouring outside. What happened to the pretty little clouds outlined in pink and orange?

It lets up a little. I go out. The Bascom Mall sidewalk is somewhere there, beneath a layer of water.

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Mr.B looks miserable. His saddle bags are drooping. I had left my helmet out, on his handlebars. I squeeze the strips and let the water out. Why bother? It is wet, everything is wet. And as I get on his wet seat, I see that things are about to get even wetter.

It is raining again. The temperature has dropped from a morning high of 86 to a now not so warm 70. I see that there is flooding on University so I peddle down to Dayton. It’s worse there. I am reminded of biking to work in winter. Get me indoors already! And please, let me not take a tumble now!

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I manage by moving on and off of sidewalks. I try to protect my camera. I myself am beyond wet.

All I can think of is the café on Main Street where they know my favorite drink.

At last. I look ridiculous, I know. Like I've been freshly oiled for a wrestling match. I am not beyond posting ridiculous looking photos of me, taken by me at the café. They are used to my oddities there. I always ask for an extra hot latte, even in hot and humid summer days. If you get it extra hot it lasts longer.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

what is it about me...

…that I cannot sit through a class without getting ridiculously hungry? Even if (especially if) I am the one teaching?

It can be rationalized this way: working on a new course keeps me up all hours. Recent studies indicate that the less you sleep, the more you eat. So true. I have made five separate trips to the grocery store in the last week and still, the fridge seems empty. The culprit? Me.

[Today I remedied that. I rode Mr. B to Whole Foods and panted back with 45 pounds worth of groceries. How do I know it was 45? I weighed in when I returned just to see how many pats on the back I should give myself.]

So why this sudden appetite? Well, if I start having breakfast thoughts at 5 a.m. (actually at 2, but I disregard the early nudge toward granola), then surely, by 10 a.m., I cannot ignore the gnawing feeling that it should be dinnertime soon.

Today I asked my class during break this (n.b. the class runs two and a half hours, three days in a row each week, hence the insane amount of work on nights before; please, no comments about how, had I not hiked, biked or bought bread from the bread lady in Languedoc, perhaps I could have had a more sane month now):
Is it just me, or is anyone else really hungry?
It’s you
. (They are an honest lot.)
(I was not deterred. I continued): you know, during my Spring Semester seminar, people brought food to share…
…(sigh) I suppose it was different: late afternoon classes require sustenance…
(finally, on a sympathetic note): I was in that class. People brought whole meals!
(with hope in my heart): we don’t have to quite go that far…
(a voice pipes in): I could bake scones…
(another one): I’ll pass a sign up sheet.

And that’s how I got to have in front of me a summer session of good eating. I promised, in exchange, a long enough break so that we could run down the hill and pick up decent coffee. It’s only fair.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

morning whispers

It is Tuesday, barely after 5 in the morning. I am at my table, facing the window. These are teaching weeks for me and I need the concentrated quiet of the night and morning to move my lecture notes along.

I have before me a familiar sight. Across the railroad tracks there is a dirt lot. The nearby construction projects have the men leave their cars here for the day and so each morning, before six, you start to hear the quiet rumble of one truck or SUV after another as they pull into empty spaces.

I am surprised this morning because it is barely 5:30. I know they start work at 6. Why so early? The sky is still a musty shade of dark.

A small group gathers at the head of a truck. They have their lunches – mountains of food in coolers big enough to feed my whole family for a great many days. One or two are smoking, a handful are drinking what must be coffee from travel mugs.

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They’re not in a hurry. Words drift up to my window. One man leans on the car, another paces a little.

They come here this early to begin the day exactly like this, standing around, talking, much in the way that Parisian men will leave for work a little earlier just so they can stop first at the local café bar for a shot of espresso.

Just on this one day, I wouldn’t be surprised if both were talking about the same thing – the victory of the American at the Tour de France.

Monday, July 24, 2006

from d.c.: roof with a view

No, this is not a line up of D.C. monuments taken from a tourist destination. It’s the rooftop view from a downtown office building.

