I’m on the road again this week and quite certain I’ll have increased my lake count significantly by the time we’re back home. We’re currently camped in an area called…wait for it…Lake Country. It’s definitely a thing this year…lakes!
The packing usually starts a day or two ahead for these trips so this one kind of took me by surprise. With T busy at work right now, nothing really moved from house to trailer until the morning we left. Surprise! We were off to BC!
It was dark by the time we rolled into Ellison Provincial Park on Okanagan Lake but I could smell the water as soon as I hopped down from the truck…lake number 21 was close at hand! But there would be no walk that night. Turned out it was a good thing we didn’t venture out in the dark as this campground is perched atop a cliff above the lake.
Nollind is here for a sailboat race that starts tomorrow and T and I will be cheering him on from the Ellison Park cliffs before we move camp to a provincial park near Kelowna.
We went camping this week, but I can’t tell you where. I’ve been sworn to secrecy. Usually I like to tell you where we’ve been, even provide links so that you can read about the places and maybe visit them yourselves. But, this time, if I tell you, I’ll have to kill you, and I’m a snuggler, not a killer.
The location of this latest camping adventure was discovered by G & S on a day outing back in July and they thought it was the perfect destination for our August rendezvous. And perfect it was. In fact, I think I saw tears pooling in Nollind’s eyes when we drove in, and I don’t think they were just tears of relief that we’d arrived safely with T driving. (She’s pretty new to this trailer hauling thing and I see his jaw tighten every now and then. He tries to hide it but we dogs have highly developed senses.)
Anyway…this place. O. M. G. It’s in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, filled with spruce and aspen forest, has a beautiful river running through it, and quiet, oh so quiet. Heaven. And, since this describes many places on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, I think our secret is safe.
G & S and my buddy Ria arrived before us and picked, I kid you not, the best spot in the whole campground, right on the river, with a little dog beach for swimming and lots of trees for shade. Heaven. Wait, I think I said that already … but it bears repeating.
There were twice daily walks on the quiet country road and along the south side of the river, turns around the campground in the morning and before bed, and as much swimming/wading as a dog wanted to do. Me, I’m more of a wade in when it’s hot kind of guy, Ria on the other hand is a very enthusiastic water gymnast. We were there two days and I’m not sure she was ever entirely dry.
And therein lies the only down side of the outing … two days. It was only two days. (Sad dog-face emoji.)
You might be wondering why all the secrecy? Well, the camp
attendant came around and chatted awhile, told us how you used to be able to
get a spot in the campground any day, but now weekends were mostly full all
season long. Turns out there was just too much of that telling two friends who
tell two friends stuff going on. So, the six of us made a pact, then and there,
that it would be our secret, special campground.
If any of you reading this blog has been to our secret campground and recognize it from the photos, maybe we’ll see you there sometime but, in the meanwhile … shhh….
Twice when we travelled south in the winter, we attended a festival called “Bluegrass on the Beach” in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. It’s a great event and, just like the name says, right on the beach of Lake Havasu. We dogs never attended the actual show (too much sun for Logan), but there were swimming opportunities multiple times a day and we could hear the music from the camping area.
This past weekend, we attended the Blueberry Bluegrass Festival in Stony Plain, Alberta. We were there once before, in 2013, but I didn’t remember it that well. I’d forgotten that they’re pretty strict about dogs in the concert area (Havasu has a dog-friendly seating area off to one side) and … :o( … there’s nowhere to swim. The exhibition park has a storm pond but the signage says to not let dogs go swimming.
So, on the downside, I spent quite a lot of trailer time while T and Nollind were off listening to music, but, on the upside, I had the bed to myself all day!
Another downside was the ferocious thunderstorm that rolled through on Friday afternoon and scared the absolute bejeezus out of me. Logan would have turned completely inside out with terror if he’d been with us in the trailer—thunder, lightning, gale-force wind, and huge hailstones that made quite a racket hitting the roof of the trailer. It was pretty scary. But, we came out of it unscathed other than a dozen or so little dents on the truck.
Despite the lack of concert-going and swimming, I did get
out and about quite a lot including a walk to Tim Horton’s for Saturday morning
breakfast. I love Timbits! And I was happy to assist T and Nollind with
whatever portion of their breakfast wraps they were willing to part with. The
bonus on this particular excursion? Across the street from Tim Horton’s was a
Pet Valu store. I do enjoy a good shop and sniff … with the occasional lick
thrown in when nobody is looking.
The festival wrapped up on Sunday night and the next morning we were on our way south. Home I assumed, but then we turned west before we reached Red Deer and set up camp at Gull Lake. It was hot as heck on Monday, so I questioned the sanity of my peeps as we set out for an afternoon walk. But hey, we were at a lake, how far could it be to the beach?
Right. Turned out, the many trails leading from the main trail to the refreshing waters of Gull Lake had one of these heartbreaking signs posted in the middle of it.
We kept walking. I was melting. My tongue was nearly on the ground. And then, at long last, we reached … the boat launch. Oh, heavenly water! I’m usually an in-and-out kind of swimmer so T and Nollind laughed at me for just standing in the water but it felt s-o-o-o-o good. (By the way, Gull brings my 2019 lake count to twenty—Sylvan, Sturgeon, Williston, Charlie, Little, Saskatoon, Crimson, Twin, Chinook, Alces, Whiteswan, Premier, Cat’s Eye, Turtle, Canuck, Yankee, Columbia, Windermere, Two-Jack, and Gull!)
I spent the rest of Monday afternoon lounging under the
trailer while T and Nollind sipped on iced tea and chatted about the bluegrass
festival. A little storm chased us indoors early in the evening but we were
back out for some campfire time before bed.
Tuesday’s plan was more walking and another swim before we
headed home but it was raining at Gull Lake, a lot, all morning and into the
early afternoon, so we took a couple of short jaunts around the campground,
watched some downloaded Netflix, and packed things up.
It wasn’t quite the experience of Bluegrass on the Beach with its daily swims and general dog friendliness, but there was bluegrass, we did find a beach, and time spent camping with my peeps is time well spent.
On a side note, you may have noticed that I haven’t been a very dedicated blogger this summer, and I expect I’ll miss a few more Fur-idays before this busy season is over, but I will do my best to keep you up to date on my many adventures and I’ll get Storm back at the keyboard. Until then, some wise words for all you bipeds from C.J. Frick…