Day 4 in Banff and Yoho National Parks

We got up early on our last day and the big news was that Jordon finally felt better.  His fever had receded and had his own energy back.  We briefly talked about hiking up to Lake Agnes Tea House but I really wanted to see Moraine Lake.

I should say that we had seen two bears so far.  We saw a Bear Jam over a Black Bear on Monday with people taking selfies and such.  Jordon said that there should be a new rule.  If you take a selfie with a bear and it mauls you, you lose your health insurance.  Then on the way to the Castle Mountain Resort’s confectionary, we saw a large grizzly bear.  After reading about it, I think it was The Boss (he later confirmed that it was on Twitter…. smarter than the average bear) but it was another total mess of a bear jam with people leaving their cars on the highway and running out to get close ups of a grizzly bear.  People are so stupid.

The day before, I finally saw a Black Bear while driving into Banff.  As we were driving along the Bow Valley Parkway, a bear poked his head up over the guard rail and I saw it up close.  We kept driving as it was on a tight corner and I couldn’t stop but I was so happy, I had my own bear sighting.  Well, Jordon and the boys saw it too but who cares about them right?  It was my bear and I was happy.

So we headed up to Moraine Lake and as we headed up the road, there was a big “Road Closed” sign.  We were going to head back but a Parks Canada dude waved us by the sign so we kept going.  I am not sure why he didn’t wave some others by but we kept driving.  We got up there, found a parking spot and it was everything I had dreamt it would be.

We hiked the entire trail to either a really quaint and peaceful waterfall or a stream that ran at a downward slant.  Either way it was fun. 

Moraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National ParkMoraine Lake in Alberta's Banff National Park

After getting back to the trailhead, Jordon took me up the Moraine Lake Lodge Gift Shop and get me a great Moraine Lake t-shirt.  Mark went up there and got me two mini black bears, one holding the letter W and the other one holding the letter C.  They are cute.  Apparently my pleasure at spotting a bear up close was well known.

After getting into the car, we drove back down the mountain to Lake Louise, dropped by Laggan’s Mountain Bakery and Delicatessen and instead of turning back east towards Banff, Jordon went west and we headed into British Columbia and Yoho National Park.

As we decended the famous Cathedral Mountain on the Trans Canada Highway, we saw the Spiral Tunnels that the Canadian Pacific Railway used to extend the run and lower the grade for trains going east and west.

The Spiral Tunnels in British Columbia's Yoho National Park

Then it was off to the Natural Bridge which Jordon was sure was in Kootenay National Park was thrilled to find it Yoho.

The Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National Park

From there we drove to Takakkaw Falls.  Jordon has never been to Yoho and neither had I.  He asked me for directions and my cell phone only worked for a moment.  Jordon glanced at it and said, “okay, let’s go” but I wasn’t sure where to go and got really stressed and anxious.  I need to trust Jordon’s ability to glance at a map and go as for me, I need to really understand it.

Either way we had the most amazing drive I have ever been on with insane switch backs, roads damaged from falling rocks from above, and some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen.  We also ran into another spiral tunnel.  Then we got to the falls.  They are the most amazing thing I have ever seen.  I’ll never forget them.

Takakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National Park

My battery was dead at this point so I will wait to Jordon edits his photos and I’ll link to them.  It was an amazing day and one I’ll never forget.  Jordon’s ability to make a plan A on family trips and then pull out a plan B or Plan C at a moments notice amazes me and makes trips so much fun.  On the way back he said, “Umm, we kind of wrecked next year’s vacation as I had planned to do some of these things then.”  I’m sure we will have lot’s of other ideas.

We headed back to Johnston Canyon Campground for some dinner and snacks and started to pack up for the drive home the next morning.  We got home late Friday night and unpacked the car.  Today is spent cleaning and putting stuff away.  Well that and editing and posting a lot of photos online.

