I loved watching Summer's expression as the Rocky Mountains began to appear: the awe and joy and amazement. I feel the same way each time I return to the mountains, no matter how many times I've seen them. The mountains feel like home to me and I love to return to them.
We stayed at the Marmot Lodge for two nights, along with grandma and grandpa, for Jasper's annual Dark Sky Festival this weekend. After settling into our hotel room, we enjoyed dinner with grandma and grandpa at L&W, followed by a swim in the hotel pool and then a trip up the mountain to Lake Annette for the evening festivities.
It was a spectacular evening. The event was well organized with lots of helpers between areas and long strings of glowing lights to follow to the different areas: an aboriginal area with a teepee, stories and drumming around a fire and local made tea to enjoy, lights leading to a dark sky photography info session, lights heading to exhibits and more lights heading to a plethora of telescopes pointed into the clear night sky.
Just looking up is breathtaking! So many stars! And then of course the Milky Way stretched across the sky in pure opulence adds such splendor to the scene. The highlight of the night for me was seeing the Dumbbell nebulae.
The next day we woke and after fitting in four showers, we enjoyed the hotel breakfast buffet and headed to Centennial Field for a day filled with activities.
We enjoyed creating pop bottle rockets and launching them with water and air, speaker presentations, hide drawings, a planetarium night sky dome show, and viewing of sun spots in a telescope set up as the heavy cloud cover began to clear.
We headed back to the hotel by 3 PM and the kids enjoyed a long swim in the pool while Cai had his afternoon nap in the room.
For dinner we went with mom and Doug to Evil Dave's for an unforgettable dining experience. We shared the family sampler which included several main dishes with a couple of appetizers, along with baked Brie to start. Each dish was exquisite. I can honestly say it was among the top best meals of my life.
That night the snow came. It looked like a mild blizzard. All the kids wanted to do was swim some more (and Cai wanted to make up for missing the afternoon swim), so knowing conditions weren't ideal for dark sky viewing, we returned home to spend the evening in the pool. Summer was particularly ecstatic because she learned how to swim! My daughter who always refused to put her head under water, was now diving under and floating and performing various strokes. Her transformation was amazing and exciting! Aidan, who had more swimming skills already, also improved and further developed his skills. It was a fun night.
We slept in until 9 AM in the morning and spent our time packing up to go. Leaving Jasper, I marveled at the beauty of the new winter landscape around us. I was glad to be leaving it behind (as well as enjoy it from a warm vehicle with heated seats. We aren't acclimatized for winter yet).
We were glad we had a beautiful day and night to enjoy ourselves and the festivities. It was a great trip and a fabulous festival.
On our way home we dropped by my dad's acreage to jump on snow cleared trampolines.
Approaching Edmonton, snow turned to rain. Although it caught up with us later in the evening anyway!