The Canadians refer to the aboriginal people as First Nations--the tribes that had Christianity and Christians thrust upon them. It wasn't until 2008 when Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, delivered an apology to tens of thousands of indigenous people who were kidnapped as children and sent to boarding schools. Many were abused as part of the official government policy to "kill the Indian in the child."
So much for the polite Canadian stereotype!
While the apology came with a $2B settlement, no one was going overboard and giving any territory back to the First Nations. "First" just denotes an honorary title. Its kind of like my Premier Class status with United Airlines. Most of the time, my "Premier" boarding pass has bold print at the bottom that reads "GROUP 4."
The new owners of the Northern section of the Waterton International Peace Park in Canada are quite welcoming. I gotta say, despite their past genocidal transgressions, the folks in Waterton measure up to the mannerly Canadian stereotype I've grown accustomed to.
We took a tour of Many Glacier before crossing the border for a stop at the Prince of Wales hotel. It sits atop a ridge at one end of Middle Waterton Lake which is also at the tip of a valley. It resembled a fjord. When I walked to one side of the joint, the winds pushed me back. Felix had fun trying to stand on large rocks without being blown off.
Camille decided to get all jingoistic and bought a maple leaf cap to "represent." It was only after her purchase when she asked if we were in another country. I told her we were in the 51st state. She's easy to fool, for now. We've convinced her for the last 36 months that she's a year older than she actually is, so she wouldn't blow our cover for putting her in private school early. Dumb kid!
Yet, Camille gets all the props today for being sworn in as a Junior Ranger. Unlike her delinquent brother, she took the advanced course and chose not to dally with the exercises in the pee-wee book. She stuffed the questions like LeBron James in Game 7 and emerged victorious with her badge. Way to go Milly!
I swooned when a couple of fit, young Canuck women told us that we seem "blended" and "get it." They were saying that we didn't fit the ugly American stereotype. It might have been because we're fans of the CBC or Camille's hat, but wait until they read this post's intro, eh? I've probably ruined my metropolite persona.
Tomorrow my lethargy ends. So does the unnecessary gluttony. Any weight loss from the first few hundred miles was replaced by pie, glorious pie.
Mixed berry pie.
Strawberry Rhubarb pie.
With ice cream. What is pie sans a la mode? It's gateau merde, that's what.
My tan has abated too. The golden farmer sheen hiding my many flaws has returned to the lumpy white finish of an aging mongrel. Curses to clouds, air-conditioning, auto transport and those hours spent watching the Oxygen network!
Pedaling starts again in earnest tomorrow. The mini-vacation with the family is at an end. I'm hoping to persuade them to endure the boring high plains for just a couple of days so I can ride the most jealous of my mistresses: the Colnago CLX.--another bike I am wholly unworthy of.
I'm ambivalent about the ride tomorrow. The anxiousness I had about churning miles each day has passed and I'm gonna miss the family and all of that exorbitant pie. Oh God, the pie up here. It's better than the cat's ass, I mean it.
Speaking of the feline backside is a reminder that my own keister has healed nicely from the break. Now, it's time to render it on the meat-grinding saddle. I think heat is a big factor for derrière issues, so the call for cool rain should help in one area and make me suffer in others.
What lies ahead on Highway 2 East through Montana and North Dakota looks like an eternal slog through prairie and Chinook wind. I hope that the castigation of the White Man in this blog puts the breeze at my back
Enough babbling for tonight. Now, I dream of mountains and pie...or mountains of pie and friendly truckers that yield me a little more room than the shoulder allows.