The last time I saw my sister was almost exactly two years ago, on the homeward leg of The Great Canadian Road Trip. Since then, pandemic and forest fire restrictions had prevented almost all travel outside of our health zone and province for the past 18 months or so. My sister, Amanda, owns a horse farm, Double 'A' Farm, just outside of Calgary and had been encouraging me to visit now that travel through the Interior of BC was opening up and I had just purchased Wanda and was looking for excuses to get on the road.
Illecittewaet Campground, Glacier National Park, British Columbia
My lovely daughter, Emi, had a week off between changing jobs, so it was decided to take a fairly spontaneous road trip to Alberta to see Amanda and her husband, Steve. Our first night we stopped in Glacier National Park and stayed at the Illecittewaet Campground, next to the river. Unfortunately, it was wet and rainy, so we didn't do a lot of exploring.
We spent a fair amount of the drive amazed at the noticeable huge areas of wildfire damage and many hotspots. The July Mountain-Lytton fire was still classified as "Out of Control" in early September. The mistiness in the photo is both rain mist and smoke.
We got on the highway fairly early in the morning but soon got caught behind a major accident. The mountain highway is very winding and narrow in this section. It is also a fair ways from a town so it takes a while for emergency crews to arrive. We were stopped for several hours.
It turned out we were fairly close to the beginning of the line and once things opened up we were able to note the west-bound line was 13 km long! The eastbound line had to be at least equal.
Emi and Opie walked up and down the long line of vehicles while waiting for the highway to reopen.
Turning around isn't really an option as there are very few mountain passes through the Rockies. Re-routing takes as long/longer than waiting. Drive BC does offer fabulous updates. Luckily we stopped in a area where there was coverage as there are still huge areas through the mountains without any service. It was a shame it wasn't better weather while we were hanging around.
We finally arrived at Amanda's to enjoy some low key family time -- the first time Amanda and I have seen each other since summer 2019 -- in the "Before Times".
Emi got to ride Cupcake and get a riding lesson from her Aunt Amanda, after getting set up with riding gear. She was a bit nervous at first, saying it had been a long time since Pony Camp, but she soon gained her confidence. Cupcake is one of Amanda's rescues. Such a pretty horse.
My sister is a Towing Badass, who has been towing horses around since her early teens.
Wanda is tiny next to the rig Amanda uses, with room for 4 horses in the back. We thought Wanda was a tad tight with Opie! ...'course her horses don't expect to share the living quarters or cuddle up to her on the bed...
My grandpup has a tendency to follow his nose to the exclusion of all else so we were a little concerned about Opie running across the field never to return. After one chance (where he dashed through an electrified fence), Opie was attached to Dodger, a very placid Rhodesian Ridgeback. Opie had lots of ideas where he wanted to go. Dodger, however, wanted to go indoors and that's where they went.
I am quite ignorant about horses. I have no idea how to tell the difference in quality, nor can I tell one from another except by colour.
I'm grateful Amanda refrains from telling me how stupid I appear. (and I really admire her self-control)
On our way home, we stopped at Discovery Park in Kamloops for Emi to take a meeting.
While she was in the van, I took Opie to explore the area under the "Red Bridge". The bridge has been the historic link between the community of Kamloops and the Tk'emlúps reserve over the Thompson River. Quite coincidentally, we realized that Discovery Park included a dog park right on the river's edge, so Opie was a happy fellow.
We had an extra passenger on the way home. The ever-thoughtful Amanda and Steve had negotiated the purchase of this very large Nutcracker store display for Emi and her collection. She was so thrilled, and he had to come home with us. He was tucked onto the bed and I had strict instructions to avoid sudden braking.
I'm going to be dealing with blue glitter for months. (Note the red wine stain on the duvet cover... hmmmm, how did that happen, I wonder?) A second short road trip is in the bag. We didn't spend a lot of time in Wanda as we took advantage of the beds and hospitality provided by Amanda and Steve. The night we spent inside with Opie was tight but workable. We left the vent open overnight and got rain inside so that was a good reminder to do proper checks. I should probably create some checklists until things become routine. I think I can get one more weekend of camping with Wanda in before the cold weather hits. I have a trip planned for the beginning of October that won't include Wanda. I'm going to fly to Quebec to spend some time with travel buddy and BFF, Mady. I got a cheap flight on new discount airline Flair Airlines and a domestic trip seems to be a good way to begin my baby steps back to travel. With the recent news of the border opening for double vaccinated Canadians to enter the USA, I'm beginning to think about heading south and avoiding the worst of Vancouver's cold and damp. My plans must include being home at Christmas, so it's looking like I may head south around New Year's. I'm excited to get Wanda out on the road. Have you started travelling again? When do you think you'll start? What does that look like for you? How are you feeling about resuming travel? Like, comment, become a member.... let's get to know each other! See you Friday for the second Flashback Friday in the series. :)