Here we are, the end of the week and the end of summer… it’s hard to believe that September is almost over and I hate to say it but Christmas will be here in the blink of an eye. I just wanted to take a moment and reflect on what a fabulous summer this has been for Tyler and I. This is my second summer living in Calgary, but officially my first actually spent here. Last year we were very preoccupied attending the weddings of our dear friends and loved ones that this year we thought we would try to take in as much of Calgary and surrounding area as we could.
A tradition that we started last summer was a camping/golfing trip for the Canada day long weekend, and this summer we kick started the camping season with a trip out to Waterton National Park. This was my very first time to Waterton and I loved every minute of it! Since you cannot reserve campsites up on Crandell Mountain (FYI), we decided to stay the first night in town and get up at the crack of dawn to get a site on the mountain (as per the park attendants recommendation who said there would be a huge line up and to get up there first thing in the morning). So we both awoke at 6:30 am to get up to Crandell Mountain by 7 am. The gates didn’t open until 8 am but luckily we were the first ones in line…because by 7:45…only ONE other car had pulled in behind us!!! After getting our campsite reservation and since we were up, we decided to take in some of the scenery. We took a drive up to Cameron lake which was absolutely stunning and spent some time just enjoying the view and the fresh air. On our way back to the campsite, we made a pit stop at the Prince of Whales hotel which was absolutely stunning but EXTREMELY WINDY!
The rest of the weekend was spent golfing, hiking up to Red Rock Canyon and Blakiston Falls, relaxing and eating smores! Just a short 271 Km from Calgary, if you have never been to Waterton, it comes highly recommended from yours truly.
This year was the 100th anniversary of the Stampede and for those of you who had the chance to partake in some or all of the activities, hats off to you! For ten days every year the city comes alive with pancake breakfasts, cowboys (wannabe cowboys), carnival rides, Nashville North, country music, beer tents downtown, the Chuck-wagons, Grandstand show and a huge influx of plaid. What would a summer in Calgary be without a little hootin’ and hollerin’ at the world famous Calgary Stampede?? Tyler and I live quite close to Stampede park so our area is always bustling with people coming and going from the grounds. We didn’t get a chance to go to the rodeo this year as it sold out very quickly but we did take in the fireworks show up on the hill behind the grandstand! We also took in a Stampede party with our realtor friends Donna and Stacey and had a night out at Nashville North with some amazing people. Again if this is something you haven’t ever experienced, I encourage you to grab your hat, boots, and plaid shirt and make a weekend of it!
Other highlights in July:
Getting our NEW (new) Vehicle, the hot weather, floating down the river (another favourite Calgary pastime), Mary Poppins and dinner at Unheardof with my Aunt Barb (in Edmonton).
Traditionally we play ball in Edson with our rowdy softball team “The Beers” but due to the newest little member being born (Congrats Mike, Michelle and Big Brother Jack) our team decided to take the year off. Guess you could say its a building year! So Tyler and I headed out to Hays, Alberta for a weekend with his Dad’s side of the family for an August long dedicated to the Wickenheiser family reunion. We had a blast! There were many games of ladder golf, washers and a couple rounds on the pitch and putt played throughout the day. On Saturday night everyone gathered in the hall for a huge potluck dinner with enough food to feed about three times as many people that were at the reunion… which was followed up on Sunday with a family brunch (needless to say I didn’t need to eat for a week after the reunion!) This was my first time meeting most of Tyler’s extended family and by the end of the weekend it seemed like I’d known them all for years. We really enjoyed this weekend and are already looking forward to the next reunion in three years’ time!
I think that Tyler and I can both agree that our favourite weekend of the summer was a spontaneous trip out to Banff. We decided that we would book a weekend away to do some much needed hiking and relaxing. People always say ” You guys must love living in Calgary and being so close to the mountains!”. Truthfully I always forget just how close they are! So we packed up Sandy (that’s what we named the new KIA) and headed west. Friday night was spent cooking over the campfire and enjoying the peacefulness of being out of the city, we both knew this would be the last camping trip of the year and wanted to take full advantage. The plan for Saturday was to get up and and do some hiking. Bright and early we headed into Banff town site to grab a trail map and some much needed java. That’s when we discovered Evelyn’s! The best coffee bar ( in my opinion) on Banff Ave. We sat out on the patio and watched the sun come over the mountains. It was so peaceful in the town site and I really just enjoyed starting the day surrounded with fresh air and the serenity of being in nature. After looking at a few different trails, we decided on Bourgeau Lake:
This 7.5-km trail climbs the slopes of Mt. Bourgeau to a small alpine lake nestled high above the Bow Valley.