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I visited it this morning, curious about the working habits and environments of the many who keep long professional hours here. I’m thinking of those who start the morning with a Starbucks (or Starbucks-look-alikes),

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…drop off dry-cleaning, work intensely, then break for lunch, out with co-workers, or at their desks if the workload is high. Long hours, not much food in the fridge back home, not much time to prepare it. Sometimes, a dinner out, especially if a parent or two are in town, visiting…

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It’s not a bad set of routines if you like your work. The person I tracked to her office this morning does like her work.

If only this were true for all others... So many more hours are spent on work than on any other set of tasks. So many people, forced to work at jobs they hate.

On the Metro back to the airport I looked at the face of this man, getting on at the Pentagon stop. Polished shoes, a nametag that reads "Smith," unrevealing eyes. Does he like his job as well?

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

from d.c.: bears revisited

Oh, travel. An early flight, then another, coffee before, counting the hours so that it would be time for a refill.

Airports. Did I really pick up a reservation for DC – Dulles instead of DC – National? Damn. Can I change it now? I paid 50,000 miles for this – think of it: fifty trips one way and the other, countless hours stuck between coughing, snoring passengers.

I am at National. Thank you, airline, for letting me switch.

I need to get downtown. People are in a hurry. Or, as I noted before, they wait. It is in the nature of things. Find a spot, stretch out, wait for something significant to happen. So what’s her hope?

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According to the Smithsonian museum poster boards, those involved with the work of the zoo are there for a purpose and that purpose is not only to make the animal feel good while the hours pass by. It is also to understand what makes the animals tick. To know their habitat, to help them get up and running from one minute to another.

The crowd control to see the baby panda works well. Before and after, kids are snapping up a modest number of mamma bear mementos (father bear is an unspeakable ass to be staying away from the baby, as he routinely does).

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Good foods, clear skies, tired me. I should have nibbled on some bamboo on my way up here.

Contentment. Easy to find, no? If you are visiting daughters, it’s a breeze. It’s all over the place.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

from Jason’s chair

My pals were still cavorting back in Chicago, but at midnight, I finally stopped playing, stopped eating…

[Q: where am I? what am I eating?]

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…and took a taxi to my overnight spot and crashed. Just for a small while. In the wee hours of the morning, I caught the early bus out to Madison, making it here in time to catch the tail end of this:

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…against the backdrop of this week’s storm damage:

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…but more importantly, in time to show up promptly for my appointment with the genius of color, Jason.

It had been three months since I had seen him. I am more addicted to monthly visits with him than I am to either lattes or wine with dinner and that’s saying a lot. Still, my travels had kept me away and, shock to my system that it was, once, at the beginning of June, I forced myself to visit a French salon, to touch up that, which the sun refused to bleach and match with the rest.

I expected to witness a look of horror on Jason’s face when we first faced each other, but he is a cool guy and he looked, for the most part, unfazed (I’m sure I saw an ever slight tightening of the jaw muscle, but just for a fleeting second).

You want to try to match all this? – he asked, picking up strand after strand of hair that had reached a very golden retriever like shade, from the combination of south France sun and high Rockies rays.

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Yes, don’t you think it’s a good look for the summer?
Playful, sure. Can we let go of some of the copper tones and bring out some deeper shades from the back of the head?

I knew he wouldn’t like the copper tones. Right now, my head has so many shades that I could not possibly sift and sort through it all.

You pick! – I said. I sensed that this would sit well with him. Jason likes to be entrusted with the whole business.

And you’ll let me put some shape into the cut as well? More pointed and even on both sides?
(A slight dig at the cutting talents of French stylists, I think.)
Yes, yes of course. You’ll fix it, wont you?

I could tell he was mellowing. He started to speak positively of the French, admitting to wanting to visit Paris this fall. I didn’t push things. I continued to insert a few mocking comments directed at the salon I had visited in Montpellier (do you know that they reused a hairbrush that had detangled the hair of another patron?) just to keep the good vibes flowing.

The evening rolled in with storms again. Not the strength of those that knocked down trees on Capitol Square, but still, ones with loud rolls of thunder. But between Jason and me, there was peace. I like it that way. Note the surreptitious grin on his face as I quickly snuck in a photo on my way out.

