Alaska, the Last Frontier - Summer 2012 travel blog







The boat dock at Minnewanka Lake was far less busy today. The ticket taker for the boat tour told us that yesterday was a day when locals could take the trip for free. No wonder it was so busy! We’ve been struck by how many folks working here are not Canadian. The ticket taker was from England and the narrator on the boat was from Tokyo. He had a thick, but understandable accent. He told us lots of interesting information, but it felt like he should be talking about Kabuki Theater rather than geology. Although Minnewanka is a natural lake, a dam raised the water level 350 feet and combined it with two other nearby lakes. The flooding erased a small town and scuba divers who are certified in both cold water diving and high altitude diving enjoy coming here and exploring between the old log cabins.

It sounds like the best times for animal viewing are before geezers like us hit the road. The guide was confronted by some black bears as he bicycled to work a few days ago. He said the mountain sheep we saw yesterday were licking salt off the rocks. We still don’t understand why the rocks are salty in the first place, though.

The dock area was thick with May flies. This was especially bad luck on our part since these flies are only alive one week a year. Although Minnewanka is normally a good fishing lake, the trout are so full of May flies which they can catch just by swimming around with their mouths open, that they are not interested in mere lures. Trout caught here commonly weigh 7 - 8 pounds, and a record 57 pound one was caught recently by a woman who had never fished before. Beginner’s luck!

Ken spent a sizable chunk of the afternoon trying to activate a Canadian sim card for his Ipad so we can have reasonably priced data (internet) service while we are in Canada. He sparred with two different companies - one said he could only get a reasonably price plan if he had bought his Ipad from them. The other said that he needed a Canadian drivers’ license to get their plan. Grrr... So we might just disappear for days at a time before we can update this blog. We’ll post whenever we can.

After spending our days here outside hiking and looking for animals, it was time for a bit of “culture.” We went to a dinner show called “Oh Canada Eh?” that had gotten good buzz. It was a musical review that alternated the courses of a meal with songs by Canadians. It was a surprise to us to realize that so much of the music that we have often thought of as our American music, was really written and performed by our neighbors to the North. Examples of this are: the music of the Broadway musical “Hair,” and songs like “American Woman,” “Rock Me Gently,” and “Summer of ’69.” We shared a table with a couple from Medicine Hat who knew the words to all the songs, many of which were not familiar to us. The performers were light hearted and campy, but the affection and patriotism they felt, was heart warming. Instead of giving us a program at the door, we got a “Moose Paper,” which had some comments that capture the spirit of the show. It contained items such as:

You Know You’re Canadian When...

You design your Halloween costumes to fit over your snow suit.

Back Bacon and Kraft Dinner are two of your favorite food groups.

You understand the sentence, “Can you just pass me a serviette, I just spilt my poutine.”

You know that Toronto is not a province.

You find -40ºC a little chilly, but it’s a dry cold.

Did You Know...

The longest street in the world is Yonge Street, located in Toronto.

There are 16,000 trees for every Canadian.

Canada is the second largest country in the world.

Now you know too.

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