Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Summer Sun Has Set

I know I said I was going to post more but I have had a busy summer, yo! It was an awesome summer but busy, busy. The are a million things I want to share with you but I'm hard pressed to know where to begin.

We took a road trip! 2500 kms in ten days, give or take. Given the blistering pace, it was impressive we didn't kill one another. Given the presence of my mother-in-law, it's a bonafide miracle. But that's a story best not told, I guess, if you have nothing nice to say and all that.

We rarely have the opportunity to go sight seeing. Our vacations usually end up being staycations or we've gone to visit family where one or the other is wound tighter than a spring. So this time we vowed to see the sights and have fun if we died in the attempt! It was difficult to remain relaxed at times (see earlier note about mother-in-laws presence) and there were a couple of times that someone or another actually lost their shit (I may have stood on the street corner in Banff and cried, though I'm pretty sure it wasn't photodocumented, so I will deny it if I have to.) But it was, all in all, a success.

The idea was to see as many landmarks and friends as possible. Not all the landmarks, mind you, but the ones we thought important. And not all the get the gist. We may have missed a thing or two, a friend here or there, or rushed a visit. Something we will correct when planning such a grande dios trip again.

In Jasper, Alberta we visited the Columbia Icefields and took a guided hiking tour of The Athabasca Glacier. It was very informative but labour intesive.  And our guide was a bit of a stickler for rules, God forbid any of us broke the single file formation, the glacier is a dangerous place! And I'm certain she she thought us all to be young, agile athletic types based on the near jog she had us doing at the start or she saw us for the sedentary slobs we are and made it her mission to bring us to task. At the ripe old age of thirty five, I was convinced I was going to have a heart attack. But my mother-in-law begged her mercy. I don't know if it was the thought of a possible law suit or the Aussie accent but our guide took pity on us and slowed the pace. I was prepared to throw myself at her feet and weep, if it  became necessary. Or push her into a Mill Well, those dangerous little holes in the glacier, created by melt, she kept warning us about. If I could've spared the energy.

A glacier is quite a sight and the hike was manageable once the pace was slowed. If you live near one, I would recommend a visit. Dress in layers, though. In August, on a twenty degree day the temperature dropped dramatically, the higher we went. Also, be prepared to be brow beaten for being a callous, uncaring human who is killing this beautiful planet and causing global warming to melt the polar ice caps and eventually there will be no fresh water and the earth may implode or go rocketing into the sun. I don't know, I glazed over. I recycle, I'm doing my part.

Did I mention that we tented the whole time? Oh yes! We spent an average of two nights at each of our destinations and so we have become expert camp setter-uppers and tearer-downers. We did spend four nights under a roof, our plans had us stopping for the evening to break up the drive, in one location. A friends house for two nights and finally a hotel for a single night at the end. It tends to get cold at night in the Rockies and not all of us were keen on that.

Our friend is an awesome gal and she showed us a super time. Honestly, she should be a tour guide for the Kelowna area. We spent one afternoon floating lazily down a canal on tubes we strung together. It was fantastic. Though, my annoyingly small bladder and my inability to pee anywhere other than a toilet made for a mildly uncomfortable hour or so toward the end of the ride. Perhaps that was TMI? Oh well, I'm leaving it.

The next day we spent a gloriously warm afternoon on a beach on the Okanogan. Basking in the sun and drinking wobbly pops. Don't worry, I had my sunscreen on. We had intended to celebrate Mr. Sprite's birthday that evening with drinks, music and cake but once we ate our cake, we were sleepy from all the fun and sun at the beach and ended up going to bed at a reasonable hour. We should all have our party cards revoked.

Our final touristy activity was a horse ride up the mountain with a steak fry. I was nervous, to say the least. I had been on a horse twice before and one of those times was not an enjoyable experience. But our family believes in facing your fears head on (when it suits us) and so I was intent on riding that damned horse. Probably not well, but I was willing to call staying on the horse a win. And so, when they introduced me to Sulphur, I told myself that the horse's namesake being the primary mineral in Hell was simply a coincidence and not prophetic. I mounted up and with nary an instruction given, we set off. Shortly after beginning we were asked to stand in our stirrups if the horse stopped to releive himself. This being the only bit of advice offered, I was at a loss to lessen the teeth shattering jostling when my horse did anything other that walk. One of my fellow tourists tried to offer her help by telling me to either lift when the horses front legs came up our stay in the saddle. I forgot almost immediately what she said when I discovered that looking down at the horses legs while he was in motion was a monumentally bad idea. And so I continued to get jostled. My derriere was a wee bit tender for the following day or so. But I managed to stay on the horse and I didn't need to be rescued because my horse sensed my ineptitude and tried to take full advantage by riding off into the sunset. Win!

Despite all our adventures, home was a welcome sight when we finally pulled into our drive. Our beds even more so.

I cleaned the SUV yesterday and found the remains of our vacation littered beneath the seats and tucked into doors. The remnants of summer fun brought happy memories but I was sad to see them just the same. Here at 55° N summer ends too quickly. Just a week into fall and the nights are already frosty, all the leaves have changed and many have fallen. What I wouldn't give for a few more weeks to make another warm and sunny memory or two.


  1. Sounds like it was an awesome vacation!

    1. It was wonderful! Although next time there will be more hotels and less Mother-in-law, I think.

    2. It was wonderful! Although next time there will be more hotels and less Mother-in-law, I think.