Day 3 in Banff National Park

Wednesday started with a shock.  At 4:45 a.m. Jordon and I were sleeping soundly when we were awaken by something sniffing around.  Marley was sleeping with her head on Jordon’s shoulder (she’s a baby who manipulates us) and she woke up, sniffed, and almost buried herself in Jordon.  We then heard snarling and growling.  It was not an elk.  It was a wolf that was sniffing within inches of us.

That got the adrenaline going.  I saw it walk by the picnic table and then move into the campground.  So seconds after the giant wolf leaves, Jordon goes, “I need to reply to a text that Darren [Hill] sent last night”.  He then sends back a reply.

Later that day, he goes to me, “You know that if that wolf had eaten me, the last four people who I had contact other than you and the boys were all Saskatoon City Council members.  What a way to go.”  Zach Jeffries had invited Jordon and I to the Ward 10 barbecue, Pat Lorje had emailed Jordon, Darren Hill had texted, and Ann Iwanchuk had tweeted about Johnston Canyon.  It was pretty funny.  Well only funny because the wolf didn’t attack anyone.

For those of you who don’t know, the manager at Don’s Photo in Saskatoon is Glen Grambo.  His wife Becky has a book on wolves that is according to others is really good.  Jordon kept saying he needed to pick one up for a couple of months before the trip but never did.  So he is laying there after texting Darren and goes, “I really should have picked up the book and read it before now.”  I was like, “Yeah, I need to read it too.” 

If I had any doubt in what I saw, that would have been laid to rest by Parks Canada staff and other campers who were all talking about the wolf.  EVERYONE saw it.

We had breakfast (this Salmon Scrambled Eggs recipe is amazing) and then rushed up Sulphur Mountain where Jordon dropped Oliver and I off to get tickets for the Banff Gondola.  It wasn’t busy but PCL is working on the Gondola so they had half of the parking lot.  Jordon and Mark parked just past the Rimrock Resort Hotel and walked up with Marley.  Yes, we brought Marley on the Gondola.

Marley made more friends in line for the Gondola.  All of the kids were running up to her for a quick pat and occasionally a lick or a wagging tail to the face.  Of course the big question was how was she going to be on the Gondola?

Jordon had Mark pick her up at the last minute and carry her on.  I am sure Marley wasn’t thrilled with that but she was fine on the way up (where she didn’t look down) and the way down where she seemed fascinated at the journey.

The view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkBanff Springs Hotel from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National Park

Mark, Oliver, and I walked across the boardwalk to Sanson’s Peak.  The wind was cool and we were freezing the entire time.  Mark was near death as he forgot his hoodie.  He went ahead, took some photos and then rushed back to Marley who had made bunch of new friends, this time from Australia and Germany.  There were children to entertain and be pet by.  Of course there were more selfies with strangers.  For a dog that isn’t overly friendly, she looked like she was on a campaign trail according to Mark and Jordon.

After we got back to the car, we drove down Sulphur Mountain and went into Banff and explored Main Street.  Jordon wasn’t feeling good and his blood sugar was low and he walked into Skoki’s Waffle and Frozen Yogurt and ordered a Montreal Smoked Meat Crepe because it was the only thing close that wasn’t a McDonald’s.

Skoki’s Waffle and Frozen Yogurt's Montreal Smoked Meat Crepe

They also had some horseradish mayo for it and the combination was amazing.  Jordon immediately felt better and I ordered one for Oliver and Mark.  I also ordered a variation of it for myself but I had spinach with mine.  It was one of the best things I have ever tasted. 

We did some shopping.  I bought Jordon a historical Canadian Pacific poster at Banff Mountain Art Gallery.  Mark got him some 5×7 prints of posters from About Canada

Vintage Canadian Pacific PostersVintage Canadian Pacific PostersVintage Canadian Pacific PostersVintage Canadian Pacific Posters

We gave Oliver some money and he got a rubber band pistol and Mark bought him a Parks Canada t-shirt.  He was happy.  The guys got me some ear rings while out shopping which was great fun.

Mark wanted a t-shirt and ended up with three, including a great North Face one.  Everyone was happy.

We called it a day and had a nice dinner back at the campground.  We had planned to have dinner in Banff but with Marley and her fans in tow, it was impossible.

