top of page

33: Sly & Kit

Updated: Feb 27



Dear Friend,


First of all, how are you?


As you contemplate a shareable answer to that, I hope that you have something fun on the horizon (or maybe you have been wishing for a few days with absolutely nothing planned)? … either way, please know, I genuinely hope that you are feeling good & happy right now!


We’re still in Canada. While in Yoho National Park one very early morning, we left camp and drove to the parking lot of a trailhead to Wapta waterfalls. There were several signs along the road to the parking lot that said: “Do Not Leave Valuables In Your Vehicle…” and as we came to the end of the road at (5:30 am), we saw that there were a couple of dirty, run-down vehicles already there. They had obviously been there overnight and we could tell that the occupants were still sleeping.


Anyway, after discussing our options, we decided that I would stay with the truck and Frank would make a solo hike to the waterfall. We had purchased an air-horn and a can of bear spray, it’s what ‘experts’ say to do. Air-horns make a loud, startling noise and bears usually move along so that a hiker can safely pass. The bear spray is a wildly different scenario. If you know me, you know that I would rather not scare or injure any creature, but (believe me) I do understand why people take such precautions.


Frank left with his cellphone, tripod and backpack full of camera. I was able to track him with my cellphone on the ‘Find My’ app. The cell reception in Yoho NP was sporadic but (for a while) we had signal at this place. As the morning light grew bright enough, I read a book, listened for an air-horn and watched Frank’s progress along the trail. He texted me when he got to the falls. He even sent a couple of photos. After an hour or so, he texted:


FRANK 7:17 Heading back

Me 7:17 Make noise

FRANK 7:18 Ok.

Me 7:22 Doing ok?

FRANK 7:22 Yes be back in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, how are you doing?

Me 7:23 Good, watching you walk the trail. The dot stopped moving and I wasn’t sure if you had stopped. People are showing up, taking another trail.

FRANK 7:24 Cool. I got some nice exposures. We were here first. Nobody out here

Me 7:25 That’s Beary good!


About this time, unbeknownst to me, Frank had walked up on a black bear. It was about 40 feet away, blocking his pathway back to the truck. Frank calmly pulled the airhorn off of the side of his backpack and held it up to use if the bear didn’t mosey on. The bear lingered, looking in Frank’s direction. So, Frank lifted and squeezed the airhorn. A sickly quiet, mewly, whine sounded for two seconds. That was it.


If you know Frank, you know that he uttered something sarcastic like, “Impressive!”


About that time, the bear turned and left the trail.

Me 7:38 Still ok?

FRANK 7:39 Saw a very big black bear

FRANK 7:39 I am ok

FRANK 7:39 Almost back

Me 7:46 It looks like you stopped again.

FRANK 7:46 Still moving

FRANK 7:47 So is my heart rate


I locked up the truck and walked toward him up the trail a way and realized that the bear was somewhere, and none of the other hikers had taken this trail. So, I turned back and waited and watched the ‘Find My’ app. It still looked like Frank had stopped, it was because I’d lost cell signal. I waited about a half hour. The occupants of the overnighter cars had come and gone from the bathroom. Let’s just say, they were not there to hike. I was glad when they each went back to their vehicles. As you can imagine, I didn’t feel great about my situation. But then I heard the crunch, crunch of a walking Frank and several moments later, there he was.


He enjoyed his time at the falls and he did take some amazing photos!



We’ve been told that you’re supposed to make lots of noise as you hike; that’s counter-productive for a nature photographer.



And we decided that the airhorn thing was only a good idea if the airhorn actually worked. We’ll get a couple of whistles.


Even though people do solo hikes ALL the time without ever even seeing a bear, we won’t be splitting up like that again, especially during berry-picking season.


We are in the Canadian Rockies. It’s been raining this week – 3 things about that:

1 – the smoke has cleared!

2 – the clouds have been incredible!







The 3rd thing about the rain - we discovered a place that we never would have otherwise, Old Entrance B and B, a horse / farm located on the outskirts of Hinton, Alberta, on the Athabasca River. It was a great chance to (literally) recharge our batteries as the smoke and rain has made solar charging very difficult.


“Old Entrance” has been in – then out – then back in the family of the current owner, Mary, for nearly a century.



We stayed in the basement of what is now the main house but used to be a Railway Station. From our basement windows, looking up onto the lawn, we could watch the horses nibbling on grasses and red clover.



