Breakfast for the Soul in Brocket AB

by bart on July 24, 2013

20130723-205806.jpgAfter studying my maps I thought that there was nothing on Hwy 3 between Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod. How wrong was I.

The distance is about 52km between the two towns, so I couldn’t walk it in one day.

Before leaving Pincher Creek I stocked up on food and water, and headed out. I only walked about 21km. I walked slow not to catch up with the huge thunder clouds, which were too close to me for my liking.

I knew that there was a large Indian Reserve that I would walk through, and that there was a small village on it, Brocket. I planned on walking past it and finding an out of the way place to camp for the night.

I didn’t want to stay in Brocket because someone I met in Blairmore a couple of days earlier said it wouldn’t be safe to stay on the Indian Reserve. How wrong was he.

As I was walking past Brocket at about 5pm I became really concerned that if I kept walking I would’t find an out of the way place to put up my tent.

The land ahead was completely flat and bare (aside from grasses), there were huge and dark thunder clouds on the horizon, and I heard on my radio that there was a tornado watch for Calgary, only about 200km north of me.

About a kilometer behind me there was a small Anglican church that I passed. I decided to turn back and investigate as it was surrounded on the sides by tall shrubs.

There were two houses to its left, so I went to the house further away, with the open door and a little girl playing out front as I was intimidated by the barking dog in the fenced yard of the house closer to the church.

I spoke with the pleasant woman inside and she said it would be fine if I slept in my tent in the back yard of the church, so I did.

I had a wonderful view if the Oldman River below in the valley behind the church. I was surrounded by shrubs to protect me from the wind, and I slept well.

Early the next morning I made breakfast, packed my stuff and hit the road to Fort Macleod, about 32km away to the east.

After about half an hour of walking a gold coloured suv pulled onto the shoulder a couple of hundred meters ahead if me, did a u-turn and drove back towards me on the opposite shoulder. A middle aged man came out and crossed the road toward me.

We exchanged good-mornings, and he introduced himself as Sidney Black, the Anglican pastor of the church. He lived in the house next to it.

He asked if I had been at the church back yard as he heard something there and called the Brocket RCMP. I said yes, and that they didn’t come. I also explained that I spoke with his neighbour and she said it would be ok if I spent the night there. I also explained about my walk.

Sidney Black turned out to be one of the nicest people I had met so far on my journey. He told me about his Peigan First Nations community, and a bit about the flooding disaster in one of the Blackfoot Confederacy Reservations just east of High River, where I will be in a few days. He was very interested in and supportive of my mission, and said that he will tell his community about it.

In the 5 or so weeks that I’ve been walking I discovered that sometimes people fear things not because they are scary or unsafe, but because they haven’t directly experienced them themselves, or they don’t know much about them.

I’m so glad that I met Sidney Black. Before we parted ways he gave me blessings, which was like a second breakfast for me as it prepared me for the day, but in a different way than my oatmeal earlier.

Today I walked 32km. When I arrived in Fort Macleod I went to the newspaper office and was interviewed by one of the nicest and most professional editors I met so far. He connected me with the editor of the Nanton AB paper too.

I am now at a clean and safe campground in Fort Macleod that I didn’t have to pay for. And even though there was a severe thunderstorm warning, there was relatively little wind today, and no thunderstorms.

Tomorrow I’m off for Clairsholm AB, about 40km north on hwy 2, and that much closer to Calgary.

Below: The thunderstorm to the north, which I was lucky to observe but not to experience.20130723-210541.jpgPhoto below: The little church I slept behind.
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