Ok so I am a little late in writing this blog about our trip to Alberta to witness the joining of my cousin in holy matrimony. But I figure it would be best to date this one for the day that we actually returned to the island.
The adventure began in August, two days after the big International Geocaching Day Block Party in Seattle Washington. This was an event I truly wished I could have been at, but it was impossible as all funds were tied up in traveling East rather than South. But luckily there was a garden party held at AnnieMaroo's place that day that we were able to attend.
Anyway we began our journey by staying the night in Aldergrove at the home of my Mother's Sister. It was nice to visit with them before heading out as I don't see them nearly enough for being so relatively close to home. The cost to cross on the Ferries these days is ridiculous so I tend not to cross often.
The next day we began our adventure East to Alberta, and to the first cache I had on my GPS. This was a planned stop at the large travel information center and rest stop just outside Merritt. Close at hand was my first cache en route and we made the short walk to the cache and found it very quickly. Now I know I did not mention that we were traveling with my Parents, so to eliminate any possible confusion I think it is best to mention it now.
So too soon after making the find I got a text from them telling me that they were ready to go, so we quickly signed the log and rushed back to the car.
We next made a stop in Kamloops for lunch, and since we were at a mall anyway Just Leafy decided to quickly shop for a dress to wear at the wedding. So while my mother and Leafy shopped, Dad and I wandered aimlessly around the shops. I didn't have any Kamloops caches in my GPS because I did not think that we were stopping there, but curiosity got the best of me and I pulled out my iPhone and launched the Official Geocaching App and saw that there was one directly across the street at yet again another Tourist Information Center. So I waited Leafy out to finish shopping, and then we quickly ran across the road for this unplanned cache. And so the next leg of the journey began, with the direct no stop run to Revelstoke.
Revelstoke was a place we had planned to get eight~ten caches in, and the area seems to have a few good ones that were perfectly situated to get with little effort. But our caching plans here went foul real fast, as this town has a major mosquito problem. We went to our first one here in the shade of two fir trees, and that's when we were attacked by squadrons of them.
Poor Leafy had in just a short two min a total count of twelve bites on her neck, face, arms, legs, back and the little bit of her tummy that was showing. As I stayed and signed the log, Leafy was running for the car. Since my plans for the majority of the caches were near water (mosquito hunting grounds), I had to scrap them and do only one more. The only cache that I had that was on higher ground was near their very cool Railway Museum. So for Revelstoke the count was only two.
And since this is where we were to call home for the night, checked in to the hotel and passed into the realm of sleep and into nightmares of giant mosquitoes chasing me.
The next day we drove to Lake Louise, the next planned stop for everyone. And logically I had two caches planned for here. One was a nice easy Virtual Cache and the other a simple Traditional Cache. The greatest part of this was that Leafy had never been to Lake Louise before. So I covered her eyes and walked her to the lake edge, and uncovered them when in position.
Sadly the silly girl covered my hands with hers and pressed hard. Well if you have ever done that to your own eyes (and we all know we have), you will remember the weird effect of blackness and colour spots flowing around followed by several minuets of blurriness. Well that is what happened to poor Leafy, and the effect of surprising her with Lake Louise's beauty was slightly spoiled until her eyes refocused.
Once the eye thing was rectified, we took pics, gathered the info for the virtual, and made the 5 min walk to the traditional that we found very quickly. And after a quick coffee and washroom break, we were on our way yet again.
Now this was the longest part of our trip, a direct drive from Lake Louise to Lacombe Alberta with the exception of a quick fuel up stop in Olds. Again curiosity got the better of me (since I did not have anything for Olds in the GPS either), and sure enough there was a cache only 400 meters away. So quickly while Dad fueled the car we ran down and grabbed this one too. Mom and Dad drove over to us and we jumped in and off we went.
It was about another 30 min to my Aunt's (my Dad's Sister) house near Gull Lake in Lacombe, and what a wonderful reunion it was. I had not seen these members of my family in nearly 9 years, and it is always a treat. The wedding came and went, and it was a fantastic time.
Now let us talk about caching in Lacombe. There was a surprisingly large amount of geocaches in the city (yes it is a city, as it had revived that title and distinction only just recently). For a place that is covered in snow for a good portion of the year, the caches there were either well maintained or just well made. I figured from all the water that tends to come with snow melt we would have been dealing with soggy, mildew ridden logs. But the logs were generally in great shape, and so too were the content of the caches. So a big tip of the hat to the cache owners of Lacombe.
The day we went to West Edmonton Mall was a planned day, and of the ten I wanted to get there I only got one. This was mostly due to the poor weather that day, rainy and cold. But the time we spent at the waterslides made up for the lack of Edmonton caches. We had a great time, and lost track of 4 hours very quickly. One of the things I love the most about West Edmonton Mall is how there is full sized restaurants in there, and being able to hit up Boston Pizza for dinner was just great. And once we did a little (I know it's early) Christmas shopping, we dove back to Lacombe.
The next few days were very restful, as the temperature dropped considerably making the pesky mosquitoes go away. And because my Aunt and Uncle's place is in the middle of nowhere, sitting and doing nothing is something one from the city can really enjoy if one just allows ones self to slow down. And slow down we did, sitting on the patio sipping on ice cold brewskies and eating peanuts.
Just Leafy (who loves animals) just loved being there because of all the animals she got to see. My Uncle owns two Horses, and they have a barn Cat, there is a near by Buffalo farm, Squirrels and Jack Rabbits visiting the yard, and the Coyotes yipping and howling at night. All so natural and beautiful, it's just amazing.
But sadly the time to depart came, and we said our goodbyes and began the trek home. This trip was exactly the same as the trip coming in reverse, except no stops in Lake Louise. So the caching was kept to a minimum. We did grab one in Golden quickly by a nice pedestrian bridge spanning the river. And when we reached Revelstoke we chose not to brave the nasty little blood suckers again. Picked up one or two while in Salmon Arm, and paid a visit to the one I did in Kamloops along the way to drop off a travel bug and to pick up a different one to bring back home with me. But got no more until we got back to my Mom's sister's place in Aldergrove again.
Once back we celebrated my Aunt's Birthday and the next day headed across the border to shop at Seattle's Premium Outlet Mall. There we got just one more and final cache on the trip, scoring the Washing State souvenir on geocaching.com. And with one more night spent at my Aunt's we went finally ended up back home.
So that is the story of our holiday to Alberta, and of the caching we did along the way. Whew.. what a lot of typing that was. We hope you enjoy reading about this trip as much as we enjoyed being on it.