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Friday, July 21, 2006

in chicago: crab apple

I can’t make up my mind. The couple of people I’m hanging out with in Chicago show signs of being heavy party types, ready for a wild ride…

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afternoon hurricanes

…and at other times, the ride settles down to a smooth and tame stroll. You know, as-conventional-as-apple-pie.

Or, Apple computers. Yes, a highlight of this afternoon was to play with stuff at the Apple store.

Ocean author, Tonya Show author

It has been, in addition, an eating kind of day. (Oh please, act surprised.) When the skies start with the drizzle and you’re right around the corner from Heaven on Seven, you sit down and order batter-fried soft shell crab and eat.

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how do you choose the right sauce?

in chicago: waiting

When you travel from smaller cities to bigger ones, the connections are harrowing. Get yourself to the bus station. Take the tedious, overly-airconditioned bus to O'Hare. Then figure out a quick way to get downtown.

Waiting. For travelers, there is always a lot of waiting. If you are like me, there is less waiting and more dashing to make connections.

This morning, I ran into O'Hare to get a latte fix before heading downtown. Predictably, at O'Hare, others were also engaged in the act of waiting.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

in the matter of birthdays

A friend is celebrating her birthday today (and, actually, the next day and the next and a few days before – she believes in noting milestones). In two weeks, one of my daughters is turning twenty-five. Yet another friend despises birthdays, arguing that each and every day should be celebrated with vim and vigor.

I’m panting to keep up with the handful of birthdays that cross my calendar. I was late with my father’s 80th (he lives in Poland – for a minute I believed, wanted to believe, that they are seven hours behind us rather than ahead, clockwise), I’m sure I missed the opportunity to be especially nice to people who had spring and summer birthdays and have done nothing special for them in ages.

To be on a birthday high year-round? To be chirpy and effervescent, to pick up rounds of drinks, to hand out flowers –daily? No, I couldn’t do it. Even your kids, at their youngest, permit you an hour off every year or so to be without inhibition (meaning grumpy and mean). Being toward another as if it were her or his birthday each day would be as stressful as facing five grizzlies on a hiking path, which you did not notice because you were preoccupied with fending off a herd of charging elk.

But tomorrow, I am on! I can do a day’s worth of good behavior. See you in Chicago, TTC!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I wonder just how many Ocean readers have muttered – oh big deal. So she pressed her pointy, released the shutter and posted. Blog posts on Mediterranean countries and the Canadian Rockies write themselves.

Of course, my various traveling companions would say – it may be easy for others, but not for the Ocean author. She can take forever with her posts! Much of her time appears to be spent staring mournfully at the screen of her laptop. An interesting way to pass away the hours…

Okay, so I am up for a challenge. If it’s easy to cover my rambles around the Mediterranean and the Rockies, let me see if there is anything original that I can note about Chicago or DC. My itinerary for the next four days looks like this: Madison, Chicago, Madison, DC, Madison. I know, there are more stopovers in there than there are days. Somehow it will all fit.

Someone asked me – why the Madison interlude right there in the middle? My answer: it’s because of Jason. I am to see my man Jason on Saturday, after a three month absence. Since my last cut and color, I have gone from Jason-picked brunette to Mediterranean-bleached blonde to Montpellier-tinted a little bit of everything.
The colors of the world. But the reality is that on Tuesday I have to face a class and I am determined that I should look more, well, normal.

Ah well. This is my final acquiescence to the reality of work and order. My hair has survived the hot sun across the ocean and the glacier waters of Canada. And now it has to again get used to the routine of wake up, shower, work, eat, sleep. For one day anyway.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

wild things

A hoary marmot hibernates eight to nine months out of each year. I think this is a hoary marmot:

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It may be the environment that makes him (her?) into such a sleepy little beast because last night, up there near the summit of Mount Robson I slept twelve hours straight. In the one and a half person tent no less (meaning, conditions weren’t ideal).

The previous night I fared less well. We reached our campsite just as the clouds spilled their waters on us. Things were wet and clammy inside the tent and at sunrise, the temperatures plummeted to below freezing. That night, for only the second time during this trip, I felt crying might not be a bad idea (the first, of course, was up there on the mountain ledge some days back).

