Enjoying the View

August 2, 2008

What a great way to spend a Saturday.  My wife and I enjoyed great conversation, talking about our family, our kids (including what we might name the one on the way) and tried to take the sights in as much as possible on the way to Dauphin for a family birthday party.  Brandon and Andy’s second cousin lives up there and luckily for us, that meant a trip through Riding Mountain National Park.

The ride up was somewhat rushed; I was working at the Church to try to get some projectors installed, we had terrible weather (a nasty thunderstorm was rolling through), Brandon wasn’t feeling great and we were just being us.  Translation: we were running late.

It was the second major thunderstorm in about 12 hours.  Last night lightening struck about 10 metres from our bedroom and took out a 10 metre chunk of canopy from a 50 year old tree in our yard.  The remnants were kindly left by mother nature for me to clean up, scattered through the yard and into the tomatoes in our garden.

We are very fortunate, in spite of the mess, that there was no property damage and – more importantly – no one was injured.

Tomorrow will need a solid effort to clean the trees, but today…road trip!

The party was great.  Every year the boys’ cousin hosts a themed party that usually results in a full-on every-man-woman-and-child-for-themself water fight where no one leaves dry.  I have watched and laughed from the sidelines for the last two years while my kids have tried to conjole me into joining them.  This year, in spite of an utter lack of clothes (and failing to heed warnings to that effect from my wife) I finally bit.

We went through enough water to tick off any environmentalist.  And had a great time.  If we’re going to continue preserving this annual event, we should definately try to find a more pleasing solution to Planet Earth, but we had a great, soppy wet time none-the-less.

On the way home Angie and I were noticing again all the stops along the side of the road.  For the second time today we found ourselves saying, “wouldn’t it be great to stop at all these and show the boys?”

After a couple minutes the question quickly changed to, “why don’t we?” and, “what are we in such a rush for?”  We didn’t really have a good answer, other than maybe, maybe saying it was getting on to bedtime for the kids, so we Tiggered-up and stopped.

“Mommy, why is Daddy stopping?” Anders asked. “What’s here?”

“We don’t know yet, sweetie.  Let’s go find out.”

We pulled ourselves into a stop known as Agassiz Tower, right on highway 10.  Climbing up a rough, muddy trail we came through to a clearing where a five-story stair climb presented itself summoning us to conquer it. Brandon wasn’t so sure. “Do we have to climb to the top of that?”  he asked, thinking we were pulling his leg.

“You bet, buddy.  I’ll race you.  Go!”

From the top the boreal forrest of RMNP revealed its incredible view.  The tower is fairly high in the Park to start with, so after climbing to the top you’re in for a great treat.  You can see for miles;  while we forgot to bring our camera for the party, I was able to find this shot on flickr that gives you an idea of the view.  What was also shocking to the boys was the noise (there was none) and the smell (it was nothing but forrest and rain).  It was so great to share that with them.

After presenting the required roadside attraction reading materials to the boys, we made our descent and continued down the highway to a picnic area called The Spruces.   Angie seems to remember stopping there as a kid, or perhaps, someplace a lot like it.  While we didn’t have anything to picnic with, we made our way to the boat launch and sat on the docks with the kids for about 20 minutes, listening to the water and trying to spot fish in the lake.

With the rain cleared, a killer water fight under out belts and one of the most incredible views I’ve seen in ages – all shared with my family – I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

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