We went to Jasper to meet some friends. They were people we knew many years ago on a casual basis. We didn’t know them well, but knew them enough that when they invited us to join them for a couple of days on their family vacation in Jasper we jumped at the chance. We babysat their daughter on a couple of occasions when she was the same age that our littles are now, and then lost touch when they moved from Edmonton. It was a wonderful vacation for us, with a good combination of kid time and grown-up time once the kids were in bed for the evening. We all stayed in the basement of a church in Jasper, cooked meals together, and hiked during the day.
Their 11 year daughter loved helping out with Mattea, and even got to change her first diaper. Their 9 year old son and Elijah got along really well, playing cards, wrestling, and scrambling up rocks together. It was nice to be together with people who hold similar ideas about honoring kids as we do, and to be in a space with another family where we could be real and not on display.
Hiking up to Old Fort Point. The hike is not long, but the trail is narrow in points. Hiking in Jasper is weird (for this Nordegg junkie). There are people everywhere, passing on the trail. It’s beautiful, and obvious why it’s popular. We actually met someone on the trail that our friends knew from their home city. Also, hiking with a 30 pound baby on my back was a challenge. It went well for the most part, although in spots I found it was a challenge to keep myself balanced and not jostle Mattea around too much.
I love this picture, Elijah totally fascinated and engaged with something he has found in the meadow (which was halfway up to the top point of the hike), and surrounded by the majesty of the Rocky Mountains. There is something so sacred about having the kids exposed to the natural beauty of this area, and giving them time to explore it and really inhabit it.
Victorious at the summit. There was this cool rock outcropping at the top of the hike for the kids to scramble up and down on. It was also a great place to stop for a snack.
Our new friend T, helping Mattea to play in the Athabasca River at the trailhead. The river is glacier fed, which is what gives it the pale icy green color.
Sean took some beautiful close up shots while we were in Jasper. This is one of the walking stick I made him for his birthday.
The second hike we did was into Pyramid Lake. The hike was quite short and flat, which was good for tired kids and a fussy baby who just wouldn’t go to sleep on my back. A completely different hike from the previous day, we were surrounded by trees on all sides. The lake was stunning, the water simultaneously crystal clear and deep green, and there was an unlimited supply of rocks to throw into the water.
Yet another of Sean’s lovely pictures. I love this one too, the symmetry of line, continuity of color, contrasted and combined with the diversity in where the knots are on each individual trunk.
This summer, as we have been intentional about getting outside with the kids in a way we haven’t before, I am realizing how much healing and restoration happens when we are surrounded by creation’s beauty. There is a calmness in the moment, a muting of the frantic energy the littles exude when they are contained. There is a holy thing that happens when we are embraced by the greening.
“Earth is crammed with heaven.
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes.
The rest sit ’round it and pluck blackberries.”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning