Super heat wave in Alberta, so what outdoor adventure makes the most sense? Taking the canoe out, of course! We had been by Vermillion Lakes once before and realized the only way to really experience its beauty is being on the water.
We plan to leave at 10am. I run an errand that has me home around 9:15am and Terry informs me he can't find the essential strap for ensuring the car holds the canoe securely. We split up and continue searching. Still no dice. I let my fingers do the walking and go online to see if a store nearby has it. The closest Canadian Tire does not but a different one across town has five in stock. We decide it's also time to get the kids life vests that fit (last year they were under 90lb, if only barely) so I grab Alex for trying them on if there are different sizes and we set off. To make a painful story shorter, there were zero of this strap in stock. How? I dunno. It's still tender when I think about it. With Alex in the car I wasn't doing anything other than heading home and regrouping.
We decide on the next best thing - find a beach! Many of the lakes and rivers around here are glacial or otherwise deadly to try to swim in so we find one that's 1.5 hours away, and should be tolerable to immerse in. We re-pack for swimming rather than canoeing, and off we go!
Ninety minutes later it's the worst, most crowded beach "strip" area and zero parking within the ZIP code. We can see the beach and it is wall-to-wall people there too. It's also past lunch. Grumpiness all around. We drive past all that, find a place to pull over and figure out our options. There's a Provincial Park up the road with a campground! At the very least we can expect a day use area with picnic tables. Off we go!
After lunch we're all feeling a bit better. Checking the map, there is definitely water nearby - the only question is whether there is a way down to it. After a couple of fits and starts, heading the wrong direction and righting ourselves, we find the water! There's no beach, the hill basically ends a couple of feet before the water begins, but there's a bit of dry space for our stuff and a few other groups of people along this "shoreline" to proclaim that this is a legitimate access point.
Unfortunate for our late start, we could only stay a couple of hours. The water was pretty chilly despite being probably the warmest beach around - Zoltan kept getting blue lips and we had to make him get out and warm up. But we splashed around, swam a bit, and looked for rocks in every color of the rainbow. And although she'll deny ever saying this, even Alex had fun.