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.
Where has the last month gone? I actually have no idea. But I promise, over the last few weeks, I have thought about this blog a lot. Having a blog titled “Northern Simple Life” really does encourage me to keep simple living on my mind. I have also been continually encouraged by a blog I’ve been following called The Year of Less – as I was going through all my things, deciding what to keep and what wasn’t important enough to take up room in my little blue Cobalt, this family’s commitment to living with intentionality has been incredibly inspiring.
I said my good-byes, packed up my things, drove to Vancouver, flew to Ontario, spent time with my wonderful family, flew back to Vancouver, and unpacked my things, all in the last three weeks. And now I’m settling into my new city life, surprised at the culture shock. There are so many people! And so many cars! And so many stores! And so many restaurants! I’d forgotten what it’s like. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of it all, yet I am determined to let my time and the things I learned from isolated small-town living inform how I live my life here in Vancouver. And this blog is going to keep me accountable.
– I don’t have a microwave
– I’m still knitting up a storm
– The basil plant I grew from seed in BL made it to my Vancouver windowsill
– I’m already planning my backyard garden for next spring
– I’m composting again!
– I bought a whole knew IKEA bedroom (Oh crap, that’s not simple living at all!)
– I roasted a whole bunch of local root veggies for dinner
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.