I have this terrible habit of packing my truck, picking my girls up from school (mid-day) and taking off for a few days. Last week, we did just that!
I'm a firm believer in all kids knowing how to drive, should an emergency ever occur... plus it puts me right up there in the "Cool Mom" category. This day it was Toby's turn for a lesson. Don't worry -- old back road, miles and miles and MILES in the middle of nowhere, it's perfectly safe for a 5 yr old to drive!
I have an aunt that's always up for our kind of adventure, so we met up to explore a chain of lakes. We started out at the east end of Stony Lake. My aunt kayaks, I canoe so the kids can come along too. We go rain or shine, wind or hail - it would pretty much have to be a full on hurricane to keep us home. If there's somewhere we want to go, we get there. EVEN if it includes dragging a canoe and a kayak up a raging creek in our underwear (so we still have dry clothes to put back on before the onset of hypothermia) Now, I did specifically say the words "Don't worry, auntie, this picture won't end up on Facebook" and I completely honor that statement. But nowhere in that conversation was my blog mentioned. My sincere apologies, but that's the chance you take hanging out with a blogger. It's how we roll. We keep it real. Real life is funny, and so are my Popsicle Joe Boxers paired with camo neoprene gumboots and my aunts spray skirt, kayak-bootie ensemble.
We tied a rope on our boats and headed up stream. Sometimes we were on shore, and sometimes we had to walk in the water. The girls alternated between walking on shore and riding in the canoe.
Ellie-May rode shotgun. It's grizzly country. You don't want to be caught in your Popsicle undies without a gun, let me tell you.
Toby was the Official Complainer.
We trekked up to where it was wider and deeper and we were able to paddle, and put our pants back on. Creeks in northern BC at the end of September are freaking freezing and it felt oddly like I was dressing another person, my legs were completely numb.
The next lake is Rond Lake. Apparently the cold was affecting my brain at this point because I forgot to take a picture until the way back, so its from the wrong direction, but you get the idea.
There's another little section of creek, and then Stefan Lake. As we were coming in, I noticed a bull moose on the far shore. He immediately noticed us as well, and started prancing and throwing his head, and pacing back and forth. We watched him perform the entire trip down the lake, and when we started getting close, he started swimming out. We kept a close eye. I'm no fool. Moose are dangerous. We kept our distance and he eventually swam back to shore, and continued his show of pacing and thrashing around. We parked and watched him for close to an hour and had a snack
The next lake doesn't technically have a name, on a map, but we call it Little Stefan because it's smaller than Stefan Lake. Duh.
Once again, I forgot to take a picture, but this is taken from Stefan Lake, looking into Little Stefan.
OK, all this Stefan talk is getting me off track...
Anyways, back to the trip... After making it all the way down to the last lake, we stopped for lunch and a rest before heading back to camp. The trip back down the creek was much more fun than the trip up. It was like a roller coaster! Rapids, twists, turns, a drop off, and some fancy paddling to make it between stumps and other debris in the water. We felt like Voyageurs! Well at least I did. When I yelled that to the girls, they burst out laughing and said "what the heck is a voyageur?!" You spend all the time at school and don't know what a Voyageur is? What do you do there all day? So I gave them a little history less right then and there. I think it was much more effective learning about it while we were actually doing it. There's an element added that you just can't get by sitting at a desk - the fearing for you life while you careen a hundred miles an hour down a raging creek in a canoe, getting your face scratched on willows, portaging, and paddling till your arms burn off - it was perfect!
We came shooting out of the creek, back into Stony Lake and headed to camp for some fishing,
and a beautiful end to the day...