Sunday, July 11, 2021


When all our beautiful B.C. dreams fell through because the border was not in fact open the way we thought, we cast about for something else to do over the long weekend.  Still having never visited the province's capitol, we decide to use some of the Marriott points burning a hole in our pocket and head up for a weekend.

The kids begged for a trip to Canada's largest shopping mall, the West Edmonton Mall - home of stores, of course, but also an indoor amusement park, an aquarium, and a water park. Having visited an amusement park the previous day, we settled on the water park. And it was a delight! We took no photos so this will have to do.  By the time we ended our day and checked into the hotel we were beat.

Next day was what Terry and I had wanted to see in Edmonton - Elk Island National Park.  To try to draw the kids in, we downloaded the geocaching app and found a couple of caches ... but the kids were not into it. Oh well. We also had planned to go in the water at the beach, but it was super silty/dirty and cold so that was also a bit of a bust.

On the wildlife side, though, it was a spectacular home run win.

First up: bison.  The bison are a main attraction at the park, with a particular roadway known as the Bison Loop. From the parking lot within the Loop we could walk over to where there was a herd (about 50+ bison) of all mamas and babies. We kept a generously wide berth though, so didn't see much detail about what they were doing. And the babies were just little dark blobs.  As we continued on the loop, just after we had gotten into the car, we also saw a bull (male bison) who was just off the roadway. We watch him run a distance and who knew they run so awkwardly!  It was like a mix between a hop and a gallop.

We then found a picnic table where the kids could hang out and read while Terry and I took a little stroll to a lake ... that didn't actually have any water.  We went on a different path where the butterflies were continually taunting us with being really pretty but never stopping long enough to focus the camera lens. I guess they eventually got tired of that because a few did stop and let us take the pictures.

Last stop in the park (which by the way is not an island) was the beach. It reminded me a lot of the beach club near our cabin and was only slightly larger. Zoltan went in for about 5 minutes, Terry and I stood ankle deep for longer, chatting and feeling the sand and pebbles under our feet.  Then we decided to go for a wander, taking a few different trails and again leaving the kids behind to their own devices (but not electronic devices).

We watched ducks and their babies paddle about. Terry even caught a photo of a duck feeding its baby a delicious leech (ick!) We heeded one of the park signs to sit on a bench and listen to the wind and the lap of the waves.  We noted the number of fallen trees with telltale beaver gnawing signs and the number of lodges, from cozy to swanky.  We read a sign about beavers being most active at dusk and dawn and just as I finish saying "Well we're obviously not going to see anything at 2pm" we watch a young beaver swim by right in front of us!  We watched it go around a corner and it disappeared.  We continued our walk, and on the way back swung by the same spot where now the little guy was swimming in a different direction, going around a different corner, but clearly pushing a little stick. (obviously, it could have been two different beavers. But it was a pretty small one so it could have been practicing for when it's big enough to help build the lodge).

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