Sunday, July 19, 2009


I checked over the contents of our minivan: 3 giant rubber maid containers stuffed with everything from food to blankets, 1 cooler filled with beer, Bacardi and, oh, more food, 1 water jug, empty (we like to take our chances with the delightful water pumped from the campground wells,) 1 tent, 2 front bike tires, 2 duffel bags and a doggy "diaper bag," several pairs of shoes, 1 dog bed, 1 bed and 2 adult passengers. That was just the inside. On top we had a Tule roof box filled with camel backs, lawn chairs, jackets, and other odds and ends, beside the box were 2 bikes! Yep, looked like we were ready for a 2 day camping trip! The trouble with having a mini van is that, because there is room for everything, we bring everything. On the other hand, the good thing about a mini van, is that there is always room for everything!! We pulled out of Calgary Friday afternoon, filled with anticipation of the adventures one is guarenteed to find in the great rocky mountains! After seeing our third "Campground FULL" sign, it became apparent that a lot of other people had decided to leave Calgary in search of adventure on this, one of our first forcasted hot weather weekends! We eventually found a quiet campground at a place called Sibbald Lake. We found a perfect campsite (close to the outhouse and surrounded by trees) and began to set up camp. This is one of my favorite things about camping, setting up. Marty is master of the tent and tarps, though this time, because we had been promised sunshine by our weather network, tarps weren't part of our set up. He can set up the tent, almost entirely by himself. I, find the trees to set up up the high line for Scout. Once she is securely fastened to the cable between two trees, I can begin hauling out our bedding. Marty, it turns out doesn't believe in "foamies" or therma rests, Marty, needs a mattress, and this year we bought a big one! Friday was it's debut! It comes with it's own built in pump and though we struggled to get it through the door to our tent, once inside, it fit perfectly, leaving just enough space on my side of the "bed" for Scout's bed and on Marty's side for our duffel bags. While this air mattress is a far cry from what I remember putting my sleeping bag on as a kid, it works for Marty and me.

I remember old, stinky foamies rolled tied, tied with twine and that is what Aim and I used. Nic, being the youngest, and getting last pick, slept on this orange bubble mattress that made the same crinkly noise those plastic bed wetting sheets make. My sleeping bag was OLD, it used to be mom's and I am pretty sure I remember there being deer heads on the inside of it. I also distinctly remember the blotches of blood, reminents of a bleeding nose, that had stained the outside of it. I loved that sleeping bag and would not let anyone else use it! Aim's was orange and it had a tricky zipper. One time she actually zipped her knee up in it. She still has a scar on her knee, thanks to that lovely orange sleeping bag. Nic's was tiny, thin and brown. She almost always had to have another blanket on top of her. As shabby as these bags sound, now that I describe them on the screen, we honestly loved them and the foamies. Nothing says camping to me, like the blood stained sleeping bag and twine tied foamies, nothing!! Our family had a big tent. There were two rooms, well three, if you counted the "entry way." Us kids slept on one side of the tent and mom and dad snored in the other room. Our duffel bags and shoes littered the entry way. We also traveled with a screen tent. We set it up, along with our sleeping tent in every campsite. The screen tent, was our "cook tent." The picnic table always got carried into it and our traveling kitchen sink did too. You laugh, but serioulsy, we had a fold up kitchen sink, made specifically for camping families! Dad had a huge propane lantern that lit up the picnic table for late night card games and popcorn eating. Ooooo, camping pop corn....YUMMMMM! I don't care if it was the cups of oil used to make popcorn on the propane stove that made it taste so good, I have never had better pop corn than the stuff dad made on that stove!! (We did bring a paper bag for proper shaking of the pop corn...see previous blog, if you have no idea what I am talking about!) We were not big "sit in your lawn chair and read" campers, but we definately did all have our own lawn chairs. We'd spend hours sitting by the fire, whittling perfect marshmellow sticks. Sticks we'd cook a few marshmellows on, then spend hours burning in the fire pit. If you got the ends just hot enough to glow red, but not hot enough that they wold break off, you could use the blackened tip to write stuff on the rocks that outlined the firepit. Dad had given us each our own pocket knife, (ofcorse they were all three identical, probably bought at a"three for one" store special,) but Dad had taken the time to melt into each knife our initials so that we could tell them apart. Lots of kids are not allowed to use knives at campfires anymore, but Dad had taught us about using the knife "away from your belly" and none of us ever cut off any fingers!

