Wednesday, July 11, 2012

O, Canada!

 Mike and I left Cedar  City on June 29, 2012  with his Mom and picked up his sister, Gayela in Salt Lake, then headed for the border.  Below is what we left:  fires all around Utah and the west and more to sprout while we were away.
 This is what we saw while we were gone.  We spent Friday night in Blackfoot, ID at the Seely's home.  They were not even there, but graciously allowed us to stay there.  Then we kept heading north and stopped to see some stuff  in Great Falls, Montana.  Below are some of those Great Falls.
 Above is  Rainbow Dam, I believe. We stopped at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive center and it was some sort of a festival/celebration days where they had events all over the grounds outside.  The inside center was free, but we didn't spend a lot of time there.  I could have spent days looking at everything, though.  I really must check out those videos and watch them (on Lewis and Clark).  Fascinating material, gorgeous things to observe at the river.  We saw the headwaters of the Missouri River.
 Fur Traders
 Indian dancer
 Teepee on the grounds
 Overview of outdoor activity area
 Mike and I at THE Great Falls.  It was a little out of the way, but we're glad we took the time go go see this area.  A large hydro-electric plant, large dam, large rocks, large falls.  Large amounts of water.

 Gayela at the suspended bridge.  Mike is about half-way across.
 At Cousin Glady's home in Lethbridge, AB, Canada.  The purpose of the visit was to celebrate her 90th birthday.  Many of her children, grand and great-grandchildren had gathered here,too.  Lovely folks, all.
 We all went to church with Gladys on Sunday.  It was July 1,   Canada Day.  So, for the opening hymn, we stood and sang "O Canada."  That was a first.  They'd pasted that in their hymbooks, so we sang all 4 verses with gusto. It's quite lovely.  They have a great deal of patriotism north of our border, too, as evidenced in the testimonies born at the meeting that day.
 Monday we celebrated by attending a parade in Raymond, and after that was a picnic at her daughter's house there in Raymond, and then we all attended the Raymond Stampede rodeo.  It was very well-run, it is the oldest in Alberta (Older than the Calgary Stampede, which is 100 this year and VERY big.)  Raymond's was smaller, but it was FOUR hours long.  Four hours of sitting on a hard bench.  Above, Cousin Gladys Stringam is in the center, Berenice on the right. Myrna on the left.  sorry, I don't know her last name.
 They had a flag ceremony to start the rodeo...well, I guess it's called posting the colors. They posted both USA and Canada flags and sang/presented both anthems.  I just couldnt' get both flags in one photo, though I tried.  Mike and I had moved up to the top bleachers to catch a snippet of a breeze to keep from roasting alive in that hot grandstand.  I don't know how Mike's mom survived it!

 Impressive GREEN prairie covered in crops of wheat, canola (the yellow fields) and fat cows grazing in belly - deep grass.  Oh, and the horses all over the country were amazing and gorgeous, too!
 This is for my neighbor-friend, Mari.
 Mike and I met and had lunch with friends from his mission in Eastern Canada who now live in Raymond.  This is Sybil  George .  She took us to lunch on Tuesday.
 Tuesday evening was Glady's big shindig at the church, but we all went there first and had pizza for dinner.  Mike, Gayela and their mom.
 Wednesday morning (on the 4th of July), Berenice, Gayela and I attended a session in the Cardston temple.  Mike had made arrangements to see his mission president's widow that morning and had a nice visit with her.
 We changed clothes and headed for Waterton Lakes National Park.  Cameron Falls, above.
 Prince of Wales Hotel.  Right out on a bluff overlooking the lake.  Gorgeous.  We would have had "tea" there, as it is served from 1 to 5 in the lobby. But I wasn't feeling quite that rich. We found that many things were quite expensive in Canada.  This tea service (cookies, scones, tea sanwiches, etc.) was $29.95 per person.  Youch!

 While in the little village of Waterton, we saw the falls, we checked out the visitors center, we signed up for a 4 pm lake cruise  over to the International Peace Park--the border between Canada and US.  THAT was very windy but a lot of fun.  We landed at "Goat Haunt" Montana for a bit.  Had our passport stamped there.
 They had had a lot of rain the week before we came.  The wildflowers everywhere were gorgeous. So many!  Everywhere!  And their forests were so green. No massive bark beetle kills there, although there are some areas that it has affected.  Mostly healthy and green and oh-so-refreshing.  And mosquito-y.
 We boarded one boat that was old and quaint, and that is the captains' wheel.  But it had a problem with an oil pressure gauge or something, so we disembarked and boarded another boat for our little 2 hour lake cruise.  We sat on top and were thoroughly wind-blown all the way down there. But I saw the border!  And we saw big horn sheep!  And rivers!  and Cascading waterfalls!  And trees!
 Cameron Lake.  Lots of glaciers in the area.

 Lake Louise

 Johnston Canyon waterfall and hike.  I love moss, remember?
 Lower falls, Johnston Canyon
 Bow Falls,  Banff, AB, Canada
 Banff Springs Hotel.  800 plus rooms.  Pretty impressive.
 Me, with Takakaw Falls in background.  "Takakaw" in Cree means "It is Magnificent".  It surely was.

 Bighorn sheep crossed the street right in front of our car in Radium Hot Springs outside one of the other parks.  We went to Banff, Waterton, Yoho and passed by one more whose name escapes me at the moment.
Windmills, yellow canola, mountains.  Green, green, green. Lush.  Gorgeous.  Water every where.  Then, heading south on July 7 and 8, when we crossed over the boarder to Montana, it was like the water was turned off!  Such a contrast.  

So, in our travels, I
 crossed a US border for the first time, 
 saw a big chunk of Canada, 
 sang their national anthem (twice!), 
went to a rodeo,
 hiked to some waterfalls, 
saw elk, a bear, ground squirrels, deer, big horn sheep and some white dots on a mountain that were supposedly mountain goats, but I'm not convinced
crossed the wide Missouri many MANY times, 
saw the headwaters and source of the mighty Columbia river as well, 
met relatives of Mike's that neither of us knew and some that we did,
attended a temple session in a new temple (for me)
 missed our kids as the cousins were all out playing frisbee on the lawn and swapping grandbabies around, 
 sat through a LOT of miles.  Over 3,000 I believe, 
ate some good Greek Spanikopita at a restaurant, 
drank more cans of soda than I've had in about 2 years, but didn't gain any weight and didn't get any mosquito bites!

All - in- all, a very lovely vacation!!


Donna said...

Wow - no mosquito bites? Impressive. I had 30 on one arm when I came home! Is that large hotel the one from the Shining?
Sounds like a complete and total blast!!

Cheryl said...

Loved, loved, loved that you were there! I'm glad you had a great experience. I adore Canada!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful vacation, and you got to visit so many people and see so many beautiful places. Trip of a lifetime! Love, Aunt T.

Suzanne said...

That looks like a fantastic trip! That picture of you running from the "bear" made me laugh out loud. You are a funny girl!