Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Southern Alberta Camping

Last time I tried to go camping in southern Alberta, it was in Waterton, and we came home after one night because of the extreme wind, which literally flattened our tent in the middle of the night. So when I booked two nights at Little Bow Provincial Park, just south of Vulcan, I was really hoping it wasn't too far south for comfort. I really needed a holiday after the stress of running the District Youth Gathering, although I'd forgotten how much work it is to prep for a camping trip, and since Trevor wasn't coming with me packing the car was a bit more difficult than usual, but once I was on the road, I was stoked. Timmies in hand, I headed south accompanied by the tunes of one of my favourite Lutheran bands, Lost And Found - I just got their new live double-CD release in the mail, and it took me almost all the way to Little Bow. I made a quick stop at the Vulcan Tourism and Trek Station for a map and directions, since I'd forgotten mine in my rush to get on the road...and made it to the campground about 40 minutes earlier than I'd planned, which made me very happy. :)

It had been cold and rainy in Calgary, and I was wearing jeans and a thick t-shirt, so my first stop was changing into something cooler, which also made me very happy. However, the weather forecast was calling for the possibility of thundershowers, so we decided to rig a tarp up in the trees over the tent, just to be on the safe side. The guy in the campsite across the lane came over to talk to us about parking his boat on our side of the road, and asked if we needed any help - I felt like he didn't think two girls could put up a tarp - but of course we politely turned him down!

The good and the bad about Little Bow is that there's no internet, and as I discovered, no cell coverage. I was glad to have a few days of rest of the net, but I'd promised Trevor a phone call. As the evening wore on and it got a bit darker, it looked more and more like it would rain, so I set out to hunt down a pay phone. After walking not five minutes to the parking lot, it was dark as night, and the wind was blowing in off the lake. There was also some lightning on the horizon, so I turned around and headed back. When I was still a few blocks away from the campsite, it started to rain, and by the time I got to the tent it was pouring and I was soaking. We scrambled into the tent and battened down the hatches. Then I realized that I couldn't read because my flashlight was in the car, I was hungry, and I had to go to the bathroom. It felt like eons before the storm let up - the lightning was blindingly bright, the thunder was shaking the ground, and the rain was POURING down - but it was only a couple of hours. Once it let up we regrouped and went to bed, but I had uneasy dreams all night about the tent flooding. Really though, the only water that got in the tent was what we brought in on our wet clothes, so when boat guy from across the road stopped by to ask how we fared, I was quite pleased to report that not a drop of rain leaked in. :)

Saturday was bright and sunny, and after a lazy morning reading, eating, and people-watching, we hiked up one of the hills surrounding the campground.

The scenery of the hills and the lake reminded me so much of my trip to Israel and the Galilee region - Little Bow is more green - but the heat and the dust and the rolling hills and the blue water gave me a bit of a flashback.

So pretty! I'll definitely go there again. We also checked out the lake shore briefly, but I didn't have my camera on that walk. It was a really restful weekend of reading, Scrabble, eating and recharging, which I really needed after the insane few months I've had.

Although speaking of insane...I came back and jumped right into helping with Vacation Bible School, which I haven't done in about nine years. I'm a classroom helper for the Grade 1/2 class, and there's about 23 kids, one teacher and four helpers. It's actually lots of fun, and it's really nice to not actually being in charge of keeping things running on time or anything like that, but I do feel a bit old when I see how much energy a grade 1 boy has! Each group has an animal associated with it, so I'm 'Mrs. H' of the Sandcats. We'll see how the week goes...maybe next week you'll get a blog of "Mrs. H's VBS Version of 'Kids Say the Darnedest Things'". :)

Aaaand...I've recently figured out how to use HTML to make links work properly, and I went a bit nuts in this post, and linked to a bunch of old posts. So if you're a relatively new reader, check them out, ok! Especially the Israel ones...that was such an epic trip - one of these days I'll go back!

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