Sorry for the delay but boy did we had a fun few days in the Rockies. It was just early yesterday evening that we Loons came back from our six night camping trip at beloved Pocaterra and so the thought of returning to blogs and showers scared many of us teachers and students. The camping life will call us Water Loon all our lives, and we’ll sing back.
We left last Monday, arrived to a sunny sky brightening mountains taller than Taipei 101, Torre Reforma, the Messeturm, Ostankino Tower, and even the AZ Tower or the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Rockies take your breath away, figuratively, of course. No, the mountain air is fresh, and us Loons we’re happy to be in surrounded by nature – even if that meant sleeping in tents.
Even still, the tents were filled with friends. With many friends us Loons easily set up our camp. Sadly, a Fire Ban meant neither campfires nor smores over our six nights, but after a fantastic first dinner of souvlaki with some crisp salads, the Loons happy chatting away most of the night with the sound of the wind going through the trees.
Tuesday morning our English learning camp made French Toast, covered in fruit, Canadian maple syrup or (maybe and) Nutella. With bellies full, us Loons hauled over to hike up to Chester Lake. The mountain elevation got some students winded, but singing together up the winding path, being blown-away by spectacular views, and held up by the support of our friends got all the students through the hike.
The Loons laughed it up at Chester Lake. We brought up some cold cuts, bread, cheese and vegetables for lunch. Though admittedly we do eat many sandwiches here in Canada, we don’t often eat them on the edge of a mountain lake, infant of a waterfall beside a settled rockslide. A meal isn’t just about the food, but also the atmosphere, and especially the company – boy are us Singing Water Loons great camping.
We had even more company at Pocaterra after we arrived home from hiking as the Galloping Western Mustangs arrived. We shared the site and dinner together, happily, as Loons and Mustangs often do in the wild.
Wednesday morning we Loons awoke early and climbed onto the bus to journey out of the Kananaskis. Our group split into two rafts. Some stopped off at Lake Louise for a calm cantor (that’s cowboy for horseback ride) around one of Canada’s most serene sites.
The other raft of us Loons headed further north towards the Athabasca Glacier at the Colombia Icefields. From our site in the Kananaskis to the glaciers takes about five hours but the landscapes along the way make the journey so wonderful. And once we arrived, we took their special ice-climbing buses towards something like an ice oasis, a little spot with cold, fresh water rivers running through, where we Loons tasted maybe the freshest water in the world.
Both rafts had their stories when we met again later that Wednesday. We all had time to tell them as we arrived back to Pocaterra, made a wonderful dinner together and ate while the sun set over the mountain tress.
Thursday requiring no busing, rather the loons went biking! First, we took our time and made an English style Breakfast: English Muffins with cheese melted, a fried egg and bacon. The students, all eager to help – even take over the cooking – made the meal an easy production, that we teachers enjoyed so much! Biking was a bit different though: through winding roads, between trees, up and down hills, the trail challenged us. It gave some of us cuts and bruises, but all had a great time.
Friday was a very different sort of day: Banff. Not to far from our home at Pocaterra, Banff is one of Canada’s premier destinations, tucked into a valley, with views of many mountains. Though what seemed more important for our Loons was that the city offered our Loons their last chance to buy souvenirs for the their friends and family back home. And, what seemed most important for some Loons was the chance to rest – and wash – their bodies in Banff’s hot springs, tucked right at the foot of sulphur mountain. It was a very different camping day than most, but fun nonetheless.
Saturday, our last full day in the mountains, and we took advantage of it. The Loons lay around talking, playing cards, badminton, strolling through the trees relaxing in the sun, Though. as our name suggests, the Singing Water Loons, enjoyed the river, and boy did the cold mountain water make them sing.
On Sunday, we had our last breakfast in the mountains. Most of the students woke up early to enjoy the day. Some students cut fruit, while others looked over the stoves that filled the air with the smell of eggs, bacon, and sausages. Leaving camping made us all sad, but that last morning together, preparing food, cooking, eating, and cleaning up our site, all while laughing, talking, joking, singing – even if there was no activity planned or destination set, that time spent together will be something we’ll always remember.