Ed, of course, failed to see the reason for any expression of great sadness. Wet tent? What are you gonna do. Take out a book and read. My book was clamped shut from the water and I refused to pry open its pages.

The thing is, you have to expect sudden clouds and storms up there near Mount Robson’s summit. This is the highest peak of the Canadian Rockies and it makes up its own weather patterns. And, nearly 50% of the time the peak itself remains under cloud cover. So that on the approach the views are often like this:

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But on Sunday, the clouds took a trudge. We had timed our final ascent well. Hugging the Robson River, milky aqua from the “rock flour” that it picks up along the way…

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…we made it all the way up to the base of the glaciers racing down the mountainside.

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Fine, they weren’t really visibly racing. But every once in a while you’d hear an explosion and a few feet of snow and rock would cascade down in your direction. Forget about fear of bears. I was certain an avalanche would happen if we so much as sneezed. I hated the two hikers who passed with double-duty bear bells. If you ask me, it was like an invitation for the snow and rock to come crashing down on us all.

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courageous climber attends to hair for photo

Still, a preoccupation with the peak(s) leads you sometimes to neglect what’s there at your feet. These guys, swaying gently at the river’s edge – such a nice balance to the rocky summits surrounding them:

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Or, the thin ribbons of water, coming together to form a lake:

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Or the mosses and flowers. Please let me give due recognition to the gorgeosity of the little things that grow up there.

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Alright, let me get to the pressing question. When you come back from a Canadian wilderness trip, people want to know about the animals that you encountered. Face to face. My score sheet:

Lots of marmots (see post below and photo above). And plenty of fat little red squirrels who ate anything that you would leave outside your tent. A coyote running across the road. Birds that swim underwater to get their grub (such talent):

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And the dramatic elk who take such pride in showing me their rears.

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The bears as well. Five grizzlies were frolicking on the beach near our first campsite. No photo taken. Moving closer just so you, Ocean reader, could see a grizzly at play seemed, well, foolish. Here we were spending money on bear mace to fend the beasts off --- the least we could do is not get in their face when they were gracious enough to leave us alone.

The showstoppers, according to me, were the mountain goats that we encountered just today. I violated the three-bus rule just for a second, and I could well have trudged even closer than the two and a half bus lengths that I did, so intent were they on nibbling on grass roots. They cared not at all about me being there and they’ll never know that I am awarding them the Ocean medal for cuteness of the week.

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So, perhaps you want to know my final verdict on camping. A qualified thumbs up. Leaky tent is going out with the trash. New acquisitions: deep blue Fontana rain jacket, 10 degree REI sleeping bag were a make it or break it thing. They gave me warmth. They gave me comfort. I love them to pieces.

Canadian yellow day pack and equally golden toned walking stick were also a smashing success.

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I know, I know, so American to find solace in these acquisitions. I tallied up the cost of the above, threw in the cost of my backpack and came up with a total that would just about cover one night’s stay at the Four Season’s hotel in some splendid destination.

Still, I would do it again for the feeling of accomplishment. For the push forward with the stick when the body says – no way, leave me alone. For the fantastically buoyant hair that is the result of a wash in the ice cold glacier waters of the brook. So cold that the head hurts after the first rinse. For the roasted garlic bread and the tomato, lugged to some desolate spot with a view that beats all. For the sweetly fragrant pine forests, for the animals crossing your path, the quiet, the incredible quiet – I would do it all over again.

But there has to be a defined path, a rain-proof tent and an effective, pleasant smelling bug repellant.

And don’t forget a hiking companion who isn’t freaked at the same moment that you are by some incredibly dangerous (according to me) situation.
Will we get struck by lightening?
Hmm. Probably not.

Will I get eaten by a bear?
I don’t think so.
Isn’t that bear hair?
It’s tree moss.
It’s damn wet in here!
So it is. Read a book.
Will I make it up there to the top?

You can scream up and down a mountain faster than anyone.

Oh, and a decanted bottle of Canadian white. Not a necessity, but it helps.

It's Tuesday. Time to head back home.

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