Day 23 – Ponteix to Assiniboia. Every day I drop enough trail mix (as I scoop it from my handlebar bag and eat it while I ride along) to stop a family of ground squirrels from eating their close relatives for a week. I’m thinking of tipping everything else out of the bag and filling it with just trail mix, then taping a coffee scoop to my index finger for easier dipping. The reason I haven’t done it yet is that it would clearly be insane.
- Today’s Distance (miles/km): 74 / 119
- Time in saddle: 6h 09
- Max/min temp (°c): 36°/10°
- Climb/descend (feet) : 855 / 787
- Calories used: 3,229
- Cafe time: 3h 18
Today is something of a wildlife blog. I cleared out early from Ponteix, and hit the road in the cool of the early morning with all the amazing bird life making the most of this part of the day too. I kept up a good speed until I heard the call of coffee, and stopped in a small town called Hazenmore. This highway has many more possible stopping points, and all of them are more interesting and friendly than is the norm on the Trans-Canada. At the Co-Op I met Ricardo, and lovely guy from Manila, Phillipines, who told me he played the guitar and the uke. I was straight out to the bike and back in a trice with my uke for Ricardo to have a go on:
After receiving so many wonderful limericks over the last two days, you will never believe where I stopped for lunch today:
I celebrated by breaking a personal rule and having a beer with lunch and I paid for it. After lunch, with only 20-odd miles to go, the wind picked up and I had a tough, long, hot and dusty afternoon.
I stopped by a small lake to rest, and was transfixed by the birds around the water and the astounding variety of songs that were burbling away into the prairie air.
At the. very back of the lake a fox (I think, different colouring to ours) was prowling around a big nest/den, then set off across the field watching me closely all the while. He was still trotting about when I finally left. I recorded some audio of the birds but can’t yet find a way to put it in the blog.
Yesterday I had a head-on collision with some genuine Canadian wildlife. A butterfly came hurtling down the highway towards me, all over the empty road, and too fast for me to dodge it. I braked hard, but it slammed into my left thumb knuckle with a gentle “toc!” then careered on past me, flying very erratically. I do hope it makes a full recovery. I’m just glad to see so many more butterflies now I’m off the main highway. Gill and Stewart, back in Canmore, had a very close encounter with a youngish black bear a couple of days ago, and Stewart sent me the photographic evidence:
I came across a heartbreaking bird-tragedy. I’ve seen this stunning yellow bird around a lot in Saskatchewan, but never wanted to see one close up like this.
As I finally made it to Assiniboia for my stop, I saw something that qualifies as a NFC (Normal for Canada). Huge power pylons, except they’re made of 6 huge pieces of timber in an elegant and simple design. Mile upon mile of them stretching further than the eye can see.