In Which I Post Pretty Pictures From My Vacation in the Canadian Rockies

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.

DSC_1805

DSC_1898

DSC_1778

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.

DSC_1764

DSC_1760

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.

DSC_1732

Their darling daughter Addison, who wears her hooded sweater backwards because We Are Two.

DSC_1728

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.

DSC_1751

Dining hall: Men sit on the left, women sit on the right at meal times. 110 people live on this colony.

DSC_1755

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.

DSC_1780

The characters:
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.

IMG_9117

DSC_1789
Kayaing. (And practically posing for National Geographic. Is not this location incredible?)
DSC_1782
Photo credit: Amy Gillett

DSC_1798

Hiking to Crypt Lake, an exciting adventure deserving of its own post, which is forth-coming.

DSC_1814

DSC_1833

IMG_9047
A steep section of the Crypt Lake hike. Approaching the cave.
DSC_1845
Mountain wildflowers.
IMG_9109
Sitting by the lake at 11:00 p.m. Days are much longer in the North. Photo credit: Amy Gillett
IMG_9107
Chicken kabobs. And magazines.
IMG_9113
Brewing Tim Hortons coffee. Of course. It’s Canada! Photo credit: Amy Gillett
DSC_1873
The view from our campsite.
IMG_9116
These girls tho.
IMG_9103
Posing with wildlife!
IMG_9105
Stupid deer stuck out its tongue at me.

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.

IMG_9121

IMG_9124

In Lethbridge, Amy also treated us to Spudnuts, donuts made from potato flour. I loved this adorable shop.

DSC_1767

IMG_8991

DSC_1769

Time at home…

IMG_8992
Getting pretty with Finn, Amy’s (thirsty) 16.8 pound rare white Burmese mountain cat.
IMG_9150
Making Honduran enchiladas with Julia for Amy’s family. Photo credit: Amy Gillett

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!

DSC_1877

DSC_1879
Hey, I never claimed to be Venus Williams.
IMG_9159
Magrath Golf Club. Amy worked it out so we could get in for free! Hee hee.
DSC_1884
Each golf cart is equipped with an iPad informing you of which hole you’re on, what is par, and any pertinent golfing tips. #Swanky
IMG_9173
Golf class in college really paid off. #not
IMG_9187
So much laughing every day.

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.

DSC_1826

DSC_1851

Last week was an extremely happy trip with life-long friends.

DSC_1864

My heart is full.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “In Which I Post Pretty Pictures From My Vacation in the Canadian Rockies”

  1. That is our home stomping grounds and some of the prettiest places on earth! And Amy is one of the sweetest girls, I practically watched her grow up. So fun that we know the same people 😉 and you might have just missed my girls who arrived in AB last week. blessings 😉

  2. Absolutely love the girls camping trip idea! And so much beauty, ahh. I think I want to go! I feel refreshed just reading about it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s