Maybe I should wait another week to post, just so I can say it’s been three months, but I’m feeling a bit rambunctious today, so I’ll just go ahead and blog. We’ve had a crazy summer, only home for about 3 weeks in the past three and a half months, so there hasn’t been a lot of time for blogging in the midst of all the living, which is, just possibly, the way it should be.
As we begin another fall season though, I’ll be working harder again at capturing some of the bits and pieces of our days for ourselves to remember and for some of you to glimpse a moment here and there.
The summer was full of adventure, play and learning.
The kids rode horses at a camp in Southern Alberta, thus beginning a horse obsession for India that we are excited to explore in the coming months.
We camped in Jasper.
We went to kid’s camp for a week at Sylvan Lake and had our first “get your kid’s head glued back together” visit to the emergency room.
Elijah worked hard to conquer his fear of heights and learn to be a better climber. He now spends a lot of time on the outside top of our play structure as well as looks for every opportunity to climb. Inspired by his climbing friend Mateyo, Elijah has had to work against his natural nervousness to achieve this goal. So neat to watch the kids set goals for themselves and then work to accomplish them.
Our major vacation consisted of a three week journey to Haida Gwai (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) which we visited last summer and fell in love with. We did it differently this time around, taking 5 days of travel instead of 2 on the train, and camping and adventuring along the way. It was wonderful to have the time and freedom to stop whenever we saw anything interesting, and to break up the 1200 km drive with lots of exploring and laughter.
India chose a reptile to touch at the Prince George Science Exploration centre. She decided that this corn snake felt like touching butter. We learned that it is important to wash your hands before and after touching the reptiles to avoid transmission of diseases in both directions. We learned that the stick insects regularly escape their cages and are found throughout the museum in the mornings, and that a human will never win a staring contest with a bearded dragon.
Enjoying the sunny 6 hour ferry crossing between Prince Rupert and Haida Gwai. The ferry is wonderful when the sun is shining and you can see for miles. We saw killer whales spouting and fish jumping, and met some new friends from Toronto who had lego along, which thrilled Elijah and made the time pass quickly.
We celebrated reaching Haida Gwai after five days of driving, ferrying and camping. India ran around excitedly saying, “This water really smells like the Queen Charlotte’s water.” We all enjoyed being back at the ocean again, and Ani (the big white dog) loved chasing sea birds and running full out on the beach.
Visiting with Captain Bill on his last day as a ferry Captain. The man has retired four times, and remembered us from last summer when we visited him on the same ferry. The kids loved being up at the control centre of the ferry and even got to steer the big ferry on the way back to Prince Rupert. This is the small ferry that takes passengers between the two main islands all day, every day. It takes about 20 minutes from side to side.
Watching the bald eagles is always entertaining. They land with such power and precision, and their landing gear is interesting to observe. It takes 5 years for a bald eagle to reach maturity (which is when they get the white cap on the head). Juvenile bald eagles are much more scraggly looking, with mottled brown and white feathers. Some hunt, some scavenge, depending on what their parents have taught them. Females are larger than males, and they generally live to be about 20 years old. They build the largest nest of any bird, which can weigh up to one ton.
Sean and his dad went ocean salmon fishing for a day. Lucky to have this experience, many pay thousands of dollars for such a chance. We paid some gas money for the boat. Our hosts were generous, as were the helpings of fresh Coho and Silverback salmon we heaped on our plates that night.
We marvelled at the beauty of overgrown old growth cedar and spruce forests. Everything green, lush, and rich. Walking through this area, one almost expects a pterodactyl to come swooping through the trees at any moment, or that any variety of large prehistoric creatures might emerge. As it was, on this particular day, the grass along the side of the highway had been mown, and on our 130 km drive we counted 151 black-tailed deer munching away at the freshly mown greens.
Eating fresh crab on the beach while watching the sunset. Not bad for a family of Albertans. Even Elijah, who REALLY doesn’t like the crabs, was able to watch as they were cooked (revenge you know) and try a little bite.
Stay tuned for another post on the wonders that we found while beach combing. A journey in and of itself.