Canada killed the tent

After all the rain in Yoho and Jasper, I decided that a little sunshine was in order. I booked 4 nights at Dinosaur Provincial Park to dry out, soak up some desert heat and explore the badlands. The first night was picture perfect: clear and starry skies, cool desert temperatures and a spectacular sunset.

The sun sets in the badlands.
The sun sets in the badlands.

The next day I set out for Drumheller and two of its canyons: Horseshoe and Horse Thief Canyons. I decided to hike Horse Thief Canyon first, and as I was getting out of the car I heard a news update about a tornado in the area. Now, the timing couldn’t have been better: Me with the keys in my hand, about to turn off the ignition, one foot out of the door and a muscle’s twitch from exiting the car. The weather report was dire. Golf ball to tennis ball size hail and destructive winds. And the weather was headed right for me.

I had visions of the tent – which was an hour and a half southeast by country roads – flying and flipping through the air, bounding and tripping over hills, flitting from tree to tree…and landing in Montana. The wind pushed me around those country roads for that hour and a half drive. All the while I could see the black band of angry sky in my rear view mirror. Both it and I were getting closer to Dinosaur.

In fact, the tent did not take flight, but it did not withstand the destructive winds. The poles bent, bent and broke, creating sharp and jagged daggers that pierced and ripped the fly like an old Pirate who thrusts his knife through the top of a sail and rides the ripping sail down to the deck. Look it up; it’s an Errol Flynn and Goonies thing. What I’m trying to say is Canada killed the tent.

Oh, Canada! How could you! And since when do you have tornadoes!?
Oh, Canada! How could you! And since when do you have tornadoes!?

The rest of that day was spent tent shopping (at Canada Tire) and dessert eating (at Tim Hortons.) Thunder storms and high winds would arrive in the early afternoons for the rest of my time in Dinosaur so I didn’t make it back to Horse Thief or Horseshoe Canyons, lest the new tent be left defenceless and be murdered in the desert. I should also mention that I stopped at a used book store in Jasper and picked up a Louis L’Amour. I have a feeling I may have picked up a little drama in my descriptions. Nah.

Cactus and grassland
Cactus and grassland

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