On the way back to the campground, Jordon took a different turn and took us up to Mount Norquay to check out some of Banff National Park’s famed red chairs.  On the way up (and down), we met his fella.

Big horned ram on Mount Noquay in Banff National ParkBig horned ram on Mount Noquay in Banff National Park

We got up there and as we were parking, I got news my father had died.  It was expected but it is always a jolt.  While I was processing that, a car stops and yells at Jordon.  The topic?  What kind of dog is Marley?  How old is she?  Is she part pit bull? (no she isn’t as far as we know)  Can we pet her? (sure, everyone else is).  So weird.

The view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkJordon Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkJordon Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkJordon Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkJordon Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkJordon Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkMark and Jordon Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkWendy Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkWendy Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkOliver Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National Park

Later that night, Jordon and I finally made it into Banff and took advantage of the Banff Upper Hot Springs.  It was busy and kinda fun but nothing really worth writing home about.  There was one couple of teens who sat in a corner reading the entire time.  A bear could have jumped into the water and they would not have noticed it unless he got their books wet.

We went home, cleaned the campsite (it was clean already) and then Jordon laid a stick and our hatchet beside the door of the tent.  We never did see the wolf again but if it did come back and was aggressive, we would had a chance.

For Jordon, he wasn’t worried about us, it the dog either taking off petrified or Marley taking a stand and dying.  Either way he wanted a plan.

Day 2 in Banff National Park

Tuesday morning started pretty normal.  We got up early to beat the crowds to Lake Louise parking lots and from there were going to hike up to Lake Agnes Tea House.  We went down to the shore of the lake, fought past the tourists, and took some photos of a very overcast Lake Louise.

Lake Louise in Alberta's Banff National ParkLake Louise in Alberta's Banff National ParkLake Louise in Alberta's Banff National ParkLake Louise in Alberta's Banff National ParkLake Louise in Alberta's Banff National ParkLake Louise in Alberta's Banff National ParkLake Louise in Alberta's Banff National ParkLake Louise in Alberta's Banff National Park

Jordon looked like crap the entire morning.  It was cool and he was running a high fever.  He walked about 100 meters up towards the tea house and said, “I’m out.”  He was covered in sweat and exhausted.  The infection in his leg wipes him out when they take him off his antibiotics.  It wasn’t his fault but he was paying the cost.  So we went back to the shore to take some more photos.  Jordon and Mark took most of them but there was a great moment when Jordon decided to leap onto a rock in the lake.  Marley hates water with a passion.  She always has but for some reason she decided to join him but slipped off and crashed into the glacier cold water below.  She then couldn’t figure out what to do next without getting even wetter.  Meanwhile all of these Asian tourists had gathered around to laugh at her and take photos.  She finally gets out and shimmies to get the water off her which brought up a roar of laughter from all of these tourists.  They then all wanted photos and selfies with Marley who seemed to ham it up.  She was a big hit with the traveling paparazzi. 

From there we went down the mountain to Laggan’s Mountain Bakery & Delicatessen.

Laggan's Mountain Bakery and Delicatessan The food was amazing.  Jordon had a massive slice of pizza, I had a Jamaican Patty.  Mark had a giant samosa and Oliver had a big pizza bagel. 

From there we drove to Banff and tooled around a bit before calling it a night and some dinner at the campground.  After dinner Jordon and I had plans to go to the Upper Banff Hot Springs but a transformer blew heading up Sulphur Mountain so it was closed.  Instead we walked around Banff and did some advance scouting for some gifts for the boys.

Day 1 in Banff National Park

Well I am back from Banff and Yoho National Parks.  Here is the trip in a nutshell.

A couple of weeks ago, Jordon went to his infectious disease specialist who declared him cured.  Like previous times Jordon has been declared cured, he almost died a few days later and had a horrible recovery from the infection spreading throughout his body.  Extremely high fevers, no energy, lots of pain and the infection spreads into his tendons and between his skin and bones. 

