Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Summer Holidays Recap

The first three days we were in Great Falls. We were there briefly in 2000 and had a good time. We wanted to experience it again. It was fun taking pictures of the girls in the same spots I took their pictures eight years ago. Eight years makes a ton of difference. Last time Hannah filled her chubby fists with weed bouquets for me. Rachael played maniacally in the playground. And of course Deborah just crawled around by our feet finding treasures to put in her mouth. Obviously, they did none of those things this go around. The only similarities between their behaviour this time and last were Deborah's fascination with the trout and Hannah's thoughtful expressions as she stared into river.

After Great Falls we headed northwest to Glacier National Park. We stayed in St. Mary's, took a day trip across Going to the Sun Highway (also called Logan's Pass), went to Big Sky Waterpark in Columbia Falls, the girls went on a trail ride. My clan experienced the 4th of July in the US for the first time. It was exciting. Our campground was ablaze with festivities, but we found the Americans too subdued. We were hooping, hollering, and clapping and we were the only ones. The festivities were beautifully patriotic but the people seemed comatose. That was a disappointment.

Gordon cultivated a habit of calling strangers "Partner." The girls and I were quite taken aback the first time we heard it. We didn't know Gordon was a "Partner" kind of guy. It became a bit of a running joke. "Let's stop and ask that partner for directions."

We were very struck by the kindness of Montana people. A totally different ball of wax than what we're used to. By comparison, Albertans are down right reserved and uptight. Often on the trip when we'd get back in the car, we'd discuss how nice the partners were that we'd just met. Once we got cut off by a speeding truck. To that I said, "He's not a very nice partner."

On Logan Pass (Going to the Sun Highway) a couple times family relations got strained. This road is narrow, curvy with radical drops off the mountain. I gave Gordon explicit instructions to keep his eyes on the road and I'd happily describe the amazing views we passed. He insisted on driving AND enjoying the views. At one point he backed up to recapture a scene. To this I yelled, "Is anything behind us?" and he calmly answered, "I don't know, I didn't check." He loves to say that kind of stuff to me.

The highlight of the trip for me was watching the girls be so easily entertained by inexpensive simple fun. I simply love watching them make fun out of the ordinary. I just asked Deborah and Hannah their highlights from the trip and they both said, "just spending time with the family." How can I not love that?

Montana is so so gorgeous and diverse. We were in rolling mountains, plains, and the rocky mountains. It was marvelous. Pristine lakes, clear rivers, powerful ice cold waterfalls, and clean earthy smells were treats we enjoyed over and over and over.
But my favorite was the stars. From our cabin porch I couldn't wipe the joy and contentment off my face as I enjoyed the stars. On our last night there, I went for a walk around the campground at 2 am. I wanted to capture the wonder once more. It was phenomenal. It looked like God opened up a jar of silver glitter and strew it across black velvet. I was enraptured.

Glacier had enormous hiking opportunities that we were ill-prepared for. The next time we'll plan better for those. As it was, we had no backpacks with us and Hannah didn't have appropriate foot-gear. A lesson learned...

Our cabin was a two room quaint little beauty. Gordon and I had the front room and the girls the back. Once the girls walked in on Gordon when he had on nothing but underwear. Without missing a beat they turned around and Rachael gutturally expressed, "Scarred for Life."

Hannah kept us entertained with "voices." She makes up the silliest, funniest things. I wish everyone could catch a glimpse of her zany humor.

Our holiday concluded at the Lethbridge Dragon Boat festival. I was anxious about it all week, feeling unprepared since I was missing two practices right before our big competition. We improved our score by a few seconds every race. For the final, we won gold by a 2 1/2 second margin. It was so incredibly exciting and an absolutely amazing way to end a holiday.

Now we're home and enjoying the week off work, both Gordon and me. It's always great to be home.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Jones said...

sounds like a wonderful family vacation, glad you were able to go and enjoy yourselves. congrats on the dragon boat win, that's amazing!

July 8, 2008 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Jeri said...

Sounds like a PERFECT vacation! So glad you all enjoyed it.
Mom

July 8, 2008 at 8:38 PM  
Anonymous *mindi* said...

sounds so nice! but i'm glad you're back ;)

July 8, 2008 at 9:30 PM  
Anonymous elaine keehn said...

Valerie,

Sounds like a great time! You didn't mention Lucy and Bear; were they with you too?

Chat to you soon.

Elaine

July 17, 2008 at 9:50 AM  

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