Thursday, December 29, 2016

Montana


We crossed the border into Montana and spent the morning driving through Glacier National Park.  We didn't stop very long in any one spot, but enjoyed a longer break for lunch, where the kids got to play by the lake.  



We visited friends from Oklahoma who now live in Montana.  We enjoyed dinner at their home, followed by dessert at Big Dipper Ice Cream.  Our family shared a Super Nova, which had a brownie layer on the bottom, followed by several scoops of ice cream and toppings.

In the morning, Angela and I went for a run through some of the streets and trails near them.  All of us went for a hike, where the kids enjoyed picking the blueberries and flowers along the way.  The kids collected some wildflower bunches for us.  They also thought it was fun to put blueberry "paint" on their faces.  We had a great time!    


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Edmonton, Calgary, Cardston

We're almost out of Canada on our trip... after we left my aunt and uncle's place, we headed to Edmonton.  We left Nathan in charge of the kids at the motel, and just made it in time for the last session of the day at the Edmonton Temple.  


In the morning, my parents headed on to Calgary (where they returned their RV and caught a flight to Utah).  We headed over to the giant West Edmonton Mall, which was much more than a mall - there was a water and amusement park, mini golf, and several other things which we didn't have time to do.  We also met some friends for lunch, which was fun.



We all did the mini golf, and then we divided up - Alex took Nathan and Jared to the waterpark and I took Owen, Weston, and Savannah to the amusement park.  We didn't do any of the fast rollercoasters, but they all did well on the other rides.



There is a big pirate ship in the middle of the mall - we had to check that out too.  

We spent most of the day at the mall, and then headed to our motel in Calgary that evening.  The next morning, we went to the Calgary Temple, and then headed to Cardston.  

Cardston was a cute small town - we stayed at a bed and breakfast there.  The owner had the bear skin, which the kids got a kick out of.

Here's a little bit about the bed and breakfast.  We stayed in one portion of it.  There wasn't much fancy about our bed accommodations, but the breakfast area was pretty fancy.  The ceiling tiles were made from scraps from the Cardston Temple.   


We went to the Cardston Temple that evening - two temples in one day!  It is pretty impressive to see a big temple in such a small town.  It's a pretty cool temple.  It was dedicated in 1923 and was the first temple built outside of the US.  Here's some more facts on the temple.


The next morning, we headed across the border.  We had to wait in line a while, so we took some pictures by the the border signs.  The kids thought it was cool to have one foot in each country (although I don't know about the technicalities of the actual border).  


Friday, November 18, 2016

Northern Alberta

From Banff and Jasper, we headed north about 8 hours.  We stopped at McDonald's on the way, which had a play place.  Weston had been asking the whole trip to go to a McDonald's play place.  He was so excited when we finally did!  There was also a cute train seating area.  It was funny to see Alex sitting there with the kids.  Weston really wanted Alex to sit with him, and then he took off to play!  Alex is such a good sport.  


After McDonald's and a couple of cracked windshields along the way... we finally made it to my aunt and uncle's place.  Weston loved seeing all the farm equipment, and Savannah wanted to pick all the pretty flowers.

I loved their dogs, which reminded me of our own border collie, Kai.  I've forgotten their names now...   

Mike and Enola arranged for us to stay in this trailer, which we were really grateful for, particularly because of the multitude of mosquitoes there.  The one downer of our stay was getting so many mosquito bites.  Weston's arms got chewed up the first night.  We figured out one place they were getting in and sealed that off.  Then we just had to smash as many as we could find right before we went to sleep.  We had to go in and out the door really fast, because they came in with you.  The boys started collecting the ones we killed.  

Those aren't Oreo crumbs... 


It was very peaceful there (at least until we brought our rowdy crew) - it was great to just stop and watch a butterfly for a moment.  

The guys went on a short hike to see a beaver dam.  We also enjoyed playing games.

And now, the reason for our whole trip - to celebrate Mike and Enola's 50th wedding anniversary!  We had a good time at their party, and I especially enjoyed listening to them tell their story.  They have one daughter, Kate, who is about 5 years older than me.  Loved seeing them again and helping celebrate 50 years.  The first picture was a photo of them in their younger years - still looking good!  (Mike looks just about the same, still sporting a headband and mustache.)  😊  

Love the sibling pictures of my dad, Eva May, and Enola - goofy bunch!  

Enola had her wedding dress on display, as well as some of their "wedding gifts that have stood the test of time."


Kate taught the kids some dance moves.  Jared picked up on some pretty quickly the day before, and he showed off some moves at the party.  






My dad's cousin Don was able to join us too - glad to spend a little bit of time with him.  He's standing between Eva May and Enola in the second picture below.  

There was lots of wide open space there - we loved the yellow fields.  The last picture below was taken at 12:15am!  There are not many hours of darkness up there.  Besides the mosquitoes, we had a nice stay.  It was so peaceful up there, and I loved being able to spend time with family that I don't see very often.    

Yoho, Banff, and Jasper National Parks

The next part of our Canada trip was some of the prettiest places I have ever seen.  Our first stop along the way was Yoho National Park.  I loved this natural bridge, but I think my favorite was Emerald Lake.  It was lightly raining when we got there, and a beautiful rainbow appeared.  It was heavenly!







We stayed one night at my Aunt Enola and Uncle Mike's house in Canmore.  They weren't there - we were headed up north to see them at their home in northern Alberta.  We met my Aunt Eva May and my parents in Canmore.  They traveled in an RV, which the kids loved, because they could take turns riding and sleeping in there.  My parents were very nice to let them do that!  Another benefit of the RV was that we always had a bathroom with us.  The kids used that a few times between stops.  The RV was a pain for my parents to drive, but the kids loved it.  We spent 3 days and 2 nights exploring Banff and Jasper National Park.  We really needed a full week to see it!     




I think the picture above and below were the Johnston Canyon Trail.  We took a nice little hike to a waterfall.  The bear statue was a fun photo opportunity, but the really cool thing was seeing some real bears in the wild.  We saw two bears as we were driving, which was perfect - because we wanted to see some bears without a close encounter with them!

Lake Louise was gorgeous, but it was a popular tourist spot.  We pretty much had to wait in line to take pictures.

                                                                     Weston was snug as a bug in the RV with his piggy...



Alex took the panorama shot below - beautiful!  We didn't get to stop at the Icefields, but drove by there.  Alex really wanted to explore that area, but we ran out of time.  Our first night camping was north of the Icefields, and we didn't want to backtrack the next morning.  Such a pretty drive!

I really wanted to do some canoeing on one of the days.  We got a late start the first day, so we didn't have time to canoe in Banff.  We settled for these rowboats at Pyramid Lake in Jasper on the second day!  It wasn't quite the same, since they were pretty hard to maneuver and it was raining.  It was nice to get out on the water though.  Jared was actually pretty good at rowboating.

We camped the second night just north of Jasper National Park.  We were worried that it would rain on us all night, but we were spared with just some light drizzle.  It started raining harder after we packed up in the morning.  (We were the only crazy ones out there camping in that campground.)  Jared built a pretty cool lean-to shelter out of branches.  I'm sure that made some animal happy to find a nice cozy home!