We had planned this trip for a year but the week and even the day before we were to leave, Jordon was sweating out, dehydrated, and sick.  He finally said, “I can’t go.”  Now I panicked.  I knew Jordon was sick but to see him say he was too sick to go was overwhelming.  Jordon had Mark and I load the car to go and was too weak to do anything but sleep.  Mark gets upset when Jordon is sick and got mad.  None of us realize how hard it is to see him sick like that.

I let him sleep and he finally felt good enough to get moving but the sweat was pouring off his face and body from the fever.  He got in and drove all the way to Banff.  My anti-depression medication make driving on the highway hard.  He just kept chugging back Gatorade G2s the entire way to keep hydrated. 

We got into our campground as the last of the light was falling.  Mark set up the tents while Jordon rested in the car.   While he was doing that, Jordon turned on the Niteize blinking light we have on Marley’s collar.  She is an all black dog and if she got off the leash, I wanted to be able to see her.  So she was sitting in the campsite and a three year old on his mom come walking by and the boy is freaking out because he has blinking shoes and Marley is a blinking dog.  He loved Marley and came by a couple of times and said, “Can you make your dog blink again?”.    It was so cute. 

We were staying at the Johnston Canyon Campground and had a beautiful spot that looked back on the woods.  We had no idea but we were about 100 metres from the Canadian Pacific main rail line so there were massive freight trains going by all times of the night.  At first I was like, “What is happening?” but the guys thought it was cool.  It did wake you up at night but I didn’t find it bothersome as much as I thought it was cool.  Some of those trains would have up to five engines on them and were over a kilometre long.  One observation, westbound trains would toot their horn going by while eastbound trains did not.  Anyone know why?

On Monday morning  we had planned to hike to the Inkpots at Johnston Canyon.  Jordon was sick with a fever (which he denied) and I was exhausted.  We slept in and didn’t leave until 10:00 a.m.  Johnston Canyon was a gong show.  Traffic was parked for over a kilometre in each way when we went and the idea of navigating that trail with that many people was not that appealing.  I didn’t know what to do but Jordon being Jordon had a backup plan and that was to hike Silverton Falls which is near Castle Mountain.

Here is the early part of the hike.

The trailhead to Silverton Falls in Banff National ParkMark and Marley at Silverton Falls in Banff National ParkA stream down from the Silverton Falls in Banff National ParkA stream down from the Silverton Falls in Banff National Park

It is a short hike but got kind of difficult.  It’s not like Johnston Canyon where you are behind enclosed fences.  It quickly started uphill.

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  We were walking across a mountain ledge that has a rockslide going down it obliverating part of the trail to get to the falls.  No fences, just death if you take a wrong step.  I mentioned that Jordon’s legs weren’t doing so well that day?

Silverton Falls in Banff National ParkSilverton Falls in Banff National ParkSilverton Falls in Banff National ParkSilverton Falls in Banff National Park

We made it and it was a great hike to an amazing waterfall.  There was a total of 10 people on the trail there and back and all of them were wonderful.  The hike is under a kilometre and the first part of the trail to the stream is accessible to people with mobility issues and who had to use a crutch or canes.  It’s a great two part hike.

From there, we went down the Bow Valley Parkway to the Castle Mountain lookout.

A Canadian Pacific train heads west through Banff National Park near the base of Castle MountainA Canadian Pacific train heads west through Banff National Park near the base of Castle MountainThe Bow River near the base of Castle Mountain in Banff National ParkThe imposing and magestic Castle Mountain in Banff National Park

After this, we headed back to the Johnston Canyon campground as Jordon looked horrible and was really limping.  Jordon and Mark had set up hammocks for him and I and we both had a nap.  Curled up in a hammock was amazing on a cool summer day and I needed the nap.

Monday night after dinner Jordon said, “Let’s go” and we walked to the Johnston Canyon waterfall as the sun was setting in the canyon.  The parking lot was empty and we had the first of many weird dog experiences.  We took Marley hiking with us.  She’s not exactly a “people dog” but people kept coming up to pet her and even take her photo.  It happened several times on the trail at Johnston Canyon which foreshadowed the days to come.

