An active cross-Canada summer (with no blogs!)
I have discovered that enjoying the slower pace of summer means I spend a lot less time on the computer and therefore this is my first blog since June. I think everyone should have a social media holiday. A break from constant updates allows you to focus on the moment without thinking about how to write about it later.
My family and I spent 7 weeks visiting the Maritimes and Eastern Canada. When we returned to Calgary, we hung out and relaxed, walked the city and hiked and camped in the Rockies.
It was a summer full of long hot days and warm nights. There was lots of time for the kids to get bored and then start to explore and create, to read a book, to be useful and help with dinner, and then set the table and to wash the dishes. We did a lot but nothing was rushed because every day was a clean slate. It was just what the doctor ordered after 10 months of structure.
I’ll try to sum it all up with this stream of consciousness approach, here it goes:
Hot and humid, outdoor dinners every night, the neighbours pool and sprinklers, Popsicles and strawberry shortcake, warm evenings, tree forts, fireflies, crickets, Ontario peaches, lobster dinners, Maritime molasses brown bread, my son driving the riding lawnmower at his grandparents.
My daughter playing piano with my mum, going for coffee in small town NB every morning with Grammie’s friends, walking and running on the rail trail along the Saint John River in Woodstock, NB’s oldest town, a phenomenal Anne of Green Gables play in Charlottetown, PEI, walking the Charlottetown waterfront, a 10 km road race (5 km for the kids), catching up with a few high-school friends.
Picnics on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec, speaking French, eating gelato and ice cream, staying in and walking Quebec City, all day, every day for a week, tasty Quebec cheeses and fresh baguettes for lunch.
A swim in the free public pool along the Saint Lawrence River and then climbing 400 stairs from the Saint Lawrence to the Plains of Abraham, moules frites, hand-made gelato at Tutto Gelato on Rue Saint Jean.
Strolling the back streets searching for fountains to cool us, farmer’s markets and fresh produce from l’Ile d’Orleans, enjoying a glass of wine in the park, legally (Calgary take note).
ICE CREAM in Quebec City!!
Cooler packed picnics amongst the tourists at the road-side highway turnoffs, a hike in the parched Gateneau’s, 34 degrees and high humidity (water!!), another outdoor pool, watching the Olympics in the air conditioning.
Walks along Lake Ontario in Kingston, a train ride to Montreal, energy and life on Rue St. Denis, the success of Montreal’s Bixie bike program (oh, when the kids are a bit bigger…), traveling the underground, walks to the Atwater and Jean Talon markets, a picnic on Mont Royal, lots and lots of gelato and ice cream.
Back in Calgary, relaxing, packing and cooking for camping, my daughter catching up with her stuffies, my son catching up with his friends, going camping in the Rockies with friends and their kids, we all hiked 15 km and 700 meters to Rockbound Lake, Banff National Park and the next day 11 km and 500 meters to Stanley Glacier in Kootenay National Park.
Hot, sweaty, horseflies and mosquitoes, dunking our bodies and heads in the creeks and waterfalls pouring off the Stanley Glacier, the 6 and 8 year old having running races in the campground after 7 hours of hiking.
Camp fires and marshmallows, double chocolate layer cake, beer!, Greek lamb burgers and spaghetti with fresh basil tomato sauce, BC peaches and blueberries from DJ’s market in Calgary (the only REAL not a rip-off farmer’s market in the city).
More camping on the Icefields Parkway, burr, our morning wake-up to ice in the water bottles on the last weekend in August, a black bear running into the campsite, Helen Lake Hike, purple rock and fuchsia Indian Paintbrush, vibrant green moss in the stream.
Scrambling on boulders, marmots and pikas and glaciers, dinners with friends to hear about their summer, hikes with Club Fit Frog, family hikes with lots of kids (and lots of snacks!), can’t jam in anything else. Labour day is here.
And that pretty much sums it up. We had a fantastic summer exploring the east and west of Canada. We are lucky and life is good. It’s back to school and to some routine, but we’ll be sure to leave lots of free time for spontaneity and fun; for exploration and creativity.
Fall is one of my favourite seasons, the air is fresh, the colours emerge and the hiking is wonderful.
More adventures await!