More Camping! … Or Something Else?

When I last wrote we’d just returned from a fab week in the Rockies. Sigh. Such a good time. The thing that made it easier to come home from that trip was the plan to set out again in just two weeks, and this time in partnership with our camping buddies G & S and their canine companion Ria. Yay! We were all so excited.

Our bestest camping buddies on one of last year’s trips.

The plan, although I’m reluctant to use that word in 2020, was to go to Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park at the bottom end of Alberta for a few days, followed by another few days at a lake a couple of hours west of there. Our departure date was set for the 10th. We just needed to get Fred the truck fixed. I wrote about the demise of the Dodge in my last post.

One week beyond that scheduled departure, we’re still home, and Fred is still in the shop. To be more precise, Fred is in shop number three. T and Nollind are not at all thrilled with the Dodge dealerships that charged a bunch of money to not fix the truck. Fred is now being repaired by a transmission shop in Calgary that was able to track down the actual problem.

Loading Fred for the trip to Mister Transmission.

But, as is typical, a setback didn’t mean a bunch of moping about the house. Instead, we were on the road last Fur-iday for a consolation road trip (T is quite fond of these alternative adventures). We trekked west past Cochrane to the Waiparous area, followed by a visit to Ghost Lake. I didn’t see any ghosts, but that mountain-fed lake was very refreshing on a 27-degree, sunny afternoon after being in the car for a couple of hours.

Heading for the water at a brisk trot.

Our wander along the lakeshore spurred a thirst and hunger so was followed up by a trip to the Half Hitch Brewing Company in Cochrane. T enjoyed one of their beers when we were down in the Crowsnest Pass in February and has been wanting to visit the brewery ever since. I was resigned to an hour or two of waiting in the car, but then … say what? They allow dogs on the patio? Even the covered patio? Doggie heaven—shade, people, other dogs, and food! Apparently, the beer was also good but I wasn’t given a sample. I’m eleven now. I’m pretty sure I could handle it.

Patio dog – they only take well-behaved dogs so, guess what I am? :o)

Back in the car, I was just settling in for the trip home when we turned toward the river instead and took a short tour of the Bow RiversEdge Campground. Nice spot. Might just return one day with a trailer. It’s right next to the river and the off-leash pathway. More RV park-ish than we’re accustomed to, but did I mention the neighbouring off-leash area with swimming?

A dip in the Bow River.

We pulled into a parking lot near the campground so that T could feed me my dinner. She’s good that way, always bringing a meal along on our road trips in case we go beyond my six o’clock dinner hour. (And yes, I can tell time. More about that in a future post.) Post dinner, we were off and walking on that same off-leash river pathway I just mentioned. We were actually there four years ago when Logan was still around so our wander brought up some great memories, and yet another swim opportunity. It won’t be long before all of the water in Alberta is frozen solid so I have to get in these soft-water experiences while I’m able.

River walk September 2016.

So it wasn’t a camping trip, but by the time we were driving in the direction of home, after three walks, some patio time, and a road trip with my favourite peeps, I stretched out on the back seat of our old-but-trusted Honda and slept all the way home.

River walk September 2020.

Lakes and … More Lakes

Can you believe it? We managed to squeeze in not just one, or two, but three more lake stops on our way home from northern British Columbia. I was a happy hound.

We left Charlie Lake last Sunday after a teary farewell with T’s mom. She and I had a great visit. She even gave me a whole sandwich one afternoon, left it right there on a low table for me to help myself. For someone not accustomed to having dogs around she’s very considerate.

Picnic lunch in Hudson’s Hope (and yes, they shared).

We’d already said goodbye to T’s sister on Wednesday, so I was down to just one woman to spoil me as we set off for the same dog-friendly hotel we stayed at on our journey north. It was comfy and clean with no additional fees for me, right on the river for our evening and morning walk-abouts, and included a full breakfast big enough for T to share. Tough to beat.

The hotel’s backyard.

It was a cold, rainy day as we set out, but had cleared enough by the halfway point that we took a short detour to a place called Saskatoon Island Provincial Park near Grande Prairie for our midway walk break. T likes to stretch her legs every few hours and I am happy to oblige. Lake stop #1.

