Friday, August 8, 2014

Midsadventures near Banff, Alberta

We planned to head to a beautiful lake just outside of Banff in Alberta.  It's about an hour and a half drive from my sister's house.  She knew there were forest fires in Banff, so she asked a friend who is a nature photographer if we should head to Banff or go somewhere else.  She recommended a two mile hike (one mile each way) that would take us to an absolutely gorgeous lake...we looked at pictures of it the night was stunning!

So we headed toward Banff.  After an hour of driving, my sister pulled over and explained that Hannah wasn't feeling well.  Not at all.  In addition, the wind was blowing hard and it had started to rain.  We drove a bit further, and then found a place to pull over.  Our plan was to eat a picnic lunch and then decide what to do.  But we realized we hadn't brought plates or silverware and our picnic lunch wasn't finger foods.  But we made do.  After we ate, my sister gave a couple of us ponchos and we took short walks...but it was still raining and quite wet.  It was just beautiful.  The area where we parked had a sign that said "Banff Gate Mountain Resort" and signs about Lougheed Mountain where we were.  (The mountain is named after a famous senator and his family.)

Right after Rebecca and her two girls took a short walk, the sun finally came out and we all hopped out of the car.  It had gotten late enough that there really wasn't time to finish driving the rest of the way to the hike we had planned, so we just hiked where we were.  It wasn't the plan, and we weren't officially in Banff, and we didn't see the lake, but it was still very beautiful.  The air smelled so clean and fresh, especially after the rain.  It was just beautiful!

Look at those gorgeous peaks behind my niece, Sarah!

Cousins...Ella and Sarah are only two months apart in age.  In fact, Michelle and Evan are four months apart, Sarah and Ella are two, and Gabby and Hannah are about 6 weeks apart.  If only we lived closer to our cousins!

Michelle loves to pose for pictures.  She kept saying, "Take a picture of me here.  Now take a picture of me like this."

Hannah loves her cousin Ella.  

Evan looks ready for the hike!

The kids (especially mine) were fascinated by the moss that was growing in much of the woods, especially this gold covered moss.

I know you can barely see it, but right between the trees is a buck.  The male and female deer were not far from us.  The female moved on ahead quickly, but the male waited and watched us until we moved ahead.  While I didn't get a good photograph of him,  we could see him pretty well.  They weren't far away.

Last summer, there was a lot of flooding in Calgary and the surrounding areas.  If you look up the river, you can see the upended trees and debris left by the flooding.

I found it fascinating to see the debris left by the flooding. You could clearly see the damage caused by the flooding and  how high the flooding had gone up the bank because there were piles of debris left along the trail and bank of the river.
It was fascinating, but sad.  Many people lost their homes and precious belongings due to the flooding.  I'll share a neat story that my brother in law shared with us.  Their stake president felt impressed a couple of years ago to develop a stake emergency preparedness plan. The stake members were encouraged to create 72 hour kits and so on.  But the stake also collected blankets and hygiene kits and stored them in the stake center.  When the flooding happened, blankets and  hygiene kits were collected, and those who were in need were able to immediately get what they needed due to the foresight of this stake president and the diligence of the stake members in helping to collect and assemble the items.  What a blessing it is to have the gospel!!
The girls enjoyed using this limb as a limbo stick.

It was just so beautiful!  

While we were technically not in Banff, we were certainly able to enjoy breathtaking scenery!

This picture was taken by Michelle from inside the moving car... look how blue and beautiful the water is!

We were all so grateful that the sun came out and we were able to take a hike, even if it wasn't to the location we had originally planned.  And also very grateful that Hannah felt better after we ate and got out of the car.   What a wonderful day!