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!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Vancouver BC

We spent a few days in Vancouver.  We crossed the border on Saturday morning and headed to the Vancouver Temple.  It rained most of the day, but we still wandered around the city a bit.  Luckily, instead of camping, as originally planned, we were able to stay in a motel.  I booked the motel room and the campground, and checked the forecast a couple days before we arrived.  I was able to cancel either one, so we cancelled our camping reservation.  

We went to church on Sunday morning, and I didn't realize that our closest LDS ward was right next to the temple.  It was nice to take a few pictures not in the rain.  We were also lucky to get lots of treats after church since it was Father's Day.  They had a whole spread of desserts for everyone.    

On Sunday afternoon, we drove north and explored the area.  The mining museum was closed by the time we drove by there (that's the picture with the giant dump truck in the background).  Weston was really excited about the "digger" so we wandered around the outside of the museum.  We stopped by a cool waterfall along the way and also at a pretty lake at Porteau Cove Provincial Park. 

On the way back to the city, we stumbled upon a great look-out point in Cypress Provincial Park.  We had dinner back at the motel - leftover Chinese food from the night before.  I cooked a green pepper in the microwave, since that's one of Alex's favorite foods.  I had also bought a cherry pie for dessert.  It was a fun and unique Father's Day!   

The kids got pretty silly at the motel... Savannah "drying her hair."  

Weston also sang "Down on the Farm," but the video is too big to post here.  I posted it on Face Book.  

On Monday morning, we went on an expensive boat tour.  It wasn't worth the money, but it was enjoyable and fun to see the harbor from a different view.  If we had to do it over again, we would have just taken the boat taxi across the harbor.  

We didn't have much time left in the afternoon, so we split up for about an hour or so.  The three youngest and I went to a farm while Nathan, Jared, and Alex did a short hike.  The kids loved seeing the animals and riding on a tractor tricycle.   

We drove to Kamploops on Monday afternoon/evening.  Vancouver was beautiful - wish we had more time there.  Next time we want to be able to take the ferry to Victoria (maybe from Seattle since we drove through there without stopping)!