… you’re sure of a big surprise. Hubby and I ventured off into the mountains for some tent camping for three nights. As relaxing as it was, our little trip away also had lots of surprises, some small and some big. We headed out on Thursday evening to Lower Kananaskis Lake, in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. It was raining as we tried to get our camp set-up, which is always fun (that’s my sarcastic voice). So by the time we managed to get our Coleman stove up and running to boil tea water, we were thoroughly wet and cold. With hubby’s marvelous fire-starting abilities, we managed to get a fire going in the rain and soon warmed up, roasted a couple of smokies and soaked in the utter lack of human noise in the campground. There was just the sound of raindrops, crackling fire, and occasional bird that had yet to head to bed. I’m still so shocked at how quiet it was out there this weekend. Surprise number one of the trip.
Although it was raining quite a bit of the time, we did enjoy many hours of sunshine wondering around both Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes. We don’t really do much in the way of “hiking”, but love to take walks, stop and try to identify flowers and birds, and just be at a slower pace than we often find ourselves while living in the city. We stopped to enjoy the sound of loons on the lake, marveled at the variety of lichens that we always see, appreciated the small beauty of a flower that we’d never seen before (turned out to be Venus’s Slipper, surprise number two), breathed deeply of the fresh, cool air, and again wondered why we’d been so blessed to enjoy this time with so few people around. Oh, and there were naps too. Much needed naps in the tent and dozing near the fire.
We saw lots of animals this time around. Felt like there were way more critters around than we usually see. There were the typical deer and elk and big horn sheep, but we also saw lots of moose. I think I’ve only seen a moose out there one other time, but this trip we saw quite a few, including a mama moose with her baby (surprise number three). So adorable. Moose are just such awkward looking animals, no matter what age, but also so massive. Luckily, the only bear we saw was a small black bear along the side of the road, minding his own business. There was a lot of bear activity during our last trip to the area, right within our campground, and the bear gun being shot off was a frequent sound echoing around. Not this time though. Maybe so few people in the campground made it a less desirable place for bears to poke around. Surprise number four of the trip had to be hearing a pack of wolves howling in the middle of the night on Friday. It went on for several minutes and it was a truly amazing sound. Their howls and calls echoed around the lake and set off some of the dogs in the campground. Hard to judge how close they really were, but they couldn’t have been THAT far, given how loud they were. It was a wonderful treat that we might not ever re-experience.
Surprise number five of the trip was by far the largest. Remember when I said that hubby had amazing fire-starting abilities? Well, he is also in charge of chopping the wood, since I’m scared of the axe. Surprise number five took place on Saturday in the early evening and required only three ingredients: chopping wood, axe and a hand in the wrong spot. Picture me sitting near the fire, determining my next word in a scrabble game, while hubby says he needs to chop a couple more smaller pieces of wood. Next scene, a small “thunk”, much profanity, and the words “I think I need stitches”. I grab a towel and he applies pressure as we drive from deep within Kananaskis Country eventually making our way to the Canmore General Hospital ER. Much blood, and six stitches later, plus some friendly chatting with the lovely doctors and nurses, he’s patched up and we head back to camp. No severed digits or damaged tendons, thank goodness, just a really deep cut. An adventure to add to our camping journal, but one we’d like not to repeat. It was cold and wet by the time we got back to our site. Felt like the night we had first arrived, although we skipped having a fire that evening. We hauled out our Coleman, made up some spaghetti, filled our tummies with warm food and then crawled into our tent to play Uno before calling it a night.
We had a simple breakfast the next morning, and packed up our campsite, eager to get home and shower and check on hubby’s hand. The cat was oh so happy to see us again and is taking much pleasure in smelling every thing we took camping. Yes, little kitty, that is the smell of adventure… If you go out in the woods today, you’d better not go alone. It’s lovely out in the woods today, but safer to stay at home.