A Doctor Brewster Higley had composed in 1870s a well known song, ‘Home On The Range’. His description of the countryside and the atmosphere is quite spot on when venturing through the Prairies.
Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam
And the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard
A discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.
I had three hours to trek before reaching a landmark – the Alberta border. Two provinces to go. Hip Hip Hari! That milestone, Brenda and Victoria, from the town East End, joined Daruka and I for that special moment. This called for a celebration with a picnic, compliments of our friends, the two additional walkers. For me, the hummus was the main feature of the roadside meal before we picked up to meander the quiet streets of Walsh, population 52.
The cross-the-border-feat entailed Daruka and I leaving Highway 13 which had turned to gravel in a practically peopleless zone, and making one more leap north to the only nearby east west passage, Highway 1, or the Trans Canada Highway. It was not so much by choice that we came to this much busier four lane road. There is less charm here, but it was a practical move we had to make.
Obligations for an evening talk in Calgary cut the pleasant walk short today and the three of us, most notably Daruka, and let’s not forget our feathered friend Billy, and I will revisit this piece of the road Tuesday, and resume trekking the amazing trail.
I was left to contemplate on our three hour ride to Calgary of memories stuck in the mind of some fine exchanges with people from Highway 13. It left me pining over that ‘back home feeling’. And then, one farmer, a cattle rancher we met, who had actually turned vegetarian for a time and who had been reading the Gita, remarked in a warm tone, “I’ll be ending up life meeting a big guy who’s blue and has an extra pair of arms.” To that, I had a laugh at the cowboy’s genuine remark.
Home, home on the range!