R.I.P. Aubrey

While heading up a mountain in Banff, Jordon got a call asking for me.  I had no idea who it was at first which is probably the first clue I am not close to my family but it was my sister-in-law who was telling me my father was close to death.  At first I thought it was someone who was calling from work.  Despite not wanting updates on his condition and making that really clear, someone always had to give them to me.  A few hours later a nephew called to tell me he had died.

For those of you who care, here is his obituary.

Part of the obituary is just made up.  My father openly hated Jordon, despised me, and rejected a relationship with Mark.  He never met or saw Oliver.  He never cared enough to do anything about it.  I asked before and after it was created not to be mentioned in it, I keep being told “it’s a fact, you are his daughter”.  Yes I do share DNA with him.  He is my biological father.  I was his daughter he liked to tell how much he despised and assured me that he wished I hadn’t been born.

I don’t know what happened to my relationship with my dad.  I used to be daddy’s little girl.  We used to be close.  We took road trips together.  We talked for hours.  He called all of the time from home and work.  Then it got weird.

When I went home after being engaged, he immediately called an ex-boyfriend who had threatened to kill me and had at one point told me he had me lined up in rifle sights because if he couldn’t have me, no one could.  He sat in the middle of the room and made a big deal about calling up this guy and made it really clear to Jordon and I that it was him that he approved of.  Jordon didn’t care but I did.  Then it got back to me that during Jordon’s and my wedding he bad mouthed Jordon horribly during it.  At the time I was really hurt by it by it only got worse.

I had been married to Jordon for a year and was losing my mind.  We were vacationing in Waskesiu when I told him that I had been molested and sexually assaulted growing up.  I decided to tell my mom and dad.  I had hoped it would help me move forward and us grow together as a family.  I was completely wrong.  It drove us apart.

While my mother was telling me that I had probably made up the memories, my father asked the person who molested me if it was true.  A year after that, he told me the person confessed but he said it was consensual and mutual (which is what all molesters say) and my dad believed him and he threw that back in my face every time he was upset.  Later on he would tell me that I wasn’t a member of the family anymore now that I was married to Jordon.  He lied about Jordon and I to others in Brandon.  He never understood that things got back and would get angry at me when they did.  In the end he seemed determined to do everything he could to destroy my relationship with him.  Finally he said that he didn’t want anything to do with me because he wanted to be around the person that molested me.  It was so shocking when he said that and I remember Jordon saying, “You are destroying your relationship with Wendy!”  He said coldly, “Well I don’t care”.

I tried to reason with him but it turned into a weird power struggle.  He would lie to me constantly and then get enraged when I would call him on it.  After he would fly into a rage, we could never talk about it because it was in the past, even if it happened earlier that week.  Everything upsetting was off the table so nothing could ever be talked through or dealt with.  It was more about my parents keeping control than anything.

He never had the capability or strength to make it better.  At the same time, he would never seek help for his temper or his own demons and took pride in that.  He would rail years ago, “I’d rather never see you again than talk to a therapist!”  It became a self fulfilling prophesy.  He went from being a person of integrity and turned into someone that liked to lie and be dishonest to me.  I think he got off on it.

When Mark was small, he came out and wanted to see me.  He had been horrible to me recently and neither Jordon nor I wanted to see him but he kept emailing and calling and finally I said yes.  I had talked it over with Jordon and said how much I wanted my parents back in my life and to be grandparents to the boys.  I kept telling myself things could change and I had hoped we could work things out since he was coming to visit.  That night I begged him to be a part of my life that night but he came out and was clear he wanted nothing to do with Jordon, Mark, or myself.  He was very clear that he didn’t want a relationship with Mark because he had two other grandkids and didn’t want one with Mark.  If he had tried to be more hurtful, he could not have been.  I guess it is why it makes me sick to see my name mentioned in that obituary.  He was so clear how much he hated me and even Mark.