The path follows the course of Wolverine Creek, which delivers the outflow of Bourgeau Lake into the Bow River.
A climb of 725m is required to reach the lake, which is a lovely setting for a picnic before retracing your route back down to the trail head.
For those interested, the path continues another 2.5-km and climbs an additional 300m to Harvey Pass, which separates Mt. Bourgeau and Mt. Brett.
The climb up was very beautiful with a few waterfalls and spectacular views along the trail. Once we were at the top, the trail widens and you’re embraced with the turquoise colour of the lake and amazing mountain backdrop. We did go halfway up Harvey Pass but by that time the trail we getting quite crowded and we thought it best to turn around and make our decent so that we would beat the crowd. There were still people ascending as we were going down which I thought was very courageous of them on such a warm day. My legs were Jell-O by the time we reached the trail head but I was grateful and elated that we had done the 16 km round trip hike. Once back at the campsite we sat in the sun and relaxed before going for a little walk around the site. We ended up running into my friend and co-worker Stephanie and her boyfriend. COMPLETELY RANDOM! Actually she saw us first and started waving, naturally Tyler started waving back and said “hi” and I was confused and thinking who are you waving to? I looked over and exclaimed ” HEY, HI!”…this caused Tyler to be confused as he thought he was just waving at a friendly camper! After some much needed introductions and explanations to both Tyler and Adam, we made plans to go the Hot Springs after dinner. After a delightful soak we invited Steph and Adam over to our campsite for a fire, some drinks and smores of course…perfect ending to a perfect day! We packed up early Sunday to head back into the city but not before stopping at Evelyn’s for some morning goodness and fresh mountain air.
Being in the mountains makes my soul come alive. I’m looking forward to spending more time out there this winter hitting the slopes and definitely getting on some more trails next summer.
Other highlights from August include:
Ryan and Odessa’s wedding (Congrats Mr and Mrs Bartel), Jen and Ryan’s engagement/housewarming party (Congrats future Mr and Mrs Smith), and me securing a new job!! (Congrats self)
This leads me to our final weekend of adventures, September long in Invermere. Good friends of ours Heidi and Cory have a beautiful cabin out in Invermere and very generously invited Tyler and I out to spend the weekend with them and their three children Brooke, Brady, and Baby Blake. Another weekend filled with so many laughs, great food, great weather, amazing scenery and best of all fabulous friends! Heidi and I had a girl’s day with the kids at the farmers market where I discovered some seriously awesome home grown products. I ended up coming back with some delicious treats for our home in Calgary including squash, fresh garlic, homemade bread, pre-smoked and rubbed ribs, homemade granola and an abundance of tea (more on some of these great products later).
Thanks to Heidi’s parents, the four of us were able to get in a full round of golf at Copper Point. Couldn’t have asked for a better night…probably could have asked for a better golf game but not bad for my second round of the year. We had a delicious steak and lobster dinner (thanks to Heidi’s father…who knew you could cook lobster in the microwave??) and after the kids went to sleep had a very entertaining game of Quelf! Which if you haven’t play it before…it’s what Cranium would be like if the makers of Cranium were high! It’s the funniest, most random and insane board game you will EVER play! Definitely not for the serious type, you must have a sense of humour and be able to go with the flow as there is no rhyme or reason to the things that occur.
As the weekend started to wind down, Sunday was spent relaxing at the park and the pool with the kids, enjoying the sunshine on the patio and watching The Lorax and Big Brother. This was another great weekend in the books.
Summer 2012 has been amazing! All the fun memories and good times that we shared with our friends and family are unforgettable. Tyler and I are so fortunuate to have you all in our lives! I’m looking forward to what fall has to offer and am looking forward to settling back into a workout routine, eating healthy food, and creating more wonderful memories.
Take a look back on your summer…what are some of the highlights for you? What are you doing to celebrate the last day of summer? What are you looking forward to now that fall is here?????…stay tuned for some amazing fall pictures!!