Due to a variety of last minute events, we ended up celebrating our Friday Night Dinner on Saturday this week. We were a small crowd, so we kept it simple and rich: beef tenderloin, prawns, roasted veggies, sauteed mushrooms, and I am sure there was something else…
However, before I launch into the photos, I should mention that prepping for this particular dinner really forced me to push my boundaries for two reasons. First: initially, we planned that I would face my fear and purchase prawns from the “seafood school bus”; as in a yellow school bus packed with “fresh” seafood that comes to town every few weeks (totally legitimate, I know). Despite the sketchy means of transportation and point of sale, I have actually heard that the seafood is awesome. However, when I set out to purchase said seafood, camera in hand, it was nowhere to be found. I had to buy these beauties from the store, which was much less adventuresome. Second: Living in a small town with lots of farms in the area, I had heard that I could purchase farm raised beef from a particular industry supply store. I know, another sketchy venue. So again, I put on my big girl panties and braved my natural distrust of the situation, and happily found delicious, GIGANTIC steaks at the industry supply store. I love that the meat is raised humanely and grass fed. Also, it was delicious.
A couple weeks ago, my cousin called and said she and some of my other family had just booked a last-minute, all-inclusive trip to Cuba. “You should come!” Before I knew what was happening, my credit card had a much bigger balance and I’d convinced my mom to come along as well.
Of course, an impromptu trip to Cuba wouldn’t be complete without a hand-knit beach bag lined with a bright floral pattern, right? I set to work on my first sewing project since grade 8, and I have to say, I think Mrs. Erkelens would have been proud.
The trip was such a treat, though definitely not simple-living on any sort of level. I ate lots, drank lots, read lots, and played lots. It was such fun to get to see my mom so unexpectedly and also great to get to spend time with my aunt, my cousins and their cute kids. Coming back to rainy Vancouver was a bit of a shock after getting used to all that sun. But I’ve come back with renewed energy, perspective, and optimism. I hope you get a fall blessing that can do similar things for you (though I understand my tan in November is more than most can ask for)…
During all of the months I spent living up in the wild north – beautiful countryside dotted by thousands of lakes – I didn’t go camping once. Granted, I’m not the outdoors-iest of people and I don’t even own a legitimate sleeping bag, but it does seem a little ironic that the first full weekend that I was back in the city I went backcountry camping.
My two cousins and their families invited me to go along on family Thanksgiving camping weekend and I gladly joined in. We drove north out of the city a couple of hours, headed for a little provincial park and a beautiful lake with two canoes strapped to our cars.
When we got to the lake, we loaded the canoes with all our gear and headed across the lake to a rocky beach and set up camp.
Sunday we canoed across the lake to a trail we’d heard about that went up to Cirque Lake, a gorgeous alpine lake, still surrounded by snow fields. The hike was pretty intense, especially with a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, but well worth it.
Thanksgiving dinner was Idahoan instant potatoes, canned mixed veggies, and canned chili, with turkey jerky, served in mini IKEA bowls. Dinner has never tasted so good!
It was a beautiful weekend getaway and a wonderful reminder that the great outdoors is just a little car ride away.
We have been talking about taking this day trip to Sibola for years. Due to the time it takes to get there, the long drive on rural dirt roads, and the alpine conditions, this adventure is best done during the summer or early fall. Due to all the planning that a person would have to do ahead of time, you might be able to tell why we haven’t quite accomplished this yet! However, we made official plans for this weekend, which turned out to be (in my opinion) the best time to go because the leaves are changing all around, creating the most beautiful scenery.
In an effort to prep for the trip I baked a lemon pound cake and fixed some hoagies and Cam packed up the truck. The drive took somewhere in the 3-4 hour range, but no one was really counting. We stopped for coffee and pound cake at a hunting cabin before making the ascent up the hill.
The climb up the mountain was all done in the truck, which the anti-hiker in me truly appreciated. We went looking for an old mine shaft when we finally got to the top, which we quickly located down a steep embankment below us. We climbed down (while praying that I wouldn’t start an avalanche) had a great time exploring the old railway tracks, the out buildings, and then they guys found the actual opening to the old mine. They were brave enough to go inside. I heeded the sign and watched from the safety of the entrance.
Once we conjured up an appetite, we climbed back to the top and perched on the edge of the mountain for lunch. Just before heading home for the day, we explored the top of the mountain for awhile, which paid off when we saw the amazing, colourful streaks on Sibola.
In keeping with northern culture, we planned a dynamite party held at Stellako Lodge (which I would link to, but also in keeping with northern culture, there is no active website…) for Linette’s grand send-off. Stellako Lodge is located at the head of the Stellako River, where the river and Francois Lake meet and has long been a staple of my northern life. It is the one adventure that Linette had yet to experience during her time in Burns Lake so we packed the mini van full of our best friends, excessive amounts of wine, gummies, and chips and headed for an overnight adventure.
Stellako isn’t glamourous by any stretch of the imagination, but it holds a certain charm that is especially enchanting after a late night dinner in the rustic restaurant, a few glasses (or in this particular case bottles) of red wine, and a room lit solely by the glowing light of a kerosine lantern atop your table.
Today Linette and I packed up our best picnic blankets, Chopper the Dog, and a tasty spread, then headed to the Southside for an adventure. We ended up in Wistaria. Doesn’t that word conjure up beautiful images of an almost mythical land? I imagined rainbows, summer cottages, white picket fences, and maybe even a few desperate housewives.
We drove about 20 minutes to the ferry landing (where we stopped for free coffees/doughnuts/coffee cake from the Wagon Wheel!) then took the 10 minute ferry to the Southside of Francois Lake. We drove another half hour, passing Wistaria Community Hall and then Wistaria Community Church, and stumbled upon Wistaria Provincial Park (thanks to our trusty Backroad Map Book). The road in looked remote, yet friendly, so we took the opportunity to stop for lunch. It was drizzling so we unfolded our blankets and unpacked our french bread, goat cheese, basil, and caramelized onions, plus perrier and shortbread cookies and took shelter under the truck’s canopy. We plotted about how we would protect ourselves should a rogue bear appear, all the while watching a storm blow in across Ootsa Lake.
On the ride home, we encountered herds of unruly cattle (how are you supposed to get them out of the road!?) and a giant black bear! With Linette’s impending move, we took the opportunity to debrief on life in the country vs. the city, share our thoughts on the future, and talk about our appreciation for taking little adventures together, especially when that adventure is a picnic in Wistaria.