Since my day home was closed, I decided to save Liam from spending the week at a new day home and took the week off. We packed up and headed to my parents place overnight on Tuesday, and then mom, Liam and I were off to Jasper for a couple nights.
We left Wednesday morning and had an amazing drive down. Before lunch I had spotted a bald eagle and a deer with two fawns. The real excitement came when we neared the forest fire burning past Nordegg. There is nearly 110 hectares of forest burning out of control in that area. One of the helicopters landed in the ditch right in front of us with a bunch of forest fire fighters around. It was so cool to witness and I wish we could have pulled over for a few to watch.
A little further down we could see the flame right from the road. Ironically, we were listening to the new Ed Sheeran album and his song ‘I See Fire’ came on as we were driving past. (Sidenote: that album is amazing and if you haven’t downloaded it yet, go do it immediately.) You hear about big forest fires all the time, and I’ve experienced smoky conditions from fires in the province before, but I’ve never seen one up close like that. I hope that this fire wasn’t caused from someone being careless…
The excitement continued once we passed the helicopter scene and happened to spot a bear! It was quite hidden in the bush so I don’t think Liam could spot it from the car seat and I wasn’t able to get a photo. Shortly thereafter we were in the mountains and Liam has in awe. We kept hearing him saying ‘look! whoa!’ from the back seat as he watched out the window. It’s amazing to see your child react to new sights and experiences like that. Apparently I could have cared less about the mountains when I was his age, so it warms my heart to know that he already has an appreciation for them. Before long it was time to stop for lunch. We found a great little picnic spot along a river to have sandwiches and a snack box for Liam.
Sandwich: egg salad
Snack box: snap peas, carrots, ham pepperoni, cherries, grapes, cucumber, salami, turkey breast
We spent time after lunch walking around the area, splashing and throwing rocks into the river so Liam could burn off some energy before driving the rest of the way. We also spent some time saying hello to the ground squirrels that were hanging around looking for some food. It was really cute watching Liam look for them and wave hello, until I changed his diaper and a group of them began swarming us and tried to make off with the used diapers! I wish I could have snapped a photo, but was too busy watching my back while I made a speedy diaper change!!
When we finally made it to Jasper we had to drive around the town for a little while since Liam had fallen asleep again. We checked in to our cabin when he woke up and then went off to find some dinner. We stopped at the Downstream Restaurant and Lounge where I had a refreshing raspberry ale and the most delicious spinach, sweet potato and goat cheese lasagna. Liam wasn’t a fan of the falafel I had ordered him, so he downed an entire bowl of sweet potato fries. Sometimes we all need to indulge on holidays!
On Thursday we headed off on a drive to sight see and ended up at Pyramid Lake, which was completely empty. Liam decided the beach looked like a fantastic idea and beelined right for the lake to splash and throw sand. I wasn’t prepared for a beach day so we ended up with a sand filled diaper and filthy clothes, but it was worth it to watch him having so much fun! It was a struggle to get him out of the lake to eat our picnic lunch and then go back to the cabin for a nap.
Someone was a little cranky after his nap, which resulted in getting some Korean takeout instead of eating out. We had wanted to go up the gondola, but with the strong wind and cranky toddler, decided to save it for the morning instead. The rest of the evening was spent fending the mosquitos on the balcony.
Friday morning we packed up for our journey home. When we checked out we learned that the highway had been closed due to the fire which meant we had to take a different, longer, boring route home. Mom and I were super disappointed because we had wanted to see the fire again and also because the alternate route would add an extra hour and a half of boring scenery to our drive. This also meant we couldn’t stop at the new Sky Walk that we had though about seeing. Instead we headed up to the gondola before hitting the road. Bad news prevailed as it was over an hour wait for the gondola, which we didn’t want to do since we knew we had a longer drive ahead of us. Liam fell asleep before long, but woke up in less than an hour in full meltdown mode. Of course there was not a lot of options for picnic areas and it took awhile before we could find somewhere to stop for a break. Thank god for the lady on the side of the road in Hinton with the pooping puppy, which instantly stopped the meltdown and brought on giggles. Apparently the potty humour starts young.
After another picnic lunch and a break, we were on the road again. I had hoped Liam would fall asleep again and we could just continue on home without stopping, but we were not so lucky. There was a lot of cranky spells, stops to dig out snacks, find where Liam had tossed the cow, etc. And then I learned that shortly after we hit the road, they had reopened the highway and we could have avoided this mess if we’d just checked one last time before we left town. It was a relief when we finally made it back to my parents house. I struggled with whether we would save driving home until Saturday or just suck it up and get home to our own beds. The latter won and I was glad to be home on my couch at the end of the day!
It was a great little getaway and nice to spend time with mom and have some fun with Liam. Despite not showing interest in the mountains as a toddler, I do love them now and wish I took more trips out there!