Friday, October 3, 2008

Our Journey North

Just imagine driving for two days straight, on long stretches of open highway, past acres and acres of potato fields, rolling foothills and the occasional rocky outcrop. Sounds peaceful and serene somehow doesn't it?

Now imagine doing it with a 2 year old and a 9 month yourself!

Now seriously, and I am not embellishing at all, but my kids were amazing. I wouldn't exactly call the roadtrip serene, but it was actually really fun and easy. I was well prepared with sticker books, colouring pads, kids music, and enough snacks and bribery treats to feed a whole kindergarten class. And I am sure all of those things helped of course, but truly, Isla and Roscoe are the best little travellers. Isla made for wonderful conversation and Roscoe loosened his vocal chords a little himself, keeping Isla and I entertained with his newly discovered sounds.

We made it all the way to Great Falls, Montana the first day (850 km) from Logan. We left at 10 a.m. and reached our planned destination, Helena Montana at 5 p.m, but the kids were content and fed and I decided to push through to the next major center.

The hotel stay was probably to most challenging part of the trip to Calgary. Getting the kids to go down at the same time took a whole lotta energy, that I didn't have after driving for 9 hours. But we all eventually fell asleep and got up the next day to drive the rest of the way home.

From Great Falls, it is around 5 hours driving distance to Calgary so I decided to take a little detour at Milk River Alberta just north of the border crossing. We picked up a picnic lunch and headed the 40km east out into the prairie to Writing on Stone Provincial Park.

I worked as a park interpreter at Writing on Stone in 1999 and the place holds special memories for me. With the camping season over, there were less than a handful of park visitors so it felt as though we had the park to ourselves. The fall colours filled the Milk River valley and the hoodoos seemed particularly magical.

We spent a few hours walking the trails, checking out the newly constructed Interpretive Centre (very impressive) and playing at the playground before we hit the highway north towards Calgary. We were nearing the city limits close to suppertime and I made the decision to detour out to the Veale's family home just outside Okotoks - the main reason for our trip north - to see little baby Daniel (my best friend Kim's new baby boy).

We ended up staying for supper and had lots of cuddles with little Daniel, until my own little children made it be known they were ready for their own bedtime cuddles. It was a long couple of days, but they were incredible little travellers. They sure made their mama proud.

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