Every year or two we try to get together with my family in something close to camping.
Since we all have little kids, cabins are about the closest we get to of late, and this
year we went to Elkwater to be closer to Saskatchewan for my Mom and brother.


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Since our little guys are all loving bikes, we all brought them for the kids to zip around the townsite
of Elkwater. Here's my little 'bike gang' with Henry and his flag leading the way.


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Coming down to the dock. I think I took a visit down here pretty much twice a day and it always wound
up with kids at the playground.


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Walter and Jack at the playground playing.

Singing Happy 3rd birthday to Jack



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Walter eating a piece of brownie cake (good cake Danielle!) that Aunty D ensured had a '3' on it for him.


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Grace liked the cake and icing as well.


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There was a neighbourhood cat that made an appearance. The kids tried scaring it away but it clearly
had other ideas about sticking around.


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My mom giving Logan some hugs.


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My mom ensured there was lots of love (and treats) to go around for her 7 grandchildren present.
Here's Walter getting to the bottom of his bag of popcorn by the campfire.

Henry driving Walter around on Logan's car


My mom made Walter a sweet new blanket



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Walter with his new blanket.


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Kale, Henry, and Grace playing on the tire swing by the beach.


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Henry and Walter on the teeter-totter.


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My mom made two sweet contests for the kids - one to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar
and one to guess M and M's. Kale won the M and M's and Landon won the jelly beans.

Kale winning the M and M contest


Games with the kids


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Grandma G packed the best games for the kids to play together. We found a grassy spot for the kids
to congregate, and Grandma G's best teacher skills came out to play. Here she is getting ready to instruct
the first game.

Gunny Sack races - false start!



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At the starting line for gunny sack races.

A full round of gunny sack races



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The next game in the set was bean bag toss. Note that each game had an intermission afterwards where
there were treats for all. No lame Participant ribbons here, just pure sugar!

Bean Bag Toss



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Grandma G found this Bean Bag toss that added a bit more flair to the game.

Precision Bean Bag Toss



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Lining up for the 3-legged race.

Natalia and Renee demonstrate the 3-legged race



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Henry and Landon, and Kale and Grace were partners for the 3 legged race. I'm not sure what to say
about Henry's posed photo here, but he's happy.

3-legged race false start with the littles


Actual 3-legged race with the littles



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After all that fun, Grandma G ALSO brought prizes for all participants! She had 3 rounds of prizes for each
kid, with a wide assortment of age-appropriate and super-fun prizes! The kids are in awe here as
Grandma G set out the options.


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There was much investigation of the prize options prior to the official random draw for who got to
select what in which order, which was the most fair way to decide their winnings.


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Henry got a frisbee which he was super excited about, and he used as a digger on the beach along with
a disc flyer. Henry also got a sweet coloured soccer ball and a travel Connect 4 knock-off. Walter got
a backgammon game, which swiftly devolved into playing and losing the tokens. He also selected the
orange/green hockey stick and ball set (big shock), and the jump rope.


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Henry burying Kale on the beach.


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Walter killing it on the beach. Elkwater actually has two beach spots, and the East side is by
far the better location with excellent shade and lots of space to spread out.


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Aunty D reading to Jack and Walter.


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The three 'Rustic' cabins are actually the best option for families in the summer since they have
air conditioning, excellent shade in the front yard, and a fire pit and picnic tables to spend
time eating and chilling.


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Meal time - note Grandma G with her cool cup of magic juice.


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Walter 'helping' Daddy chop wood. Walter loves using tools of any kind.


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Walter watching the Flames lose on my phone with me..


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Walter discovered puffed wheat squares on this trip.


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Grandma G teaching Kale, Grace, and Henry to play 'golf', a game I used to play with my great-grandma
Marion. It turns out Grandma G was teaching them a slight derivative 'house' version - note the
cards in two columns of three instead of two rows of three.


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Danielle made a carrot cake (no raisins or walnuts) for my Mom's 65th birthday.

Happy 65th birthday to Grandma G



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Opening her card with Walter watching.


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Eating cake (or mostly icing).


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Nice shot of Walter on the beach. Everyone loves 'portrait mode' lately.


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Henry on the beach too.


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Natalia, Walter, and I in front of our 'rustic' cabin.


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Henry slept in Grandma G's cabin most of our visit time. Here he is sleeping in the 'bug tent'.


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Walter playing on another playground.


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Walter and Logan on the teeter-totter.


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Pork chops and mango salsa with beans, and garden salad from our garden.


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One night Natalia and I actually had the freedom of a walk in the evening with no kids as both
boys stayed with Grandma G.


