Brooding Whooping Cranes – CAMPING TRIP!!! (Aug 3, 2016- Aug 6, 2016)

Day 1 – What an exciting morning – it was finally camping day! Whoooo! The families burst out of their beds with excitement to start packing their belongings and tidying their apartments. Once bags were packed, we all worked together as a team to load the bus. Then we had our “bear safety talk” with teachers Emily and Vicky so we were prepared for a fun-filled and safe five days in the wilderness. The bus departed and we were off to the beautiful and serene mountains. After many twists and turns in the magnificent mountainous roads, the bus dropped us off at our quaint camping site. Tent time! The tents went up as the team began cooking dinner. We dined on some well seasoned chicken souvlaki, crispy garlic bread, yummy beans, and a cornucopia of berries. By the time our campers finished dishes others had already begun a cozy fire to keep us warm on the cool Alberta evening. Suddenly teacher Selena whipped out her speaker and before we knew it, an impromptu dance party erupted! Moms and Dads were dancing by the fire and kids were dancing on the picnic tables. What a hoot! We said good night and scurried off to our tents for a good night’s rest because we would have an early start the next morning for the Columbia Icefields.

Day 2- “Good mooooooooorning” sang teacher Dustin as he clanged the pots and pans to ensure everyone was awake for the delicious breakfast. The sun was still rising in the morning sky when the campers had their scrumptious croissants and yogurts before hoping on the bus for the long but fun-filled drive to the Icefields. We sang songs and played charades on the bus ride until we were almost to the Icefields then all of a sudden the bus was making a bit of funny noise… Then it made a bit of a funny smell… The bus driver pulled over to inspect the mechanics of the bus as the campers looked on with excitement and nervousness. Yes indeed the bus broke down, however when you give Wynchemna campers lemons we make lemonade! So we piled off the bus to an open area, set up our stoves, and cooked our tasty lunch while some of us learned how to play a fun new game called “Ninja”. We devoured our lunch that consisted of sausages, buns, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, guacamole, a variety of condiments, many different fruits, and even a few cookies for dessert. We were so captured by the deliciousness of our lunch that by the time we finished, our new bus was waiting to take us up the hill to the Icefields. Next, the ice explorer (a huge specially designed vehicle for travelling on ice) rocketed us up the mountain. We stepped out onto the chilly glacier and stared in amazement at its vastness. Then we took pictures and we even drank some glacier water! Our ice explorer driver was very knowledgeable and explained many facts about the Athabasca glacier. After buying a few souvenirs at the gift shop, the campers piled back on the bus for a smooth ride home. We ate a spaghetti dinner and went to bed promptly because we were tuckered out from all the ice exploring excitement.

Day 3 – The family campers woke up peacefully to the sound of birds chirping, the wind blowing, and teacher Megan’s loud snoring but the sight of the sunlight shining off the mountain tops was the best part. We made tasty English muffins, with egg, cheese, and sausage. “Way better than McDonald’s!” said one camper. After breakfast we got eager as we heard the schedule of the day: a hike followed by shopping, dinner at a restaurant and then check-in time at the Delta Hotel Kananaskis! Turns out the family camp was the first ever Wychemna group to go “glamping” or glamour-camping. With our busy schedule in mind, the campers took down their tents enthusiastically and we were off to our hike. Unfortunately, we got to our designated hiking trail and it was closed for bear activity. But not to fret! The campers jumped at the opportunity to spend more time in Alberta’s epicentre for high-class shopping – Banff! The family campers ate lunch with teachers and then they were off to check out the shops. Campers ate supper with their families and then we met as a group to hop back on the bus to check into our hotel. We strutted our stuff into the Delta Hotel and we enjoyed seeing the poshness of it’s amenities. Once the kids found out there was a pool, we were off to the swimming area to play “Marco Polo” in the pool and then relax our tired muscles in the indoor/outdoor hot tub! Next we dried off and went straight to bed so we would be well rested for our second attempt at hiking tomorrow.

Day 4 – “Good morning, good mooooorning, it’s fun to stay up late, good morning, good mooooorning to you!” And it was a good morning as we slept-in to our heart’s content in the luxurious Delta suites with nice soft sheets, fluffy pillows, and the cute, cabin-style décor. We relaxed and lounged around as we ate breakfast casually between two suites. We talked and laughed amongst ourselves as we ate fruit and sipped our coffees. Next we tidied up and prepared for the hike! We set off by foot trough the trails past the hotel and as we turned the first corner someone noticed something moving in the woods… It was a fully-grown doe! It was grazing on the tall grasses in between some trees. The campers looked on in amazement at the serenity of the scene. We quietly walked past the deer to continue our hike. We weaved our way through the rock and trees to a spectacular waterfall! What an incredible sight! After many photo-ops with the waterfall we had a quick snack and then made the one hour hike back to the hotel. Pool time! We had another great time relaxing and playing at the hotel pool. The bus driver even came too and threw some of us in the pool! Then we looked at the time and remembered our 8 o’clock supper reservation. We jumped out of the pool, ran upstairs and put on some nice clothes for our supper at the hotel restaurant. Everyone enjoyed the variety and exquisiteness of the restaurant’s buffet as we chatted and shared laughs at the tables. We socialized and practiced singing some English songs late into the evening before saying goodnight to each other as our final day of glamping came to an end. Some were sad and others were excited because they knew tomorrow would bring more shopping and an art activity.

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