She Said:Still doing laundry. Caught up to present now. It's July 4th. Crazy busy at the camp ground today. Line ups for ice and coffee at the visitor centre. We ran out of propane and didn't want to buy a new one yet, so I cooked pancakes, eggs and sausage on the grill over the fire this morning. Turned out great. Leisurely morning just cleaning up and re-packing and kids playing with each other (for the most part without fighting). Then Brad took the kids on a scavenger hunt (organized KOA activity) while I found stamps and mailed postcards from the other day. Ryan wrote his own. He's awesome! Before we left the girls and I went on a 1 hour horse trail ride. It was nice. Quite slow and hot but a lovely setting and the girls enjoyed their first real horse ride. Saw some wild tigerlillies in the pasture and I pointed out to the girls that grandma loves those flowers. I was also reminded of the last time I rode a horse in the foothills west of Rocky Mountain House. 20 years ago. My dad advised me to be wary of bears. I said "no worries, horses are faster than bears." To which he replied "even faster once they've gotten rid of you". Good point dad. Speaking of bears, we read a pamphlet thing today that informed us that there are no more wild bears around here. They have a wildlife preserve that we drove through today called "Bear Country". It has elk, big horn sheep, mountain goats, deer, wolves, caribou and a few others that I could find in Jasper on any average day. But the highlight animals are the many many black and caramel bears. We must have seen 30 on our $52 drive through this afternoon. The kids had fun with their cameras. There was also 1 grizzly. It didn't get the large pasture to frolic in like the black bears did. It had a zoo-like habitat to pace in. Sad. The section with the grizzly was a walk through part that had foxes, coyotes, badgers, etc. and a dozen or so baby black bears. The sign posted there discussed how 40% of wild black bears never make it past their first year. But these bears are cared for and thrive. Sounded a little too much like they were trying to rationalize away our feelings of it being wrong to cage these animals, even in a large meadow. 60% first year survival rate is the price of freedom. The whole thing makes me start philosophizing about my own life and our "civilized" existence. Sure we live to 100 now but how much living are we actually doing......... He Said: Yeah, the animal thing was kind of depressing. But at least they didn't get out there with cattle prods and poke them out onto the road (which, for $52, they should've. I'm writing a letter). Some animals I've already seen, from your slow moving car. Gillian got a pocket knife with "G" on it. Probably the closest she'll get to a personalized item on this trip. We'll see how owning the pocket knife goes. Shannon, G, and now M seem to be sick, so we'll see how that goes also. I can't afford to hit a doctor down here. I know I'm over simplifying it, and there are good private plans, work-supplied plans, etc, but still - I once went to the doctor because I had an itch. An itch. I'm just saying. Oh, and Shannon cracked me up in the morning. I should make note of that occasion. Motel, imaginary family. Inside joke but worth noting. No fireworks tonight. Seems to be the trend judging from the op-eds; I'm not American and even I find that surprising. It's the freakin' fourth of July, people. Our forefathers didn't fight and die so we could NOT sit around watching shiny lights in the sky. You know who else isn't having fireworks today? Russia.
Day 7 - Hill City to Rapid City
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