Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fall Comes Here Early

As is evident by the cool nights we are starting to have... but more obvious is the fact that all the fall fairs are already over. Believe me because we missed them all! We were really hoping to get to them as we have really enjoyed the fall fair in Duncan over the last four years and we had heard that the ones in Fort St John and Dawson Creek are really good. However, the one in Dawson Creek was the 2nd weekend in August - while we were away on our trip back home; and the one in Fort St John was the following weekend and we had just arrived back home from our trip and didn't realize it was on until it was too late.

We had seen some signs on our way home of another Fall Fair on the weekend of the 23rd in Hudson's Hope - about an hour away in the little town nearest the WAC Bennet Dam. Michael was working night shift that weekend so on Sunday the kids and I decided we would go and check it out by ourselves.

We headed out fairly early and managed to get about two minutes away from home when we noticed that the main street in downtown Fort St John was closed off... and not with the usual work crews but with tents and cars and people milling about... something to check out! So we went in and explored, it was a classic car show but it had all sorts of things going on to entertain those of us who can manage "ooh that is a pretty car" but are otherwise unimpressed by car shows.

The kids got to ride a neat little train that had barrels as train cars for the kids to ride in and we all got to ride in a horse drawn wagon, they had remote control car races and a big bounce castle slide thing, cotton candy and hot dogs (not to mention race cars handing out race schedules so Allan has been telling everyone that we are invited to watch the race cars, when are the race cars, we are going to see the race cars, race cars, race cars, race cars...)
Anyway we were there for an hour when we had pretty much seen it all and were ready to go - I was ready to go home but the kids still wanted to go to Hudson's Hope, so off we went. We drove and drove and drove - the kids were asking if we were there yet, I was asking if we were there yet... I don't know how long it took exactly but it was more than the hour away I was told it was... Along the way we stopped at a gravel pit to run around and stretch our legs - we actually had a lot of fun here, we collected a lot of cool rocks (my house is full of rocks) and the kids had fun climbing the hills and sliding down, not to mention inspecting all the different wildlife poop they found (oh joy!)

In the Gravel Pit... throwing rocks, sliding, exploring and running... what more does a kid need?

After about half an hour we continued on again and drove the last stretch to Hudson's Hope to learn that the Fall Fair was on Saturday only... not Sunday. So, no Fall Fair even after a long drive... quick what to do, what to do... Oh look kids, there is a museum with DINOSAUR BONES!!! That will be exciting! And it was pretty cool - they had an assortment of footprints and casts of skull bones that had been found in the area as well as a bunch of other small bones... it was interesting but it also only took about 10 minutes to check out the inside of the museum and about 5 minutes to check out the outside... we did find a snake in the grass which kept us occupied for about 15 minutes.

Maria in front of a Trapper's Cabin at the museum

Then we went over to the Visitor Information Centre and they told us to go to Dinosaur Lake for a playground and lake to play around. It wasn't warm enough for swimming but good for exploring and playing. Except that when we drove the way the girl told us to go to find the lake we never did find it... so after stocking the kids with some goodies for the drive back (it keeps them much more happy along the drive) we turned around and headed back home... It wasn't quite the day we had planned, but we had fun and it was an adventure... just ask the kids!

Snake in the grass, he was hard to follow he could hide very well!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fun Stuff Always Happens When I don't Have the Camera

The other day we all hopped in the van and headed down to Taylor to check out the Peace River Campground (or something along those lines). It has a great playground that we could see from the highway and Hubby wanted to check out the boat launch. The kids had fun playing at the playground for a while but there weren't any OTHER kids so the playground fun didn't last too long so we headed down to the river.

The rivers up here are not lined with rocks like the rivers I am used to, they are lined with dirt - or more specifically... mud. The slipperiest, gooiest mud you can imagine. On this particular day the river was quite low - we found out later it was because they slowed the flow at the dam to look for a body... ewww.

Anyway, walking down the river bank is fun on its own as at any particular moment you could slip and fall in the muck. However, once you embrace the fact that you are going to be dirty and let yourself sink up to your ankles (knees sometimes) and just go with it, you don't seem to fall so much.

So we were walking along, checking out various animal footprints... pretty sure we saw wolf, maybe some sort of large cat, beaver maybe, raccoon, squirrel and a bunch of dogs... We played in the mud, squished it in our toes, crossed a small creek then crossed another to a larger, steeper, mud bank. By this point the kids were swimming, it was just deep enough to cover their heads in the middle but they could touch most of the places and then they were playing in a mud puddle that was warmed in the sun... which led to the making of a "river" down from the puddle to the actual river... which led to the "otter-slide"

Maria loves to play in the dirt and it took not long at all for her to try sliding down the bank into the river, but it wasn't very fast moving here and the mud was a little bit hard, so she moved on to the next slide site, better but still not fast enough so we all built the third slide further down in the softest glop you could imagine and she slid much better here, but she wasn't running at it so Hubby had to show her how it was done of course and they had such a blast. Allan doesn't like to get dirty so he rode down it on Hubby's back but Maria was in her glory... She was covered in mud from just below her eyes and all the way down. I wish I had my camera, but honestly it would have gotten in the way, we had too much fun.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Well I finally have the inspiration to learn more about how to use my camera. I have been so happy with the various "auto" settings on it that I hadn't really felt any need to learn more. I played around with it when I first got it and fumbled, but I never actually made any effort. The pictures from the automatic mode are great and the the ones from all the pre-programmed settings have been more than adequate... until the other night.

Some friends of ours popped over and wound up staying longer than they expected. They were just about to leave when she noticed lightning flashes out our dining room windows, then we were mesmerized. There was no sound (we heard only a few thunderclaps) and no wind or rain so we went out on the deck and watched as several different lightning shows went on for over an hour.

It was stunning, I have never witnessed that much lightning before. We had an unobstructed view of the whole thing in two different locations and often the flashes were non-stop between the two locations... some of the flashes were so large they flashed from one storm site to the other... Only pictures would be able to explain how awesome they were but that is one setting my camera doesn't have, I will have to work on that.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wow... who knew summer was so busy!

But nice too... There has been too much going on to have had time to post anything and how much do I have to post about anyway??? Not much, but the fact that we are so totally blessed and loved and whatever other mushy thing you can think of. We have had no shortage of visitors and not just visitors but friends and family who have driven a very long way to come and see us... well not JUST to see us, but they did come see us, and we had so much fun with them all.

Then we had our own driving trip and had a wonderful time going back to Squamish and then the Island seeing all of our friends and families and seeing our old home (it still feels like home)... I just wish we had more time to spend time with each person... our visits were quite brief trying to see everyone...

It was the strangest feeling driving off the ferry in Nanaimo though... even Allan felt it. It really felt like we were coming home Allan made the comment "well we had fun in Fort St John but we are going home now!" But on the other hand it was good to get home, to our new home after two weeks away... that also felt like "coming home".

We stopped at several tourist traps on the way home... the kids LOVED it!