July 7th, 2015

Doug and I have discussion “when does a walk become a hike?” We concurred that, if most of the women are carrying purses, it is a walk. Today we “walked” to the end of Lake Louise and then some. Beautiful. Doug’s pictures will prove that!

The lake is a chalky blue, almost milky in color from fine particles of rock that are scraped as the glacier moves down the mountain. The lake is fed by melting glaciers. The silt coming down the mountain is forming mud flats and the sediment that will eventually fill in the lake. The lake will become a meadow when the glacier ends. We wondered how long it will take before Lake Louise becomes a meadow but we will have to wait to get that answer. We believe that that is how Yosemite Valley was formed.

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This trip has really shown us how dependent we have become on the Internet. So many of my ” why” questions go unanswered. Today we paid $2 for 15 minutes of Internet connection. Tomorrow they are having a special for $5 all day! You have to sit on the sidewalk or on a bench outside a small office called “The Depot” and have a wireless connection. Phone cellular data is crazy expensive. Verizon is selling us 100 megabytes ( megabytes now – 1/10th of a GB) for $25. That translates into $250 per GB. Our Verizon plan in the USA has 15 GB for $50 per month. If we bought that 15 GB here is would const us $3750 a month! I bet there is some fascinating governmental regulatory reason for this amazing  difference.

We have actually considered coming back into the U.S. as we travel west just so we can text or make a phone call. I have even resorted to writing an occasional post card : )

The bike trails here are great, not paved but compact gravel.

This evening we went to a Ranger presentation on the Year in the Life of a Grizzly. Did you know that an adult Grizzly eats the equivalent of 75 Big Macs a day (200,000 Buffalo Berries a day) during the 6 months they are not hibernating? In addition, the sow grizzly will go into labor and deliver up to two cubs during hibernation!  These babies are a little over 1 pound at birth and are hairless.  Apparently she wakes up for the big event. Cleans up the cubs, shows them the food supply and goes back into her deep sleep while the cubs eat and grow. When spring time comes, they exit the den and start looking for Buffalo berries and tourists. Incidentally these cubs are not twins but the grizzly has delayed implantation of embryos from potentially several mates!

Local Grizzly Photo While Walking

They have done a lot here in the park to protect the bear population as well as the human population. This large camp ground has an area for “soft” side camping and another for “hard” sided vehicles, like our RV. The area for tents is surrounded by a very unobtrusive fence that is electrically charged to keep the bears out of that area ( or is there to keep the people in?) – remember Jurassic Park? Our area is unprotected since we can keep our food easily secured and we can stay up at night counting the bears. (kidding)  There is a train that comes near the park it seems every 2 hours day and night. We could not understand why the engineers seem to lay on the horn. Apparently the trains are the number one killer of bears in the park. Total number of bears counted is 60. The train is also the number one cause of insomnia and eventual psychosis in the campers, particularly if you are trapped inside of an electric fence for the night – !!

Another interesting thing they do here to protect the wildlife is called “twinning”. As we were driving on the highway into the park we noticed what appeared to be very short tunnels on the road. They are actually overpasses for the animals to get from one side of the busy highway to the other side. Does it really work, we asked? We were told that 10 species of large mammals use these. A great way to prevent road kill.

Doug accuses me of changing the subject without telling him where I am going with the conversation…..ATTENTION….. I am changing the subject and going back to our conversation with Harry and his wife (Black Foot chief) of July 4th. We asked them if referring to them as Indians was offensive or would they prefer to be called Native Americans. He was OK with either but prefers Native American. We also talked about all the controversy about current the trend of forcing team names to be be changed to be politically correct. Harry and Jana said the only term that is ” highly offensive” is the name Redskins. I was always taught the it was the Indians that scalped the white man. Harry said it was the English settlers that paid a bounty for Indian skins and scalps first, not the other way around….hence the name “redskin’. He also said that the price paid was different if the scalp was that of a child as opposed to an adult. It seems the brutality was horrendous on both sides. Doug and I have always thought this “Redskins” issue was silly bickering in a world with so many other important issues to address….talking to Chief Harry helped us see “Redskins” through the Chief’s eyes. A good day… a lesson learned and our opinion changed with knowledge of the origin of this name. The chief is fine by the way with Indians, Warriors, Braves etc. Those are honoring Native Americans. “Redskins” is a dark term of slaughter for bounty and the cheapening of human life.