The path to Little Lake through aspen forest.

Saskatoon Island is just as the name might suggest, a piece of land between two lakes that is loaded with Saskatoon bushes. There weren’t any berries yet, but then I’m not a huge berry fan anyway.

We walked the trail to Little Lake, which is the smaller of the two lakes as you might have guessed, to a windy cove. I so wanted to go swimming but T was worried about the heavy algae that had blown into the bay, concerned it might mess with my digestive system. I suppose I get it. Diarrhea when staying in a hotel room would be a nasty thing to manage.

Can you see the tension on the leash? I really wanted to go in.

Legs stretched, bright green aspen trees enjoyed, we took a short tour of the busy campground (it was a holiday weekend in Canada) and the Saskatoon Lake boat launch area and were on our way.

I get comfortable with new places pretty quickly so returning to the Quality Inn was a bit like coming home. I trotted through the front door and went straight to the front desk to mooch a biscuit. Leaving the lobby to the right down a hallway instead of up the stairs was a bit confusing at first, but I guess that’s how hotels work…you don’t always get the same bedroom.

Movie time at the hotel. I do love a good movie.

Monday morning, after my bacon, hash browns, and toast second breakfast, we were driving on Highway 43 under sunny skies. T turned south on Highway 22, also known as the scenic Cowboy Trail. I’d seen her scouting the route south, looking for halfway hike locations, so I put my vote in for another lake stop. And she didn’t disappoint me.

Well worth the drive.

It was the longest off-highway detour we’d taken on our journey, fifteen minutes each way, but well worth the additional car time. Crimson Lake Provincial Park near Rocky Mountain House was the best lake stop yet. Wooded trails, a blue-green mountain lake, and a great beach for taking a dip. According to Wiki, the lake was named for the striking colours of the setting sun reflecting on the surface of its waters as seen by an early trapper. We didn’t get to see the sunset this time but, based on how T lit up during our short visit, I’d say we’ll be back.

A dip in Crimson Lake.

Again we toured the campground, more thoroughly this time, and I’m pretty sure T was picturing Simon in a bunch of the spots.

I’d barely settled in for the rest of the journey when we were pulling off the highway again. What? Another Lake? Yup, indeed. I’m not sure the name of the little lakes in this provincial recreation area, but it’s called Twin Lakes because there are, you guessed it, two of them! I’d had a good swim at Crimson Lake only a half hour before so we just walked a short trail to the larger lake and back. Lots of fish in this lake. I would have liked to sample a few.

The larger of Twin Lakes.

We break from our story for a quick lake tally. Sylvan, Sturgeon, Williston, Charlie, Little, Saskatoon, Crimson, and Twin. If I’m not mistaken, that makes eight lakes on our tour, nine if you count Twin as two! Do you think T likes lakes?

After a short tour of downtown Rocky Mountain House, we continued south on the Cowboy Trail, stopping in Sundre along the Red Deer River for our dinner stop and—can you believe it?—yet another walk.

Riverfront in Sundre at the Greenwood Campground.

As T oohed and aahed at the beautiful foothills landscape to the west of Highway 22, I settled in for the journey home, barely noticing when we turned east toward the prairie.

Somewhere along Highway 22, The Cowboy Trail.

Best. Road trip. Ever.

Just Us Guys

As I mentioned last Fur-iday, T’s away visiting family. She’s been gone for a week and, despite my concerns, it’s been pretty awesome. Nollind has taken on his animal care duties very seriously and, after only one day of needing to remind him to feed me, he latched onto his new responsibilities with gusto.

Some of the highlights of the week include:

Moving my favourite bed in beside his favourite bass guitar which made me feel pretty important.

Prairie walks…

… with plenty of treats.

Road trips …

… where I got to ride shotgun …

… and go to Tim Hortons.

There were matinee movies with popcorn …

… and plenty of great naps.

So, as you can see, I haven’t suffered during T’s absence. We guys had a good old time.

But I’m still looking forward to having her home later today because…well…