Its rains ALOT in Western Canada. Vancouver receives nearly 44 inches and it seems to fall at a slow, steady pace whenever I am in the area. Sure, it makes life wet but it also makes the environment gorgeously green. We passed through what felt like an endless forest of green as we drove east. Supposedly I was on the more direct and less scenic route but I found the lakes, rivers, forests, and mountains that we cruised through to be incredibly scenic. British Columbia is just filled with so much beauty that it seems impossible to disappoint.
We arrived in Salmon Arm, a small resort town halfway between Vancouver and Calgary, in the early afternoon. Plenty of time to stretch our legs and enjoy the break in the clouds before our friends Jess, Mazzy, and baby Cairo were going to meet up with us for this leg of our trip. Jess is one of my best friends. We met in the dorms in college and have been great friends ever since. Her daughter is only six months older than my little ones so she is the perfect playmate. Jess and her husband moved up to Calgary over a year ago after living with me or near me for the past 12 years and I missed them dearly. Visiting them and going to the Calgary Stampede was the main inspiration for our entire trip. With only a couple hours before our reunion, the kids and I decided to explore the shore of Shuswap Lake just outside the back door of our hotel, the Prestige Harbourfront Resort. I was absolutely giddy when we got up to our hotel room and could see a nesting pair of ospreys from our window. It was amazing to watch one of the birds fly out onto the lake and return with a fish to feed their hatchlings. I could have sat there for hours and watched their family dynamics but I had antsy kids who needed to run wild so we headed downstairs and out onto the pier.
The kids had a blast running down the wooden planks and I enjoyed watching people figure out the finer points of personal watercraft operation. Evidently Shuswap Lake is the houseboating capital of Canada and I can understand why. The lake is huge and the scenery is gorgeous. There is a wonderful little park right by the harbour with excellent views of the wetlands. We happened to meet two local girls who were extremely friendly and happy to let us know all there was to know about the area. The older girl proudly let me know she is Girl Guide (the Canadian equivalent to Girl Scouts) and listed all the skills she had acquired from her years of training. She was so smart and so precocious. She seemed to be one of those kids that adults love but probably is misunderstood by most kids her own age. I truly hope she goes on to do great things with her life. My kids certainly thought she was the bees knees.
Eventually the rain returned and brought our dear friends along with it. The kids were thrilled to play with someone in their own age group and I was happy to have some adult contact. We were now two women traveling with four kids under four. And the fun just begun.