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.
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.
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.
Walter and Jack at the playground playing.
Singing Happy 3rd birthday to Jack
Walter eating a piece of brownie cake (good cake Danielle!) that Aunty D ensured had a '3' on it for him.
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
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!
At the starting line for gunny sack races.
A full round of gunny sack races
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
Grandma G found this Bean Bag toss that added a bit more flair to the game.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Meal time - note Grandma G with her cool cup of magic juice.
Walter 'helping' Daddy chop wood. Walter loves using tools of any kind.
Walter watching the Flames lose on my phone with me..
Walter discovered puffed wheat squares on this trip.
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.
Danielle made a carrot cake (no raisins or walnuts) for my Mom's 65th birthday.
Pork chops and mango salsa with beans, and garden salad from our garden.
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.
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.
Walter was thrilled to be getting so much candy on this trip.
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.
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.
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.
Some friends I spotted near the viewpoint.
Nice view down to Elkwater Lake in the early morning light.
Doing Parking Lot Laps on bikes
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.
Sweet bike flow park near the Visitor Centre that we found (thanks Trail Folks for having this marked!)
Henry getting after it on the bike park.
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'.
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.
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.
And actually on the top looking around the Red Deer River valley.
Natalia helping Walter get up to where his brother is.
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.