What an awesome experience!


Maybe if we visit again, we’ll be able to schedule a trail ride with Mary. Click for more info OLD ENTRANCE 


We are grateful to have been able to get in out of the rain and get some work done with ample electricity! A comfortable room, little kitchen, sofas, shower and flushing toilet were also wonderful luxuries! Thank you, Mary!


On our first drive northward along Ice Fields Parkway through Banff National Park to Jasper National Park, the scenery was obscured by smoke and then by sheets of rain. So, as we made our way back down on Ice Fields Parkway, we were treated to a second chance to see some of the grandest and most beautiful mountain vistas in the world. (Those photos are in queue for next week)!


Meanwhile, we’re camping at Waterfowl Lakes Campground along the Mastaya River. There are two lakes on the river very close to the campground.





And across the river, a trailhead that eventually leads to both Cephron Lake and Cirque Lake. (Those photos are also in queue for next week)!


We met a lady named Angela on the trail as we hiked back from Cirque lake. She was walking with two dogs, Sly and Kit, both rescued from the Cochrane Humane Society about 30 minutes outside of Calgary.

 


Angela explained that the Calgary shelter has a much quicker turn-around rate but at Cochrane, some of the dogs have been there for over a year. After Covid, there was a huge rise in animals being dropped off at shelters; many had been acquired during Covid lock-down and their owners had to return to working outside of the home. There are waiting lists, in fact, just to be able to leave an animal at the shelter. Though shelters do try to find temporary foster placements - there are just so many dogs waiting for a forever home ...


So, five months ago, Angela went to Cochrane and picked up 'Sly' at the Humane Society there. She’s named Sly because she is very stealthy, steals a slipper to take back to her bed to cuddle and stares at you as she walks, carefully, backward. She must think that if she’s walking backward, she can’t be seen. Sly loves to cuddle, is quiet and sweet, and adores other dogs.


Though Sly was a happy solo doggy, Angela would take her to the dog park to play for hours and Sly just didn’t want to leave.


So, five weeks ago, Angela decided that she’d try to find her playmate. She returned to the shelter in Cochrane and brought Sly along with her. This (return) trip to the shelter was stressful for Sly as she was put in a kennel to meet Kit, (an 8 or 9 month old pup). Angela thinks that Sly might have thought she was going to have to stay there again. At this meeting, both dogs were more focused on the stress of the kennel and weren’t focused on each other. Kit was under a bit of duress, also, after being fostered and returned to the shelter.


The staff nearly ruled the meeting a failure.


But Angela was watching Sly and thought that the two dogs seemed to ‘get along.' She made the decision to give Kit a chance and the three of them went home, together, and they’ve been together ever since!


Angela explained that Kit got her name because she looks like a baby fox. She is just as cuddly as Sly and neither dog tends to resource guard. They are wonderful with people and they love each other dearly.


Angela is passionate about compassion and teaches empathy to her students; she is currently a part-time Kindergarten teacher. Kindness is a big deal to Angela and it is obvious. She is dedicated to Sly and Kit (i.e., part time employment) and trains with gentle, consistent warmth and understanding. We had a really fun visit with these three, it was so good to meet these friends!



Angela told us about the dog that she shared her life with before Sly. This dog she considered to be her "Heart-Dog." The sort of loss we feel when we have to say good-bye... Our animal friends are heart-lights, companions, undeniably precious family members.


I am grateful that Angela shared about her "Heart-Dog," and about Sly and Kit.


Both Kit and Sly had been out, independently living on their own, hunting to survive in the wild, until they were brought to the shelter. They each have a long story that goes with their "rescue." The bottom line is, they are forever-home and happy now.


As I've mentioned so many times before in these blog/letters, if Frank and I could make a dog's life better, we'd visit a shelter and have a dog on this trip with us, today! Unfortunately, there isn't a comfortable place for a dog in this truck, so we'll have to wait... or get a bigger rig?


We’ll have lots more of Frank’s photos next time. Please Contact Me and let me know how things are going with you.


As always, thank you for being here to read Tracks by the Post! We are grateful to be in your thoughts!


Gently Be,

Leslie and Frank


PS: Here’s another Canadian Connection for your enjoyment. A Spruce Grouse, in love with Frank.

 


And here’s a local roasted marshmallow mushroom... just for fun, Guys. Have a great week!



2 views

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page