We left home April 21 and have had some amazing adventures and catching up with friends and family for the past couple of weeks. A great reunion with cousin Bill and Linda in Cochrane and then a whirlwind speed visit with Teresa and Deb & Lorne (who made a quick trip back from Edmonton for us)! Thanks to all for the fantastic hospitality.
We hunkered down in the snow for 5 days to visit with mom and Arlene. I then made a quick side trip to Spokane for the Bloomsday run and what fun that was. I have not been in ten years so was overwhelmed once more with the turnout of 46 000+ runners. This is truly an event not to be missed!! Our girls weekend was laughter filled with many shenanigans and good times. And special thanks to Kathy W for her great planning and accommodation choices…. Great rooms, free breakfasts and evening drinks … does it get any better than that?
Morinville, Legal & Long Island Lake
Our two week pit stop in Morinville was crazy as it always is when we spend time with Reid and Kathy. The weather was spectacular for Alberta in May so we soaked up the sun and enjoyed our new bikes and time out of doors. Roo made a trip to Legal and Long Island Lake for a weekend of sillies with Kelsey and Brandon. We were initiated in the art of “shop parties” complete with beer pong, flip cup and the Margaritaville Machine. Oh my…. We will miss you guys!
Finally it was time to set sail on our adventures into the unknown. A stop to see the World’s Largest Pyanska (Easter Egg) in Vegreville was our last stop in Alberta. This beauty stands 31’ high and was erected in 1974 in celebration of 100 years of Alberta culture. It’s symbolism, colors and design are truly an amazing reflection of Ukrainian Canadian history.
SOJOURNS IN SASKATCHEWAN
We have covered many miles and have seen a multitude of parkland, prairie and forest, along with lots of wild life. Not to mention the endless miles of fallow, green and recently seeded fields, quite the diversity. We have also vowed not to complain about Alberta and BC highways as we are leaps and bounds above those encountered here. Oh my…. What frost heaves, pot holes and wash outs….not sure how speeding tickets can be profitable as it is hard to get to speed between dodging the ugly road patches. Talking with a local “MJawian…. The record floods of 2011 caused much of this havoc and progress has obviously been slow to non-existent.
Prince Albert National Park
We celebrated Glen’s birthday by enjoying beautiful Namekus Lake in Prince Albert National Park. This nearly 4000 sq km park is reminiscent of Banff without the hustle and bustle. The main beach on Waskesiu lake is stunning and I imagine come summer is a happening place. On these cool, windy spring days it is great to just sit back and enjoy the peace, quiet and beauty. Namekus is a gorgeous little lake off the beaten path and as we were early in the season only one other camper was on site. Must admit our water view this year is a little different…
This little gem, referred to as the “Dead Sea of Canada” was an interesting stop. This is a resort community on the shores of Little Manitou Lake. The lake is three times saltier than the ocean. I must confess…it was still a little chilly to dive in and test it out… there were however a few brave youngsters buoyantly bobbing about. We chose instead, the mineral baths at the indoor pool. The therapeutic effects are said to be the same!
Returning to the city where I spent many summers with my grandparents meant there were many items on my “to see and do” list. Glen patiently biked alongside as I tried to locate childhood summer homes and even the site of the “Jackson Bottling Company”. Thanks to help from the Tourist Bureau and a local camper we met up with I found the spot. We also fit in tours of the tunnels, reputed to be the haunt and business enviros for Al Capone. It was fascinating learning the history of the rum running that took part in the area. In addition the tunnel housed many Chinese immigrants and a separate tour told of their toils and tragedies, a sad blemish on Canadian history. During one of the last scenarios of the tour, a replica of a Chinese Restaurant I found a piece of history in the form of a bottle. Despite the `no picture rule` the guide let me snap a quick photo of this prop.
Another mind blowing memory lane was walking in to Central Collegiate High School today where upon asking about old class photos we were directed to the hallways and then library. No memorabilia to be found…We were outside on the steps leaving when the door opens and the amazing principal, Scott Williamson, sticks his head out and says “I hear you are looking for some old photos. Come on in and wait a couple of minutes and I have some ideas.” And so we waited in the principal’s office before heading to the hidey holes in the basement where we opened the old cabinets and pulled out both mom and dad’s school records!!!!!! What a moment!
Buffalo Pound Lake is a nearby lake (23km) where my grandparents had a little cabin. This is where I learned to fish and water ski and where my yearning for life at the lake began. The Provincial Park was fabulous and again not busy as we were there before the official Victoria Day opening. Down in the valley, at 22 miles in length and barely 1.2 miles wide it appears river-like. Again, the early visit meant the waters were cool, clear and at times blustery. Not at all the ‘algae bloom green” of my childhood. A quest to find the locale of the family cabin proved challenging, however, the memories evoked priceless.
Our next and last planned stop in Saskatchewan will see us hopefully taking in the RCMP Depot s before we are Manitoba bound! …and the most exciting of exciting news…. meet up with the land sailing version of Banyan! WOooo hoooo…happy, happy dancing.