Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Rest of the Summer Roundup!

I'm determined to finish off our summer adventures before November here it is, one last mad dash through July and August!

When we got home from our BC holiday, our friend Jennifer was at our house. She'd been feeding the cats while we were away, and working on recording her second album at a studio here in town. She asked us to join her and a couple of other people to sing background 'alleluias' for one of her songs! Of course, we couldn't say no to a request like that! :) But I was terrified of single-handedly wrecking her CD! Luckily, by the time the producer had us sing the melody and the harmony, and then run it through whatever computer magic, our little group sounded like a huge choir and my voice was indistinguishable from the rest.

One of my least favourite things about living in Calgary is (after the weather) Stampede. I could rant about it, but suffice to say that I don't enjoy it much. But this year we decided to get up earl and go on the morning where you can get in free if you go before a certain time. One of the big things this year was a figure skating show with Salle and Pelletier, of whom I'm a big fan. I was a bit underwhelmed, although that's probably because I'd gotten up early, and had to battle crowds, which is one of the reasons why I generally avoid Stampede. We went on the Ferris wheel, and I 'won' a stuffed minion (from Despicable Me) on the midway. We had fresh squeezed lemonade and mini doughnuts and hot dogs. We checked out the critters and watched the sheep shearing.

And of course we checked out the vendors, where I managed to get away without buying much of anything except some Tupperware, which I'd been looking for anyway. We were getting to our limit of interest, but we took a quick stroll through the crafting displays, and I found this gem of a Harry Potter cake. Pictures cannot do it justice - it was a masterpiece, and clearly created by someone with an abiding love for all things Potter. The detail is incredible!

Later in July we went up to Drumheller to the Passion Play. They have it there every year, and this is the third or fourth time I've been. They change the script up a bit - drawing on different Gospels - and this year was fabulous as always. We took a couple of youth from our church, and camped nearby. It was lots of fun, and we're hoping to do some youth camping again next year.

My post-road trip highlight was attending When Words Collide, a reader-con here in NW Calgary. A friend and I went together, and enjoyed meeting people, people-watching, hanging out with mutual acquaintances, attending panels, and generally being inspired in our literary ambitions. We're definitely planning to go back next year - it was SUCH a fun time.

And rounding off August, we spontaneously decided to go to Global Fest when we were offered the use of a pass. Global Fest happens in Calgary every year - it's about a week long, and each afternoon/evening there's a festival hosted by a different country, including fireworks. The night we went was hosted by the Philippines, and the fireworks were spectacular. They must have gone on for 20 minutes, and they kept getting better and better. If you've never been, I do recommend it!

Now that summer is over and I'm full-swing into midterms, planning a youth retreat that's happening next weekend, co-chair for the district youth gathering happening in July, trying to launch a business, working on an additional project for a conference, and trying to keep the house from falling apart and attempting on top of that to have something of a social life...things are pretty hectic! Good, but hectic. :)

Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park

This is one of my favourite places on the planet. When I lived on the island, our church would go camping here every summer, and I have some really special memories of the place. I was really excited to take Trevor there. Again, the weather wasn't all I could have hoped, but the scenery and the beach combing were amazing.

I swear that stump has been in that exact same spot for 15 or 20 years...

Bed of sand dollars at low tide

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Up Island - Caving Day!

The definite highlight of our holiday was, for me at least, the opportunity to go caving at the Horne Lake Caves. They're about a 45 minute drive from where we were camping in Qualicum Beach, but not that far as the crow flies. Most of the drive was on sketchy back roads into a provincial park. The caving operation is run by a company that works in conjunction with the provincial park to take people into a cave that's locked up to prevent vandalism.

If you ever go caving, I HIGHLY recommend tough nylon MEC pants. Trevor's jeans were incredibly muddy, but after a quick dusting off, my pants were totally clean. Also, no matter how warm it is outside, it will be REALLY cold underground. And since you have to wear the helmets they provide, I recommend having your own hat to wear under said helmet if you're squeamish about things like germs and bugs. :) Also, take water and a few snacks in a very small backpack - you will absolutely need your hands free.

It was quite stiff uphill hike from the parking lot to the actual entrance of the cave. When we got to the cave, the guide unlocked the gate, and we scrambled down a long metal ladder like you'd find on a ship. I was surprised by the cave itself - I had expected something you could stand up in an walk around, but it was more like a long sloping tunnel. I expected to hear mysterious drumming from the depths any second....

Cool mineral formation

Some people see a buddha, some people see Jabba the Hutt...and you can see a perfect reflection!

Emerging from the underground

After all of the hiking, scrambling, and hiking, not to mention the long drive, I was STARVING. So we headed to Coombs to see what we could find to eat.

We found goats on the roof, and an amazingly delicious Italian restaurant called Cuckoos, where I had the most incredibly divine bowl of homemade pasta I've ever eaten. And Trevor had a panini that knocked his (dirty) socks off...he actually talked about mingling flavours. It was a perfect culinary experience! Then we had ice cream, watched the goats, and bought some tasty treats in the shop. I wanted island-made blackberry jam, and I also found some imported Cherry Coke, which was the cherry on top of a perfect day. :)

Posted by Picasa