So after about three days of driving and sight seeing along the way, we finally made it to the border. And Afton felt super fabulous about that.
It's hard to adequately describe our time in Canada. We only stayed there for a few days, but each one was filled with so much beauty. The first two days we went into Waterton Lakes National Park (the Canada half of Glacier National Park). Then just when we thought that country couldn't get any more breathtaking we spent a day up at Banff National Park. While abroad, we stayed with Cally's parents, and Cally's sister Cassy was there with her family too. We are endlessly grateful for how much we were welcomed and made to feel like part of the family. Grandma Jackie sang the girls songs at night, Grandpa Devon stationed himself at the checkout counter in the souvenir shop and insisted on paying for everyone's t-shirts and trinkets. They fed us many meals and more ice cream than should be legal. Anytime we were at home there, the kids rode the golf cart around in circles for hours, played with the dog, picked strawberries and rhubarb, and explored the old barn. When we very first conceived of this trip, we thought we'd stay maybe a day in Canada then move on. I'm so glad we ended up extending that stay.
It's too much wonderful for just one post. Beazer and Red Rock Canyon today, the rest of Waterton next post. Then Banff. These Canadian events will not be in order, just trying to balance out the posts so they don't get too overwhelming. (For posterity...Tuesday afternoon: arrived in Beazer and had dinner then a dip at Lee Creek. Wednesday: Waterton Lakes National Park. Thursday: much warmer, back to Waterton to hike Red Rock Canyon. Friday: Banff National Park for just our family. Saturday: Dinosaur Ridge)
We went swimming at Lee Creek a couple of times (just a short golf cart ride down the road). The water was cold, but bearable. The kids would run upstream then float down on tubes. There was a bridge over the water with a couple of ropes tied to it so they could swing out into the water. There were good skipping rocks, and a dirt cliff on one side that swallows (I think) lived in, inside their little holes. The boys also like trying to throw big rocks and try to dislodge even bigger rocks from the dirt cliff and cheered loudly when they accomplished their goal.
The cabin where we stayed used to be Cally's grandparents'. The family room and kitchen were huge, and we loved staying there, plenty of room for everyone. When Cally's grandmother passed, and her grandfather moved into a nursing home, her mom started renting the cabin out to a couple in their ward. The only stipulation in the rental agreement was they had to leave for the month of July. That's when all the grandkids (and us!) come to visit.
There was a three-wheeler. I remember visiting my grandma when I was little and one of the cousins there had a three-wheeler. I guess that's just the kind of thing grandmas like to have around.
I love this picture. It pretty much sums up the feeling we had the whole time we were there.
Wild and free. There was also a golf cart. I don't have any pictures of the golf cart, only video. I wish I'd taken pictures as well, because that's what the younger set of kids did at every free moment. The golf cart's muffler broke just before we arrived, so it was really loud. Plus there was one of those big clown horns that you squeeze the black bulb part. I will always remember and smile how each morning when the sun came up and we were just starting to wake up we would hear the engine start putting all over the yard and a steady stream of 'honk-a, honk-a' from the horn.
Did I mention the three-wheeled bike also?
We spent one day hiking Red Rock Canyon. I only brought the go pro and took far more video than still picture, but this was one of our favorite activities. We began by splashing and climbing around a little in the canyon area near the road. Then we left the crowd and trekked up the canyon for a good while. The water was COLD. It was like stepping in a big river of ice. Lit-er-al-ly. I never ventured deeper than mid-thigh (and then only when compelled to do so because it was the only way to proceed), but many in our company took the ten-second challenge and completely submerged for the count. Brrrrr.
We also spent one day playing around on dinosaur ridge, a miniature summit just down the road from Cally's parents. The kids liked walking through the tall grass (we were promised no snakes and no ticks) and climbing around on the jutting rocks.