On July 1st, Canada Day, we crossed the border from Montana north into Alberta, on our way to visit Stefan’s cousin Kenny and his family in Calgary. One of the best things about traveling (maybe one of the scariest for some) is not knowing what the next day will bring. My friend Emily, Kenny’s wife, asked us if we’d be interested in going to Canmore the following night to check out a house concert at her sister’s house. We always love to go with the flow, so of course we were up for it. We had no idea what an amazing treat it would be…
This was no ordinary house concert! A million dollar view, hand painted banner and custom built stage, logs for seats, artisan beverages (a light brew called Saison, and an oak barrel Nut Brown) by soon-to-be Brewmaster Meesch Lamarche, a delicious spread of food by the hosts, and some of the most incredible live music by Dominique Fricot, Hilary Grist and her husband Mike, on their western Canada CD release tour. I was so captivated and moved by the entire experience, I wanted so badly to take out my journal and capture the moment. Stefan encouraged me, and thanks to the beer, I went for it. Later in the night, after everyone had left, Dom, Hilary, and Mike asked me to show them my journal. They were so grateful and stoked for the visual experience through my eyes, they took photos with it and became instant friends, talking story the rest of the night.
We headed back to Calgary for a couple days to chill, and returned to Canmore on the weekend. Emily’s family was wonderful! Just as in the first day, they greeted us like old friends. Very much like us and Em & Ken, they love outdoor adventure, yummy food, and fine art. Kenny and Stefan and I set out to hike Ha Ling Peak, a steep incline with a shockingly spectacular view. It was worth the tough climb up!
This fellow was giving out lemonade just before the trail ended and the loose rock to the peak began.
Our last night in Canmore with our family was a special feast. While Em’s family was preparing dinner, Kenny and their daughter played soccer in the back yard where the stage was a few days before. When she wasn’t blocking the ball, she was giggling or dancing like a true summer child.
The back wall was festively decorated with Em’s sister Andrea Keys Connel‘s art sculpture.
The following morning we said our farewells to everyone, giving and receiving the best hugs. It was such a beautiful, super fun, rich quality visit.
We used to live in Field, British Columbia, and wanted to visit the little town that has given us such nostalgia for almost 2 decades since.
Incredibly, it was exactly as it was in ’96, except that the ‘Shack’ we used to live in did get some well-needed repairs to keep it standing and liveable. Word is, a carpenter lives there and totally redid the interior.
We visited The Velvet Antler, where I bought our first real pottery set from Ryan Cameron as a gift for Stefan back in ’96. Ryan and his daughter Kathryn have a beautiful display gallery upstairs showcasing their wares and paintings from Ryan and some local artists.
Stefan hadn’t seen his friend Glenn in years, and he lived nearby in Golden, so we met up in Field to catch up on life, and then went for a little hike to Takakkaw Falls and visit Emerald Lake.
For weeks we had planned to visit the Okanagan Valley where we would pick fresh cherries and peaches. We had even bought grain alcohol in Montana with plans to make our own fruit infused liquor. Unfortunately, the truck had other plans, and so after asking around in Kelowna, we learned of a good Polish family-owned garage from a girl at the visitor’s centre. It turned out that her boyfriend worked there and was a diesel mechanic. While our truck got new front end brakes, the owners drove us to spend our days on the beach and even invited Stefan to play beach volleyball with their team. Our nights we spent in the camper at the garage.
Time was getting away from us. As much as we would love to throw the calendar out the window, we still had places to be at certain times. We had to be in Whistler by the 9th to make sure we could spend some good quality time with our friends and their two boys before their boys went to Nova Scotia to visit their grandma. These kids are like our nephews, we missed them so much, there was no way we could be late. By some miracle, the garage finished just in time for us to keep to our planned travel route through the back roads of Duffey Lake and Lillooet, which would bring us to Whistler by early evening.
The road was so steep, with long upward hauls. The truck overheated, keep us on our toes. There would be another garage visit in the not too distant future…
This route through Lillooet was all at once heart pounding and breathtaking. The mountain pass brought us to Pemberton, and it was smooth sailing all the way to Whistler