Leaving Port Alice was a beautiful and easy drive, and making such great time we made the earlier ferry with a smooth transition into Surrey Vancouver.
We were pretty knackered, and spent the next few days feeling a little deflated! I think home-sickness had started to kick in. We spent a fair amount of time visiting parks and local forests. A hilarious moment of packing up and leaving the house to realize we were in fact still there for an extra night!!
So we were starting our journey to Calgary with a few stops on the way with the drive being so long. After 50 minutes we saw a sign for the Enchanted forest, we stop off for a few hours of fun in the woods and fairytales, a boat ride and small hike following vaires random footprints, great little stop to run off some steam for kids and parents!
First after surrey was Salmon Arm again the drive was effortless the Ferals have got the hang of this malarkey, thank goodness for the SXM Kids Place Live Radio station, In particular Jack Foreman at Recess Monkey for the endless songs and entertainment (serotonin song is constantly stuck in my mind). Moondaisy was a little slice of heaven, we wished we had stayed longer than just one night! They regularly have a family of black bears on the property and the ferals got to play with the dogs, and pick carrots, raspberries and peas! We would definitely return to this cool little town!
We had to swiftly move on to our next place which was Castle View Cottage, Harrogate in the Rockies. We were welcome with open arms from the lovely Pearl and Jack, on arrival the luxury of fresh baked bread, homemade chocolates, Jam and eggs, was the perfect settling in snack (that loaf lasted a whole 10 minutes before everyone had at it!). The accommodation was so comfy and the Hosts were so welcoming, they were happy to have the kids play in the garden and the whole time we stayed you would find Feral2 helping Jack in his workshop fixing up tractors, mowers etc.
Besides chilling, taking walks up the creek, the 3 super friendly cats and a poorly feral3 with horrendous Earache which kept him and us up all night we took the first few days easy. Recovery was quick so we made a trip to Radium hot springs, had a dip in the pools, lunch and a play in the park. A lovely park with lots to do, especially when Bighorn sheep stroll past! Man those things are huge!! These guys hang around and have right of way, amazing creatures chilling by the Bighorn Hotel no less. Nice.
A highlight (in my eyes) was Mike coming back from a run, (Now let me quickly say mike has been running the whole time, despite the risk of Bears and cougars) on the standard question of how was your run the reply was ‘ it was great, I saw an eagle’s nest and there were chicks in there but then the bigger eagle started dive bombing me and I had to leg it out of there’ ppfffhaha. The image of Mike running from an Eagle tickles me!
On our exit from Harrogate we drove through Golden due to the forest fires. Visibility had been a bit crap, but the journey through Banff was incredible we saw the billowing smoke of a devastating fire on the mountains. We couldn’t help but wonder what the wildlife does to survive, if they do! Fires spread mainly by stupid humans, through cigarette butts, camp fires etc.
On our entry to Calgary, we pulled up to a very impressive and to mention the biggest house we have stayed in on our journey so far. All Ferals were ecstatic to see a huge basement of toys which they have played in none stop! Being pretty central in Calgary, only 20 minutes from downtown and under 2 hours away from Banff. We were set up for a plethora of trips. I’m afraid I cannot remember what order we did it in but I will brief on some of the things we got up too!
Heritage park was an amazing day where we spent 6 hours, wandering the Village, seeing were The Native people had first lived, and were towns and villages were set up from there. So much to learn and so hands on. Included in the admission was steam train rides, Horse and carriage rides, woodwork workshop, steam boat, blacksmith demo’s with every exhibit to enter, every person was in character and gave an amazing atmosphere, not to mention fairground rides and play park!
On 2 separate trips we visited Banff, first Lake Minnewanka (just the name is pretty funny to us Essex Folk) this place though was beautiful with hundreds of plump Chipmunks leading the way. We hiked through the mountain and got so far before we felt a little nervous with all the bear signs and advise to carry bear spray, although walking for over an hour was pretty good with 3 young kids in tow!
The second trip was a Gondola and Breakfast at Lake Louise Ski resort, beautiful Views up the open air Gondola, and a visit to the Wildlife preservation center, with a trip back down to a buffet breakfast. We then also carried on to the actual Lake Louise which was thee most incredible colour you have ever seen however the weather had turned into pretty fat rain, and chilly with 2 ferals throwing epic temper tantrums and us leaving fairly swiftly! Oh well you win some you lose some! HA!
Another Local trip was to the ‘Taste of Calgary’ in Eau Claire Market were a wealth of restaurants putting on pretty big tasters for tickets, yes we filled our tums with everything and the ferals spent time in the splash park, which we later on in the week visited to spend more time in the splash park and play park.
A visit to Drumheller was a recommendation, now at first we were a little put off, the Giant dinosaur you have to pay 20 dollars to walk up the thing, which we did not do. We made our way to the Tyrrell Museum (beware there is a fossil discovery center just before, it IS NOT the museum). Feeling again a little confused with directions and deflated we went into the museum, and it was worth it. The displays were awesome, so informative with many a button for littlies to press! Not to mention the live digs they were performing and in fact identifying a new species right before our eyes! They dig up the remains and place it in storage till they can work on it! Incredible! There is a vast landscape which reminded us a little of Zion which all the fossils were discovered.
All in all we have had an amazing time in Canada, the people are super friendly, the traffic is pretty mellow, and there is plenty of sights to see, we even got some ‘Brain training’ in (home ed)! Alas no bears, I was desperate and drove the family mad ‘keep and eye out for bears!!’ I’d shout. One day my friends. One day!
Tomorrow (thursday) we are flying to Iceland which was the request of a certain feral2 who turns 6. We have a busy month ahead making 5 countries in just over a month. BRING IT ON.