Friday, August 29, 2008

2 Weeks on the Lower Mainland with family

It's been a hectic 2 weeks and things are just beginning to settle down for us again. It's been great having Chris's sister - Helen and our neice and nephew - Lauren and Callum come to visit us. We based ourselves for the first week in the gorgeous Porteau Cove Provincial Park. Situated right on the water's edge of Howe Sound on the Sea to Sky highway (runs between Vancouver and Whistler - so very aptly named). The views along the road are quite staggering. Every time we drove out we never failed to be impressed. It was quite the introduction to Canada for our guests! From here we visited Whistler. Drove a crazy 40km old logging road to some rustic hot srings which were some of the nicest we've been to (apart from the odd mozzie - the trick there was to just stay submerged in the hot water - tough but someone had to do it!!). Of course the big advantage of driving desolute logging roads is their remoteness - on the way back at dusk we turned a corner and there in the middle of the track was a big black bear trundling along. Fantastic for everyone to catch a glimpse of theif first 'bear' - it perked up a rather tedious journey no end!We hiked 'The Chief'. Apparently the 2nd largest monolith in the world (after Gibralter) it was a seriously tough climb and even tougher coming down, but the views of Howe Sound, Squamish and Mount Garibaldi are quite worth it. We visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver, rented bikes and cycled along the sea wall of Stanley Park, bought supper fresh from Granville Island market after hopping the bath-tub ferry across False Creek. We took the boat out on the water of Howe Sound many times and spent a day at the lake in Alice Lake Provincial Park. Lots of BBQs and campfires finished off most of our days.

Next stop was Cultus Lake. This was where we had spent 5 months over our first winter on the trip. Sadly some things don't seem to have changed. Summer or not it still seemed to be raining! Thankfully not every day and there were still things to do. Harrison Hot Springs was a great way to while away a couple of hours (fully developed, it's really just a super warm swimming pool), the cinema, a couple of fab meals out at Earls. And Lauren and I managed some scrapbooking time. When the weather did perk up we went to down the lake, hiked Teapot Hill with some fab views of Cultus Lake. Spent an afternoon at the Waterpark where we had a blast. (Talking of 'blasts' Callum really wanted a ride on Chris's bike but the only spare helmet was my extra small one - not really suitable for a strapping rugby playing rower! Lauren however, with her small and lady like head managed to convince both Chris and her mum that it would be a good idea for her to go for a ride. So they did and she came back grinning from ear to ear and wanting to go again - sorry if she's been converted to a life of biking...) But really I think the highlight of the fortnight for us all was the white water rafting. Writing this my twisted knee seems to have finally righted itself and the black eye has faded but I'd do it all again tomorrow. About 14km of white water rapids down the Chilliwack River (the Canadian National team train on parts of the river apparently). Chris and I rafted a couple of years back but that was so tame compared to this!! Quite adventurous and derring-do we all loved it! Lots of rapids - just a constant 2.5 hour hard work and paddling. Both kids fell out on one major rapid and our raft nearly capsized - I can only assume this was where I picked up the knock which become the black eye but I was having such fun I never noticed at the time! Big smiles all round!

As always it's hard for us to say goodbye to visitors. It reminds us that this life of ours is a little lonely at times. It also highlights all the strange quirks we've picked up over the years. Too much time on our hands and not enough social interaction perhaps....?!?!?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Bear encounters of the good kind!

Time has flown by since we've been in Canada - 2 weeks already! We spent the first few days in Calgary with friends Andy and Sharon and then headed out to Kananaskis Country in the foothills of the Rockies. Very beautiful but we had horrid weather and spent one day cooped up in the RV - we were using the furnace - in August!! It was a public holiday here in Canada so the weekend was crazy busy but we still managed a lovely hike out to Ribbon Creek Falls.

As we drove across the Rockies into British Columbia we stopped for a short break in Banff and look what we saw...!!
Not 20 feet from the RV and in my mind the perfect way to see wildlife - safely in the confines of a hard-sided vehicle with the engine running!! The bear was so dis-interested - busy eating berries he gave us a quick glance over his shoulder before turning back to his food!!

Now we're in BC and very much looking forward to family visiting next week in Vancouver.