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At the west side beach, we checked it out and the new playground was pretty sweet (although less shade).
This is much closer to the campgrounds though.


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Walter was thrilled to be getting so much candy on this trip.


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Elkwater Lake in early morning light. I was able to get away before the heat got turned up, and also
before the kids woke up to explore the area on my mountain bike.


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Mom and the boys up at Horseshoe Canyon lookout. We went for a driving tour before the summer
heat crept in. We had 30 degree days every day we were at Elkwater, which is nice with a lake to
cool off in.


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Walter and Daddy at Horseshoe Canyon.


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Our family at Horseshoe Canyon with Walter displaying typical 3-year old compliance.


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All of us at Horseshoe Canyon.


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Walter chilling out with Grandma G as he wasn't keen on coming along for a walk. I think this was
when Walter managed to pull out the safety catch from my Thule bike rack actually. I'll need to
figure out how he did that.


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Grandma G and Henry at Elkwater Lake.


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Henry on the beach.


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Our family cooling off at the lake. Grandma G and I managed to swim out to the buoys on two different
days so there you have it. It's not far, but the water is brisk.


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Great sign at the ice cream place on the beach.


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Henry playing golf with my Mom.

Walter playing soccer with a beach ball


Walter found a ladybug and named him Quincy



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Walter playing with 'Quincy'


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Natalia, Grandma G, and Henry checking out the boardwalk and learning why there are trees on the
south side and none on the north side. It's moist on the south side!


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Great, clear, sign on the MTB trails.


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Some friends I spotted near the viewpoint.


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Nice view down to Elkwater Lake in the early morning light.

Doing Parking Lot Laps on bikes



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A great sign at the Visitor Centre that made me laugh. The Elkwater Visitor Centre is actually worth
a stop in, with a 6 metre chunk of soil that's preserved and shows the almost 8000 year continuous habitation
history of this site. It's a unique piece of geology that wasn't covered in glacier in the last ice age
so it's worth popping in and learning more.


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Sweet bike flow park near the Visitor Centre that we found (thanks Trail Folks for having this marked!)


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Henry getting after it on the bike park.

Henry riding the bike park


Henry riding the other side of the bike park


The boys rough-housing in the bug tent


Walter riding the 'whoop-dee-doos'



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Walter at the bike park.

Walter riding the area around the bike park



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Henry and I did a bit of fishing at Elkwater on our last night there. We caught exactly nothing though.
This is Henry following my instructions of 'hold the rod higher to avoid getting your hook stuck in the rocks'.


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Henry and I on the dock.


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Sunset on Elkwater as Henry and I fished.


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Happy fisherman (after snacks) in sunset lighting.


Somewhat formal family photos or attempts


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First attempt at Grandma G with the littles was more than a little chaotic. Lesson here is pack treats
and give them out aggressively to keep the screaming down and compliance up.


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Grandma G with the Everson boys.


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With Grace and Logan.


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With Henry and Walter.


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We tried for a second round here and started with silly faces.


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You try to get 7 kids to actually look at you!


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Walter's hands in this one are awesome and Logan is just about to zip out of here.


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All attendees of Family Cabining 2020. My mom managed to catch a poor sucker who basically had their
entire vehicle packed and ready to leave and asked them to take photos for us.


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Grandma G and the littles take two. This one had gummies for bribes and it went much better.


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And with Grandma G's birthday glasses.


Dinosaur Provincial Park


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On the way home, I thought it would be worthwhile to split up the drive and have a picnic
at the UNESCO site at Dinosaur Provincial Park. This site has yielded over 500 specimens that
are displayed all around the world, including at the local Tyrrell Museum. This is a unique
exhibit in the badlands that has actually preserved most of a hadrosaur skeleton in the way that
it was found, which is super cool.


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Exploring some of the badlands.


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Henry and Walter climbing on rocks.


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Natalia walking around the badlands.


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Henry and Walter on the sediments that have yielded so many dinosaur bones. My sister-in-law Maria
would call some of these drive-in sites 'sacrificial' sites that host many tourists but keep the
protected/conserved terrain safe and tourist-free.


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Henry at the top of a badland tower.


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And actually on the top looking around the Red Deer River valley.


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Natalia helping Walter get up to where his brother is.


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Walter finally got up to where his brother was and then his brother left him. While the park itself is
super neat and has no shortage of interesting areas to explore, at this age, I think the boys aren't quite
mature enough to enjoy it. Also, the camping seems to be quite close to each other with limited shade,
so I don't think we'll camp here for a few years. Good G2 to sort out, on an otherwise boring long
drive down highway 1.

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