Briley's Mountain Adventures

Aug 22, 2016

This summer has consisted of far too few trips to the mountains. Whether due to other plans, poor weather, or inability to find accommodations, our weekend getaways have sadly been few and far between.  The national parks have been so, so busy this year and sadly spontaneous trips are no longer possible... assuming you'd like to have a place to sleep at night.  
A few months ago I signed Ryan and I up for a 5 kilometre run in Hinton. I'm so thankful that I did, because it motivated us to book a hotel in advance, which is so out of character for us. Had we not done so we likely would have spent yet another weekend in the city.  Instead, we packed up and headed west. My mom had asked to take Aaralee on a trip of her own, so it was just Briley tagging along for the adventure.  I was certain that I'd forgotten something, because packing the car for only one child seemed far too easy. 
Ryan came home from work early and we made the long journey all the way to Jasper National Park. Briley was pretty well behaved for the majority of the car ride. We kept driving until we reached Maligne Lake. The boat tour there is included in the epic summer pass that we purchased for the season, so we got tickets and cruised across the beautiful lake to Spirit Island.  We've seen most of the major attractions in the area, but this was a brand new spot for us and so, so stunning. How are we so lucky to live so close to such magical places? 

Once we were back on land, we returned to Hinton to check into our hotel and put Briley to bed after a long day.  Ryan and I assumed our usual hotel position of hiding in the bathroom while we waited for her to fall asleep.  
Morning came too soon, and it was the day of the big race! We met our friend Jessie at the start line. We'd known her for years, but never actually met in person.  Her and I have a history of being overly competitive when it comes to FitBit step challenges, so this race was essentially going to be our ultimate showdown.  That was the plan prior to her coming down with a terrible respiratory illness that made breathing, let alone running, rather difficult.  I told myself that I'd go slower and just have fun, but I lack the necessary self control to pace myself.  I heard the word go, and off I went. I'm used to running on pretty flat ground, so the hills were painfully difficult and I hated almost every minute of it, as per usual. I love running, except for when I'm actually doing it. I still made it to the finish line and even managed to place as the 3rd female, winning back my entry fee and a snazzy 3rd place medal.   Even more impressive was the fact that Jessie made it despite being sick, and Ryan sprinted to the finish pushing Briley in her stroller.  

We chowed down on the post race lunch and then proceeded to our hotel to shower and freshen up before continuing on with our tourist adventures.  Briley needed a nap, so we drove all the way into British Columbia and to the base of Mt. Robson. I've yet to see the mountain without clouds covering the top, and this day was no exception. Despite this, it was still a beautiful spot!  We enjoyed the crisp mountain air and Briley ran around happily collecting sticks and rocks. 

We returned to Jasper for dinner and then stopped at a lake on the side of the highway to let Briley splash in the shallow waters.  By glacier fed standards, the water was surprisingly warm, and she had so much fun splashing and playing in front of a spectacular backdrop. 

It was an early night after a busy, fun filled day.  We woke up the next morning and packed up the hotel.  Typically, Sundays consist of little more than the drive home, but the weather was perfect so we decided to spend the day in the mountains, even if it meant that we wouldn't get home until that evening.  
Our first stop was the Jasper Skytram... yet another brand new experience for me! We rode the creepy tramway all the way up and then continued on the hike to the summit.  It was about a kilometre up, but it fairly easy and Briley took in the views from my back. 

 At one flat spot, we stopped to feed her and let her play. My crazy child tried to climb the steepest slopes and scramble up completely vertical rocks, getting angry if we'd try to help her or relocate her. We let her play until she was good and tired, at which point she went back up on my back and we continued on.  One the way back down she finally gave in to her exhaustion.  

We were starving after our hike, so we went to Patricia Street Deli in Jasper for lunch. The sandwiches there are so, so good! We stuffed our faces and continued on to Pyramid Lake. There is a little bridge that connects to a small island, so we let Briley run across it in attempt to wear her out before the 4 hour ride home. 

On the island itself, we found a shallow, scenic spot in the lake where I conveniently planted my baby to play while I took photos of her. She was just having so much fun and being so darn cute! 

After running and swimming, we had one tired baby on our hands so we finally decided to begin the trip home.  It was a long drive back, but worth it for such a great weekend getaway.  It was different from our usual trips, but so much fun to spend so much time with my littlest baby and to explore our favourite places from her perspective.  I'm fairly certain that she loved all of the extra attention that came with being an only child for a weekend, though we all miss Aaralee and can't wait for her to come home!   

As the summer days dwindle, we are hoping to cram in any many mountain trips as possible while it's still warm enough to do so!  With that being said, if you could all kindly stay home, that would greatly improve our chances of actually finding a campsite or hotel to stay in.  It would be much appreciated.  Or just invite us along to the hotel that you probably booked months in advance, because apparently planning ahead is the thing to do these days.
I, however, refuse to let go of my spontaneous ways.  

summer time for parents.

Aug 2, 2016

Hey August, where did you come from? How did you sneak up on me so fast?  Didn't summer just begin? August is like a month-long Sunday. It's bittersweet. Sure, it's still the weekend (summer) but it's already half over and before you know it, Monday (autumn) will arrive and we'll be right back to the beginning of another long week (winter).  
This summer has been a bit of a blur, as most of life is now that I've entered the realms of life with 2 toddlers.  I don't know what we've done, but we've kept busy. We are always busy, and if there is a moment of calm, Briley is quick to ensure that it is short-lived. 

We've splashed at spray parks and in our backyard, attended birthday parties and went on many, many long walks. 

We've gone camping, shopping, and on lunch dates and we've even reunited with some friends from other provinces.  

 I've even managed to sneak in a bit of "me" time! I went on my first kid-free movie date with friends since... ever. I also took a macaron baking class and spent July baking tasty French macarons and then making daily trips to the gym in attempt to cancel out the vast quantity that I'd indulged in.  

Before I knew it, it was August long weekend! Ryan spent May and July long weekend working away, so I was excited for the adventures that we'd finally be able to have.  The thing is, we are a spontaneous family and lately it seems to work against us. Our failure to plan ahead meant that all of the campsites and hotels were already booked up by the time that we considered leaving town.  The weather forecast wasn't all that promising anyways, so our fun weekend away turned into a rainy weekend at home, potty training our daughter. 

After several failed attempts at over the past year, I knew that the time was right.  Aaralee is stubborn and set in her ways, so I knew that we were in for a challenge.   She actually did quite well, minus pooping everywhere besides the toilet. Somewhere between wrangling a screaming, naked one year old into her diaper and washing poop off of my kitchen floor, I stopped to wonder when my life had suddenly become so glamourous.  Long weekends at 30 are sure a change from the ones at 20!  On Sunday I splashed a little bit of Bailey's in my latte, because I might be older now, but I still like to live on the edge.  

With half of summer behind us, I am feeling extra motivated to get out and make the most of the weeks that remain.  We will be spending as much time as we possibly can outdoors... I'm hoping that will include some road trips and camping adventures.
With that being said, it's time to go splash in the kiddie pool with my little water lovers!