For an end-of-the-teaching-year gift, God wrapped up a package in wind-tousled bows and pine-scented paper, stamped it “Alberta,” and left it at the base of a beautiful mountain. Folks, vacation is good for the soul.
I recently returned from Canada where I spent time camping in the Rocky Mountains and celebrating with friends in the nearby Alberta prairies.
My first hostess was my beautiful cousin Ginger, who moved to Alberta three years ago from warm southern Virginia. She and her husband graciously hosted me amid moving boxes while introducing me to many interesting Canadian things.
Did I mention that they roast their own coffee? Ginger’s uncle brings back coffee beans from his trips abroad, and Edward roasts them to perfection. At this house, I drank some of the best coffee I’ve had in years.
Their darling daughter Addison, who wears her hooded sweater backwards because We Are Two.
Tried poutine, a wonderful Canadian delicacy: French fries and cheese curds, smothered in gravy. This stomachache is available for purchase at most Canadian restaurants. Yum!
My cousin was also able to get me a tour of a Hutterite colony. Hutterites, a unique religious sect living a communal lifestyle, are quite prevalent in southern Alberta.
Dining hall: Men sit on the left, women sit on the right at meal times. 110 people live on this colony.
Part of the *TEN ACRE* garden that the small Hutterite colony farms. The 18-year-old Hutterite tour guide told us, “We have about an acre of garlic, and my dad says that alone is a $45,000 crop.” #wow
For the next portion of my trip, I met up with some of my old Bible School chums for a week of camping and active adventures.
Amy: Canadian. Lover of God, Gage (her husband), cats, coffee, and coulees. Also probably one of the most passionate nurses I know.
Julia: from Virginia, married to Sheldon (who likes to golf). This girl can always make me laugh. She’s funny, friendly, outgoing, and always ready for an adventure. She’s usually singing, and things you might hear her talking about include her family, her church, volleyball, and health. (Did you know that coconut oil is really great on your skin?)
We spent the first two days camping in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Arriving on a Thursday, we had our pick of choice campsites amid the Canadian pines. Our campsite was a short walk from Beaver Mines Lake. Girl-camping aside, we did not resort to “glamping” or “glamorous camping,” as one might assume. We chopped our own wood and set up our tents and unloaded our own kayaks, thank you very much.
Hiking to Crypt Lake, an exciting adventure deserving of its own post, which is forth-coming.
We returned from the Rockies to Lethbridge, a university town in southern Alberta, home to an amazing geographical feature called “coulees.” I describe coulees as inverted hills. The flat Alberta prairie stretches unendingly, then suddenly dips down in these upside-down hills. Some coulees have water flowing through them. They are rather beautiful, and Amy took us on several coulee walks.
In Lethbridge, Amy also treated us to Spudnuts, donuts made from potato flour. I loved this adorable shop.
Time at home…
I’ve never gone on a vacation where I’ve played so many sports. We went kayaking, hiking, walking, swimming, played tennis, and even played a round a golf!
The Sunday after camping I commented that all that hiking and mountain air made me feel so good… that I feel like I can truly take a deep breath for the first time in months.
Last week was an extremely happy trip with life-long friends.
My heart is full.