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Chinook Tales
Chinook Tales

In Alberta near the Rocky Mountains it gets SO cold, you talk - and your words freeze. They freeze right there in the air. Later, when it gets warm, the words thaw and somebody else can hear your secrets. And then there’s something called the Chinook that comes down from the Rocky Mountains and changes everything…

There was a boy who was going to market to help his Mom and Dad sell their eggs from their farm near the Rocky Mountains. The snow was thick and white. Their horse and sleigh left a big trail in the snow. The sound of the sleigh bells was bright and warm. The snow was bright too – but not warm…

One time they were going to market and they heard a rustling sound behind them. They asked their horse to go faster. But the faster went their horse, the faster came the Chinook wind. The snow melted so fast, the front runners of their sleigh were still in the snow - as the back ones kicked up dust!!

Another time the Chinook wind came down along the Rocky Mountains so often, they had no snow that winter. The boy picked apples and dug up potatoes three times that year. But to keep the saddle on your horse was a terrible job with the wind. Chickens, cows, fences, you name it – anything could fly by your window in that wind!

When the boy and his family went to market, his job was to stay with the horse and look for the Chinook arch. It appears when a Chinook rolls over the Rocky Mountains: an arch of thin ghost-like clouds that dance across the sky. So when his parents were inside the market, the boy watched over the horse and sleigh and looked for the Chinook arch.

But there was a toy train he really wanted to see inside the market, so he tied the horse to a tree. Or to the treetop sticking out of the snow, the snow was so deep. Off he went to the toy store. After staring at the train for what only seemed like five minutes, the boy heard “It’s the Chinook Arch!” He looked to the west to the Rocky Mountains and sure enough, there were the ghosty fingers of the Chinook! He ran to their horse but it was too late. The snow had melted and the horse was 20 metres up in the tree! Now how was he going to explain this one to his Mom and Dad? He wished this secret would freeze for a while…

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