I’ve spent the better part of twelve years making my life on the edge of Glacier National Park, on both sides of the Divide, and in the process, I’ve developed an aversion to acting like a “touron,” as we refer to some — though certainly not all! — of the folks who visit our gorgeous backyard each summer.  Don’t get me wrong – I was once a touron, too, in the late 80s and probably throughout the 90s.  And Glacier County Honey Co. benefits greatly from the throngs of tourons who descend upon us, too.

But.  You won’t catch me jangling bear bells, participating in “interpretive walks,” driving under the speed limit on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, or ordering huckleberry anything, unless it has booze in it.

And so I’m amused to find myself acting the part of the Touron here in California.  This weekend, Honeydew, Maggie Rose, and I took an interpretive urban hike that was partly paved (!),

shopped the boutiques of downtown Redding, visited the Coleman National Fish Hatchery,

and toured the Shasta Dam.  Seriously.

Fun fact: Shasta Dam and the Hoover Dam were designed by the same guy, and at the time of their completion were the 2nd highest and highest dams in the U.S., respectively.  Today, Shasta Dam is the 9th tallest dam in the U.S.  It is a very strange feeling to stand at the near-bottom of it, as we are doing here, and think about the massive amount of water behind it.  Wow.

And yes, I felt like an idiot in my burly hiking boots on the urban hike and in my wrinkled khaki shorts on the dam tour, where temperatures hovered around 55 degrees and everyone kept asking me if I was cold.  I wasn’t but, all I say, sheepishly, was “Um, we’re from Montana?”.  Indeed, I felt like a Touron.

All of our Touron activities constituted a fun way to pass the time while we wait on the phone call from the orchard owners, asking us to move the bees into the almonds.  Another benefit – perhaps I will be kinder to those folks I see dressed inappropriately, taking interpretive walks, driving too slowly, ordering kitschy menu items, and in general dragging their too-young-to-appreciate-the-experience children all over Glacier National Park, this coming summer.

Or perhaps not.

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