Aubrey went back home and said that he had a great visit with me to my mother.  She was thrilled because she thought we had this breakthrough.  He didn’t tell her that he had destroyed our relationship. I wrote a bit about it and then he emailed and threaten to sue me for talking about.   I tried to talk him but he wouldn’t take my calls and hid behind my mom.   He ignored all of my emails.  He just stopped talking to me.  Almost a full decade later he told me that he had too much coffee to drink and his stomach hurt like that was a rational explanation for saying what he did and then going away for a decade.  When I called him on it, he said it was because he didn’t like our living room layout.   I tried for years to find out what he was thinking but my mom was his great enabler, and since it was in the past, it could never be discussed.

He became meaner over time.  His outbursts were crueler.  He crossed over the line to abusive and seemed to enjoy being so.  My mother once said that she thought he cared for me deep down but there was no evidence.  My therapist pointed out he was just being abusive now.

We just never saw each other.  He would never write back, never initiate anything, never bothered to care.  After treating me like crap for years, him and my mom tried to connect with Mark after 14 years of no contact and did it in the worst possible way.  After never talking to him all of the time let’s Mark know what he has always loved him and seen him part of the family, despite what he did years before.  He also took a shot at Jordon and I and Mark replied back by saying, “If you want a relationship with me, be nice to my mom.”  From that, my father and mother would go on about how Mark rejected them like it was my fault he defended me.

I don’t know what happened and never will.  Family members have given me their opinions.  He would tell me he had some secret to tell me in time, in other words if I did what he wanted.  The secret went with him to the grave.   I have my theories but in the end, something snapped in him the day I told him I was molested and he desperately needed therapy in order to process his feelings.  A few years ago I posted about how Guyana has one of the worst attitudes to sexual violence.  As a culture, they saw it as the women’s fault.  His constant tossing back that my molestation and sexual assault was consensual makes sense in that light.  He saw everything, including his lying as my fault.  In the end, I had to fix things to become part of the family again.  The only way to do that was for me to pretend that nothing had happened.

When he was diagnosed with cancer, he texted me.  He wanted to see me one last time.  Nothing about the boys at all.  I emailed and asked if we could try to fix things, he blamed everything including being first molested and then sexually assaulted on me.  He made it clear that he didn’t even think the people who had done it in the wrong.  I was a slut and whore to him and I deserved it.  What a way to end things off.

He met Mark once.  Never met Oliver.  Hated Jordon.  Despised me.  That was his legacy as a father and grandfather to me.  Other will have their own positive experiences, those are mine.  He may have had his last breath this week but my dad died years ago.  At least now he can find some peace.

For those of you who have great parents, appreciate them, I once thought I had one.  I was wrong.

The Camping Meal Plan

Some of you have asked what we are eating next week while in Banff.  Here is the meal plan but like all plans, it is subject to change.

 

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Snack

Sunday

Grabbing some muffins and cheese bread for the road.  No fast food this time.  Stopping on McDonald’s on 22nd has meant hours of suffering in the past.

Peter’s Drive-In when we get to Calgary.  Best milkshakes in western Canada. Hot dogs over the fire once we get to our campground.  Easy meal to prepare and everyone enjoys it.  Hopefully it isn’t raining. Hot Chocolate and home made cookies.
Monday Pancakes Kraft Dinner with hot dogs. Pasta and farmer sausage Bannock
Tuesday Scrambled Eggs and Salmon Bagged lunch while on the trail. Campfire Quesadillas S’mores
Wednesday Oatmeal and fresh biscuits Eating in Banff for lunch Hamburgers (but we may still be in Banff) Bannock on a stick cooked over the fire
Thursday Spicy Scrambled Eggs Bagged lunch while on the trail. Tacos in a Bag Banana Smores
Friday Campfire Breakfast Burgers Bagged lunch while on the trail. Hamburgers Nacho Dip and Chips
Saturday Bacon and Eggs Wraps using broccoli, rice, and cheese. Foil-Pack Cheese Fries Jordon is saying but I have a feeling it could be ice cream or pizza in Banff.
Sunday Lumberjack Breakfast in Foil Wrap Heading back to Saskatoon. I may be asleep by then. I’ll definitely be sleeping. 