During the day, I remember fishing, the odd hike, where we'd listen to Nic wine and moan for someone to carry her (wow, that whining 6 year old is a far cry from the world traveler, biker, hiker, she is today,) swim in the lakes and chase each other around the campground. We'd get as dirty as possible and though there was rarely a bath before bed, we always brushed our teeth, "roughing it" was no excuse for neglecting your gums!! There were no DVD players in our tents, no ipods or headphones to cover our ears and let us escape those around us, no DS's and no lap tops. We had eachother, our pocket knives, fishing poles, water wings, fruitloops, potatoe chips and marshmellows and we didn't need anything else!!!

Marty and I had stuffed the van full of all kinds of extra stuff, including a ridiculously huge air bed, but all we really needed and enjoyed over the weekend were our headlamps, our hiking boots, our pocket knives, our stoves, our marshmellows, Scout and each other. My heart and head are filled with awesome memories of family camping trips, but Marty and I are combining our childhood experiences to create our own version of camping and I am excited to keep making new memories!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

KITEBOARDING!   Check out this link, for a fun musical reminder of how great it is to just go fly a kite!!! :) Then read about Marty's kite flying!

Today, Marty checked the weather then called to Scout and I, "Hey girls, let's go fly a kite!!!" By "let's," Marty meant he, himself would go fly a kite and Scout and I would watch in awe!!! Some would not be content watching others fly a kite. Some would chomp at the bit for a chance to try flying their own kite, but Scout and I? We were perfectly happy sitting on the beach watching Marty fly the giant kite he had harnessed to his chest, while he surfed across the lake on a board.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Scout had her first day of summer school today. We decided to sign her up for Reliable Recall Class. Every Monday, all summer long, along with her classmates, Jersey (8 months old and even more ADD than Scout ever was), Turbo (1.5 year old, yappy weiner dog), Jax (older retriever, there only because he is too lazy to actually get up to "come" to his owner) and Ava, (some kind of super squirmy hound dog, also 8 months old), Scout (11month old adorable, gorgeous, hyper, happy, super licker) will attend classes guarenteed to teach them to COME BACK TO THEIR HUMANS!!!!!
Last Friday, Marty and I went biking. We took Scout with us and she joyfully galloped along side us for the whole loop. It wasn't until we were loading the bikes onto the bike rack that Scout left our sides. She started out of the parking lot and Marty called her. She looked at him, but continued to slowly move towards the road. He kept creeping towards her and as he did she continued to retreat. Marty, recognizing that he was being sucked into her "chase me" game, quit moving and just as he was about to lock eyes with her, a deer came out of the bush. Now, Scout has seen plenty of Deer while hanging with Uncle Dirt and I and she has never chased them...very far, EVER! Friday, though, she took one look at the deer, one look at Marty and BOLTED!!!! She took off running, like I have never seen! She didn't look back, not even once, which is out of character for her. Marty called and called and I could start to hear panic in his voice. I left the bikes and hurried towards the road, but I was too late, she had just followed the deer, at top speed into the bush! We heard a yelping sound and nothing else. I went into full panic mode, starting towards the bush in my flip flops. Marty raced back to get his bike and took off down the road. We scoured the bush for 30 minutes, calling and calling for Scout. Eventually she came to Marty, exhausted like I have never seen! I wiped the tears of fear from my eyes and hugged and kissed her. I seriously thought she was gone forever!
Now that she is back, we intend to keep her coming back! We cooked up a bunch of hot dogs, cut them into tiny pieces (to use for treats) and headed off to summer school today! Here's hoping that by the end of August, Scout will be a successful graduate of "Really Reliable Recall" class! Keep your fingers crossed!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


