Dinosaurs, Gondolas, and the Enchanted Forest
On Wednesday morning we headed out for the mountains. We were awe-inspired almost instantly and I was growing increasingly excited as the mountains got bigger and bigger as we got closer. Our first stop was Banff. The sign said the next two exits were Banff. Chris skipped the first one just for no reason other than there was another, but with the usual construction issues the second one was closed, with no noticeable warning. We had to drive about five clicks to the Lake Louise turnoff and go back to Banff. We made it into Banff just fine and headed for the gondola ride. I was a tad concerned the boys might not like it but it was a very very worthwhile stop. Eighty-six bucks later (and worth every penny) we were airborne. Looking at the boys and how much they loved it reminded me that Chris and I were at the same place ten years ago, and longer ago when I was Carter's age my family came to BC too, so I got all verklempt for a minute. The boys loved every minute of it and didn't want to get off. About a mile later we got off and of course had to walk through yet another gift shop. We climbed to the observation deck and I took a handful more pictures. Down we went and stopped for some ridiculously-priced refreshments. We headed back to the gondola and ventured back down to earth.
Our next stop was to be in Yoho Park where we hoped to see Takakkaw Falls. (Or Takalakataka as I first thought it was called heeheehee :) Somehow we missed the turnoff as there wasn't much signage. We just kept going but really needed a stop. We randomly chose Finn Creek; a lovely rest area with crystal clear river cascading into the larger, lovely clear green river. We played there for quite awhile and waded through the chilly water. Nice place.
Next stop was Revelstoke just for a random mental health break. We decided after Day One that we wouldn't torture ourselves or the kids with too much consecutive driving. We did a bit of a walkabout and got back on the highway; with just a short jaunt to the Enchanted Forest (about halfway between Revelstoke and Sicamous). The kids were instantly enchanted. We no sooner went through the gates than the boys were ready to move. There were castles and treeforts and little houses for all the fairy tale characters you could think of. Cooper again was too timid to really explore but Carter explored every nook and cranny of the three little pigs' houses and many many others. I took probably a hundred pictures just there. It was another worthwhile stop for the kids, though they were getting antsy and wanting to run ahead at every turn. The scenery there alone was beautiful with the ceiling cedar forest. Beauty!
We managed to get the kids back in the Jeep for the last leg of the trip to Kamloops. It was a bit dicey around Sorrento where we had to pull over for one of those breaks again. Once we got everyone all chilled out again it wasn't too bad for the rest of the journey. It was sooooooooooo awesome to pull up and see Marsha in the driveway. We didn't get to meet Heath right away since he was already in bed. Marsha and Ryan fed us a lovely dinner and we visited outside in the warm evening breeze. Ahhhhhhhh.
Yesterday Ryan had to work and we took the kids to a kiddie pool just a few blocks away. The kids played there for awhile and had a great time. Heath? Is an adorable, sweet, happy little baby; a total pleasure to have around. And though Marsha and I only see each other every few years now, it was quickly like we'd never been apart. Marsha and Chris took Carter and Heath back home but Cooper wasn't done at the pool. I stayed with him awhile longer but he started wanting to wander. He didn't really want to leave but I started to carry him home and he liked it. He quickly got too heavy so I carried him like a monkey for awhile. Still heavy so I put him up on my shoulders for the rest of the walk. I was hot and my legs were Jell-O by the time we got back. We had a quiet afternoon. We had pizza for supper and we started watching Zathura with the kids. Marsha had never seen it before. Chris and Ryan had gone to sleep earlier and I intermittently dozed throughout the movie. With the time zone changes (we've gained two hours now) we're a little messed up on bedtimes and such. Cooper was up pretty late.
Today we had a visit from Ryan's Mom. It was so sweet of her to arrive with gifts for the boys; the monster trucks and her kindness endeared them to her quickly. :) We had a visit then started to get ready to go to Shuswap Lake. We went to the Scotch Creek recreation area. First we visited the beach then went to an amusement spot where we had lunch and Marsha and I took Carter and Cooper on the bumper boats. Those were fun. I sat Cooper between my legs and let him do most of the driving and the water shooting! Carter liked it too but was happy to squirt water at people but upset when he got squirted back. Poor Marsha. Once the ride was over the kids wanted to play in the arcade. There was also a cool mini-golf course, but with the heat and the length of the course it was out of the question. More than half of the arcade games were out of order and Carter was getting progressively grouchier. On the way out Cooper rode one of those little merry-go-rounds and Carter rode on a duck and a three-wheeler.
We managed to get away and head back. Cooper fell asleep almost instantly. Carter eventually wound down and apologized for his whininess in the amusement park. We had a (thankfully) uneventful drive back. We relaxed for the afternoon then had an awesome supper. Ryan grilled salmon and we had a fantastic salad, peas and some sushi. I wasn't brave enough to try any of the raw items but I really enjoyed the California rolls and the Dynamite rolls. Good stuff. I'd love to know how to make it.
After supper Marsha got Heath settled down for the night and we all watched Monsters Incooperated. No, that's not exactly a typo; it's what Cooper still calls it and I still get a kick out of it. After the movie we all headed for bed. Chris is enjoying the iPod as much or more than I am and I managed to get connected with the mini-laptop again to do some catching up here. I don't have my camera handy so pictures will follow later. I'm off to dreamland myself now; Marsha has a suuuuuper secret treat just for us girls tomorrow. I hope it rhymes with pa or passage. hahaha.