I have a Coleman stove but a lot of this will be cooked over the fire.  We are heading back into Banff on Wednesday so i will top up on food then.  There is also a confectionary down the road at the Castle Mountain Resort which we will be driving by several times a  week.

We have a good cooler which we will be full of ice as well as smaller cooler for ice.  We have a pump we can attach to a 5 gallon water jug.  The plan is to pick one of those up in Banff so we don’t have to haul out the water container.  I am bringing a couple of pots, a frying pan and that is really it.  We also have two collapsible pots that I picked up from Dollarama that are amazing for grabbing water for dishes.

Campfire Crescent Dog Recipe

Campfire Crescent Dog Recipe

Oliver loves “Pigs in a Blanket” which he means he loves making these even more.

Ingredients

  • 1 tube Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 8 hot dogs, Italian sausage or really anything that is long, round and tastes good wrapped in a Pillsbury crescent roll.
  • Ketchup and mustard, as desired

Directions

  1. On a flat surface, open the tube of crescent rolls and unroll dough. Separate into triangles along perforations.
  2. Place the hot dog on the edge of the crescent roll and begin rolling so the majority of hot dog is covered by the crescent dough. Make sure the crescent dough overlaps at the end, otherwise it will fall apart.
  3. Skewer your crescent dog on a stick and roast it over the fire until golden brown.
  4. Serve immediately with ketchup and mustard as desired.

Salmon Scrambled Eggs Recipe

The salmon, onions, and spices dress up an easy to make breakfast while camping.

Salmon Scrambled Eggs RecipeIngredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Dash salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 (7 1/4-oz.) can red salmon, drained, bones and skin removed, flaked
  • 1 oz. (1/4 cup) shredded Jarlsberg or Swiss cheese

Directions

  • Beat eggs in medium bowl. Add milk, dill, pepper and salt; beat well.
  • Melt butter in medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add egg mixture; gently stir in salmon. Cook until eggs are set but still moist, stirring constantly.
  • Sprinkle cheese over eggs. Cover; cook 1 minute or until cheese is melted.

You Know You Should Use Sunscreen. But Are You Using It Right?

From the New York Times

You Know You Should Use Sunscreen. But Are You Using It Right?

The Basics

Hopefully, you’ve heard these before, but let’s reapply.

Depending on your body size, experts recommend using enough lotion to fill a shot glass, or an ounce, when you’re at the beach. Even if people are smart enough to apply sunscreen, they may not use enough, said Dr. Jerry Brewer, a dermatologic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Even if the bottle says the lotion is waterproof, beachgoers should reapply after swimming.

If you’re not swimming, you should reapply every two hours, regardless of the SPF count.

You should put sunscreen on 15 minutes before exposure.

Look for products that are labeled “broad spectrum protection” with an SPF of 15 to 50.

Spots You’re Likely to Forget

Dr. Elizabeth Hale, a senior vice president for the Skin Cancer Foundation and a dermatologist in New York City, said that both men and women are likely to miss the tops of their ears and the tops of the feet. (Full disclosure: The nonprofit Skin Cancer Foundation receives some funding from sunscreen manufacturers.)

Men are particularly likely to miss their scalps and the backs of their necks, while women are more likely to miss their chest and neck areas, she said.

Dr. Brewer said beachgoers often miss the bottoms of their feet, which can be exposed if they’re lying on their stomachs reading or napping.

The Reward

Dr. Hale said that when she tries to persuade patients to take sunscreen more seriously, she sometimes targets their vanity more than their health. She tells them that using sunscreen every day — not just when they’re at the beach or the park — can help prevent the brown spots and wrinklesthat often lead people to seek out dermatologists, and that sun exposure is a primary driver of the skin’s aging process.

“I truly believe sunscreen is the No. 1 anti-aging ingredient,” she said.

Research in 2013 revealed that people who used sunscreen every day had markedly smoother and more resilient skin. The study was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, and no sunscreen makers contributed.