The parental rental home is very nicely landscaped, much larger than mine, and about half underground (which probably helps keep the temperature more constant but was a bit surprising; there kept being all these extra doors down there!). They have three pianos now. I came home with a nice big pile of music left over from when Mom was teaching, which I will begin properly enjoying any day now, when I have free time. Maybe this evening!
We didn't do as much hiking as had been planned, because of chinders's knee, but that is okay because the amount of hiking we actually did was quite sufficient to my energy level at that altitude. The first day, we poked around various scenic places, mostly from the car. We were going to stop at an art gallery, but couldn't go in because a truck had run into a utility pole, knocking out power to the entire town. The next day, we went up to Banff National Park, which is astounding scenic in a very dynamic way. It's all giant blocks of stone leaping into the air like dolphins, frozen at the top of the jump, with crazy angles and recent landslide scars and all kinds of coolness. We have lots and lots of pictures, once brooksmoses gets them off of his camera.
At Banff, we first took a gondola up to the top of Sulphur Mountain, admiring the view on the way. chinders stayed behind at the coffee shop there while the rest of us went out along the boardwalk / interpretive trail to the old weather station. There was a sign fairly early on informing us that the golden-mantled ground squirrel is "the boldest of the locals," followed shortly by a golden-mantled ground squirrel scampering about on some rocks, followed by several golden-mantled ground squirrels posing photogenically, then informing passers-by via easily-interpretable squirrel body language that there was a very simple fee schedule for photos, and would we hand over the goods now, please, followed by golden-mantled ground squirrels pounding on people's sneakers and attempting to climb their legs. So, yes, rather bold.
After the mountain, we went to Johnston Canyon and hiked up past some very pretty waterfalls, then took a drive past a lake. The drive had been recommended the previous day by my parents' next-door neighbor as good for seeing wildlife, and indeed we saw quite a few bighorn sheep hanging around right near the road. So that was satisfying.
Monday we went to Heritage Park, which turns out to be the second-largest living history park in North America, second only to Colonial Williamsburg. I thought it was neat and wished they didn't close so early, but the rest of the pack was getting a bit tired of old houses. We saw a linotype machine in operation at the press building, which was quite cool. I can see why people are fond of those things.
One of those days we had dinner at a really good Indian restaurant, which I want to pack up and take home with me and install where Sue's used to be. Also we should use our grill more; Dad made some grilled veggies for me to use for hiking sandwiches the whole weekend, and they were quite tasty.
We rented a minivan, which I drove all weekend. I did not break it or crash into anything despite it being ENORMOUS and having the gearshift in entirely the wrong place, so I feel all accomplished.
And at the end of the month, brooksmoses and I are going up to Montreal for Farthing Party. Getting there is going to be a tiring and expensive pain in the ass, so it is just the two of us and not everybody. But I fully expect it to be all kinds of fun.