31. Sunset

 

IMAG2270The sun sets on our Canadian adventure and what a time we’ve had. It is difficult to say whether it has exceeded expectations as I’m unsure precisely what our expectations were. We did want to return relatively intact so we’ve managed that thankfully. We wanted to improve our riding and appreciate the help given by Dunner, Sara, April, Shadow and Kosmo amongst other equines but also Bailey, Isa, Gaylene, Kelly and Marilyn in improving not just our riding but also our horsemanship. Watching this latter diminutive lady, barely reaching 5 feet but with a huge 69 year old heart, asserting her personality over these sometimes rambunctious animals was a lesson in itself.

We didn’t have any anticipation of seeing the Northern Lights but have enjoyed successive displays including an amazing dancing show so that has been an absolute bonus. The extent of the wildlife on display is another unexpected benefit despite the decapitated decomposing carcass of a black bear in the ditch just outside town! We have been lucky enough to see those creatures which are renown in these parts but not those we’d rather not meet, such as cougars, which is probably just as well!

IMAG2265The weather has been benevolent; the only clothing items which didn’t find their way out of the backpacks were the thermals we brought in case September was rather chilly. Here we are in late October, shedding layers down to T-shirts alone by mid afternoon. The much reported minus 40 temperatures are for later in the season but with a high in the 30s in the summer, this 70 degree temperature swing must be fairly unique.
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We have seen a small part of 3 provinces of Canada, just brushing the surface geographically, but have been able to become immersed in parts of these areas although there is still the north of this huge country over which we have only flown and the east which we haven’t even touched.
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We have met some amazing people, both locals and other travellers. They have expanded our outlooks in a wide variety of ways, depending on the person involved! We have learnt much from our younger counterparts and have continued to develop ourselves, outside the familiarity of our previous comfort zone. We are no longer actually sure where our comfort zone is any more!

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We do feel that the successive places we have visited have, coincidentally, lead naturally from one to another, culminating in this wonderful experience here in Saskatchewan where we have worked cattle on horseback, the ultimate goal once we started on this chapter of our lives. Even today we brought the herd in from the field, cut out the specified calves and cows and took the rest of them back without our feet touching the ground. I didn’t know I wanted to learn to ride bareback but the seed was planted in Alberta and came to fruition here where the facility was available. Before embarking we did agree that we needed to grab any opportunities presented to us and I think we have managed to say ‘yes’ to almost anything that came our way.

IMAG2272There have been times when things didn’t necessarily go the way we would have preferred or people have behaved in an undesirable manner but they are leading their own lives and are not there for our convenience. In terms of hosts it is actually the opposite in so far as we are there to help them.

So we say farewell from the Land of Living Skies which is so true. Each sunrise and sunset delivers an untold myriad of colours and shapes, these photos were taken in the same half an hour on our last evening; the night skies are as diverse as the daytime. IMAG2281We have been so lucky to be able to be here and will treasure the memories and photos until senility prevents recall, at which time I can re-read this blog. So goodbye Canada, thanks for the adventure, we’ve had a ball!

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