looking out

A long weekend and the valley bottom is alive with ruck, revellers stirring it up.

Luckily I was wrestling with a nasty sewer pipe and stubborn toilet flange, protecting me from the glut of overindulgence the town has become. The trip to the hardware to pick up closet bolts was a doozy.

Still, I stuck my head out long enough to see the young Cedar Waxwings picking the berries off an Ornamental Cherry. The blue sky crowding the Sunflowers. And the weed doing its best in the lowered sun.

I’ve left out the picture of the sewer pipe and the crowds, I’ve had enough of them for a day.

Purple Kush

mess

Covid has sent people looking for recreation in the bush. It is one of the few things the government has encouraged people to do. Some trails have become exceptionally busy. Other places have been destroyed by people looking for a place to party and shoot off guns. Garbage and destruction has become commonplace.

Lisa and I have enjoyed the trails and roads up Windermere Creek for years. It is one of the first spots I can remember following my father through the bush. Logging and mining have taken it’s toll. Because this spot is close to the valley bottom it has attracted record numbers of tourists running snowmobiles, All Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s) and four wheel drives. The result is a mess around every corner.

That is not to say Albertan’s are responsible for all the mess. They alone don’t hold ownership on stupidity. Unfortunately we get some of Alberta’s worst out here, however, sadly, there is plenty of locals that also fit the profile.

This winter, someone tried pulling the water pipe out of the underground spring many get their drinking water. In all the years passing this spot I’d never seen such nonsense.

In this spot bottles and cans, garbage, live trees cut, old TV’s (to shoot at), snowboards, mufflers (possibly stolen for the catalytic converters), a truck canopy and spent rifle and shotgun shells.

Every spring Lisa and I clean some of these areas and take the garbage to the dump. Not this year. It is too much of a mess and it will only be added too. These spots are spoiled. They have already become dumping spots.

My hope is the yahoos and dipshits will stick to these spots, happy to trash these areas only. I know that is wishful thinking.

As for me, I’m not going back for two reasons; it’s painful to see and I’d be tempted to carry a club.

Boxing Day

A quiet Christmas with all of our families staying within their households. The foot of snow a few days earlier helped the spirit.

Lisa and I had a small turkey. It provided plenty of leftovers and broth for soup. The woodpile is holding up. I mix tamarack and fir, pine and birch, keeping the pitchy stuff for kindling.

It is hard to know when we will all be together again. I try not to think about it much. Having plenty to do keeps my mind off it.

***

The cloud is crushingly low, the backroads are blocked leading to heights above the din.

***

There is plenty of tourists, most from Alberta, skiing, staying, travelling, snowmobiling, dining, partying, defying the no travel recommendations. I don’t worry about them. They can’t be taught or reasoned with. They’re the reason I have a job, thank God.

***

A couple more days off and I’m going to enjoy them.

early august

RCE_0855Walking logs to escape the ruck.

A storm hit tonight. Wind, far off thunder, a few flashes of lightning and very few raindrops. Exactly what we don’t need.

We have a few fires burning around us now. Still the smoke is no where near as bad as last year. . . yet.

A fire is burning in Kootenay National Park. The highway is closed due to smoke. Kelsie, Tom and the kids are coming out this weekend. They will have to take one of two other routes. Either will ad at least a couple hours to the trip.

The province may close the bush down. They do it in increments, first they ban campfires, then ATV’s which they have done. Then they will close access to all the backroads. It drives me crazy but it is necessary.

RCE_0818The sun going down in smoke.

Is it worse now than when I was younger? Is it hotter? It is hard to say. My father always talked about the drought years during the thirties and the importance of keeping a trickle going in the irrigation ditches.

There is so many more people recreating in the mountains. They bring along their own hazards.

RCE_0830Daisies and the sunset in the creek.

Fifty years ago the Forest Service stopped fires promptly, whenever possible, that made matters worse by letting fuel build up.

Studies and explorer David Thompson’s written accounts show the valley bottom as a different place two-hundred years ago. Back then the valley bottom burned.

RCE_0827Smoke filled sky.

The fires started as they do now, by lightening, on the benches or low mountains, and burn towards the creeks and rivers.

The terrain it leaves behind, natural grasslands, is perfect habitat for deer and elk. Also perfect for hunting for the first people who roamed the area and called it home.

Have things changed that much? Damn right they have! But has the wind got hotter, is the sun closer, does lightening strike more often?

Being an environmentalist is like being a priest a hundred years ago. It is somebody with the answers. They know who to blame. Instead of a cross they wear hemp and beads. They know the sinners. David Suzuki has his own channel,  Just like before, they blame everybody but themselves. And just like before there is a lot of followers that regularly sin and go to church on the weekend.

RCE_0851Willow getting her swim.

I am getting too old to hunt in the valley bottom. Willow and I crossed some shaky logs and bad swamp to  get to the water hole. If nature was true I’d be dead by now. Somehow I’m still kicking and grateful.