Monday, September 22, 2014

Elisabeth's only wish for her birthday was to take a canoe out on Lightning Lake and fish. So on her birthday, that's exactly what we did. Well, the men did. Andrew and Denis took Lizzie, Nate and Griff out on the water and Kandace, David, Cubby and I hiked around the lakes.

It was a beautiful day for a paddle.

 We made it to the bridge, and the guys pulled up right behind us. We hopped out to fish from shore, and eat some lunch.

 Pretty Cubby.

 After lunch, we continued walking around the lake. It's a beautiful and easy hike. Well worth the drive to Manning Park.

This is the very end of the lake. Where we found our canoers.

Denis had hopped out to trade kids (Lizzie for David) and lost a flip flop.

Kandace, David and I continued around the lake and after a (long) while, we finally found our canoers again.

We switched kids at this little beach but Cubby was exhausted. She didn't want to get up and keep walking.

 On Friday I finally got up enough courage to drive to drive up to the Alpine Trail. That's where we made a very important discovery. I have a serious phobia of crazy mountain roads. I was terrified.

I would say the view was worth the drive, but I think next time I'll walk up. It's only 18 km to the top :)

We did a small hike around the top, but it would have been amazing to do a real long hike.

This is me doing my best to look brave. But all I could think of was that I was going to have to get off the mountain somehow and I wasn't sure I could get back in the car.

 So we kept walking.
Eventually we had to get back in the car. I cried for a while, and everyone was so nice and took my fears seriously. Lizzie prayed for me and the most amazing thing happened. I immediately felt completely at peace. There was absolutely no more fear, I just felt peace. I have never experienced anything like that before.

And at the bottom, I insisted on some therapeutic chocolate.

Last morning at the campsite and the four old folks sat around talking about their dreams from the night before. It was pretty funny.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Camping Adventures 2

I take a lot of pictures on my phone. Unfortunately, I've deleted most of them without saving them anywhere. But here are some from my instagram. See...a phone is handy, but it's also dangerous. I probably had some great pictures on my phone that are gone forever. Oh well.

The first day we camped was Nate's birthday. We celebrated with cupcakes and sparklers. We had planned to make it kind of a thing, but then this little boy latched on to our party and that first night he was a bit of a troll. So we kept waiting for him to go home and that never happened and we finally did low key cupcakes with him there.

Later we figured out that he was just trying to impress our kids with his 'big kid' words and attitude and we all decided we liked each other. Well, he especially liked me, as he would prove by just wandering into the site and sitting on me. Obviously, he wormed his way into my heart...

Here are the sparklers.

 And our two birthday kids. Nate turned nine and Lizzie turned eight while we were camping. They're growing up so fast...

On Monday when we did our little stroll around the lower half of Lightning Lake, we found these massive dandelions. These pictures don't come anywhere to doing them justice. They were the size of softballs. Absolutely gorgeous.

We also took Cubby for her first swim in the lake. It was pretty hot, so she tolerated it, but she wasn't sure what to think at first. We took her in the river at the campsite and the lake a couple more times, and she liked it more each time.  But she's not one of those crazy dogs that goes barrelling in the water and gets everyone wet.

On Wednesday we went back to the lake and the men rented a canoe. Lizzie's birthday wish was to fish from a canoe on Lightning Lake.

Meanwhile, Kandace, David, Cubby and I did the full hike around the lake. It was gorgeous.

I have this app on my phone that takes fake HDR pictures. Most of the time it's pretty awesome, but on the picture below it didn't quite pick up everything. Gives kind of a ghost effect, doesn't it?

We also walked along the river trails behind our camp site a lot. It was wild and gorgeous and Denis and Elisabeth tried their hand at fishing again.

The boys were pretty jealous that they don't have fishing rods too. We didn't catch anything though.

Rocks around where we camped. It was really pretty. There was also a lot of hog weed growing in the area which was scary.

On Friday I finally got the courage to do the drive up to the Alpine trail. Let me tell you, I have never been so scared in my life. That drive is terrifying. I have the best family/friends in the world though. They humoured me though and drove 30 k the whole time, in the middle of the road and put up with my obsessiveness. The drive was worth it (though I'm not sure I'd do it again) and the views and trails were absolutely stunning.

The trails go on forever. This trail in front of us went all the way to the east gate of Manning Park.

Above is the cabin that Dave and Alexis stayed in. This is a side's massive from the front, but you can't tell from here. Isn't it gorgeous?

Camping Adventures

I would love to camp all summer. My dream life would be one where we were able to take off to a campground and live there for entire summer. We probably wouldn't do it in a tent though, cause the ground is hard and tents are cold. So I suppose somewhere in my dream we acquire a trailer or a cabin in the woods. Irregardless, I love living in the wild and everything that goes with it (even the occasional cold night).

In July we made our usual camping trip to Bridal Falls, but in August we decided to try out a different HTR site and went to Sunshine Valley. I have to admit I was a little bit worried about camping here. And there were some things that we didn't like about this site. But all in all, it was a fantastic trip.

 We arrived on the second, and set up camp. The sites are HUGE. It's not as rustic and wooded as I like, but there's something to be said for a large, flat site. We situated ourselves and got down to the heavy business of reading. Nothing says vacation like a good book.

We happened to choose the weekend where they were holding a big mud run. So there were LOTS of quads and dirt bikes and rowdy people on the campground. There was also a live band that played until well after 1 am. It was not a family friendly weekend to be there! Oh well, live and learn.

One thing about camping that far away from town and way up in the mountains was the sunsets were unbelievable. And it was very windy.

 Okay, so we got there on Saturday which meant that Saturday was basically set up camp day. We planned easy food for dinner (we always cook together because, four kids and so easy).

Sunday we lounged around the pool and explored the river. Both of which were full of bearded tattooed people drinking and driving quads (okay, they didn't have quads in the pool. But there were a lot of toys. Whoa).

 I think we spent a lot of time comparing this site to Bridal Falls. Which has it's own issues, but it's what we're used to. And they have a Ziggy who patrols the whole grounds constantly making sure that everyone is behaving and that everything is in good repair, well stocked and running like it should.

At SV, they ran out of ice, and ice cream. They don't stock bread in their store because apparently there's no demand for it. The bathrooms were yucky and constantly out of paper towels. There are two pools, but one or the other was always closed because of vandalism. But they don't believe in posting signs, so you'd plan your whole day around hanging at the pool and then get there in the morning and find it locked because it was vandalized the night before and they had to drain and refill. But they didn't post signs and were hostile when you asked questions.

It was very different from our usual site.

On the other hand, the pool deck was lovely. When we were able to be out there, it was awesome, and the kids had no trouble spending an entire day in the pool. Once all the rednecks left, we'd have the pool to ourselves and a few other families and it was bliss.

 On Monday we drove up to Manning Park and hiked half the Lightning Lake loop. Which was just as gorgeous as I remember it being. Also, there were ground hogs everywhere.

 We made plans to come back on Wednesday and rent canoes to try fishing and canoeing.

And then we went back to the lodge and met Dave, Alexis and Ada for lunch. They were in Manning for the annual Rossi Camp Out. Which looks amazing and so fun and almost makes me wish we had a huge family to do those kind of things with.

 Then, on Dave's say so, we did the second scariest drive ever (in Canada) and went up to the viewpoint. Guess what? I have a phobia about scary mountain roads. The view was also scary and my legs were jello the whole time we were up there. The kids are much braver than me.

I have always wanted to do a hike up in the alpine meadows, but then I found out you have to drive FOREVER up this scary road. So we went back to the campsite.

 Here's one more picture of Ada to tide you over till I finish talking about our trip.