July 3rd, mom, Hedi and I headed out to the Cochrane Ag Grounds as that is where the Wild Pink Yonder Wagon was going to be.
We had planned to spend the next two days following this wagon on a mission to help raise money, and awareness, for breast cancer. The wagon itself had around 600 miles to cover, traveling across Alberta, from Cochrane, to Josephburg. While the three of us, had only planned to ride for 2 days, there was at least one rider planning to cover all 600 miles and 20 days with the wagon! Riders were welcome to join the ride for as many days as they had raised money for, so the amount of horses following this pink tarped wagon will vary during the trip.
There were 20 of us there, on day one, in Cochrane, ready to follow the pink Canvass covered wagon for the first leg of it's very important journey. We had police cars escort us out of the Ag grounds, down the highway and up the infamous "Cochrane Hill!" The first hour of the ride was all highway, but eventually we turned down "Retreat Road," aptly named, as, for us, the quietness of this gravel road, definately made it feel like a retreat. We rode past some beautiful farms and saw some great scenery. Hedi remarked how, riding horseback like this, was such a great way to see the province. She was right! This was a unique, peaceful way to see parts of our province, the parts that weren't visible from the four lane highway! July, 4th turned out to be a very long, hot ride and soon the beautiful scenery had become secondary thoughts in our minds to our aching butts, and knees. Our lunch stop had been fantastic, but before long, it was a vague memory and both humans and horses were hungry, thirsty and tired. Some of the riders insisted that they were suffering horrible discomfort, as the horses trudged on behind the wagon with no sign of our evening destination in sight. They had to admit though, that the couple hours of "suffering" they were enduring was NOTHING compared to the suffering the people who had the very ailment we were riding in support of, felt! After 32 miles of riding, we were picked up by horse trailers and dropped off at the Becker Ranch just outside of Airdre. The Beckers met us with huge hospitality, putting our horses up in box stalls and filling both feed and water troughs to the brim! Once the horses were taken care of, us riders were given a BBQ reception complete with free "beverages" and cake! There was a live band playing while we feasted on beans, salad, steak and chicken!

With full bellies, mom and I retreated to the back of Hedi's horse trailer where we had set up our sleeping bags. We slept like rocks that night, or at least I know I did! We woke up to sunshine and a delicious breakfast, complete with Tim Horton's coffee, yipee! That day, July 5th, we rode from Airdre to Crossfields and that was the end of the line for Mom, Hedi, and I. Hedi had to work Monday, mom had animals at home who needed her and since they were my ride, I had to quit too. We felt kind of sad pulling out of the Crossfield Ag grounds, after a personal performance by a cowboy poet.

We were sad that we didn't have more time to ride with these adventurers, we were sad to leave new friends we had made and we were sad that we would have to wait until July 24th to see the Pink Canvass Wagon again. July 24th was the wind up party in Josephburg, a hamlet near Ardrossan (where mom and Hedi live.) Mom, Hedi and I planned to ride again that last day and celebrate with the riders at the party. The more we talked about how much fun we'd had while participating on the ride, the more fired up we got. When Dirt and I left Hedi's horse trailer and headed back to his pasture, I knew in my heart that not one of the three of us would be able to wait 18 days to reconnect with the Wild Pink Yonder again.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Mom, Hedi and I unloaded our horses and put our tack away in the rain Sunday night after riding two, adventure filled days, with WILD PINK YONDER, a breast cancer fundraiser. I came home exhausted, but pumped to have been a part of something so cool. Infact, I came home eager to find a way to continue being a part of this exciting adventure. I have had company since I got home, so I have not had time to write about this trip, but soon, I want to share with you details about this ride. In the mean time, I will give ya a little teaser, check out this link, make sure you watch the video clip on the right.