Outstanding summer programs for teens since 1982
Header Item 1

The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Greetings from Montana! – Northwestern Odyssey

Greetings from Montana! - Northwestern Odyssey 2

Greetings from the Northwestern Odyssey, reporting live stateside, in Montana!

In our last correspondence we left off at the Calgary Stampede, where we were enjoying the rodeo and midway.  In the time since, our trip has continued on in Banff.  We said our tearful goodbyes to the 17 day trip members while staying in Calgary, and have journeyed on down south of the border, once again, this time into the astonishing state of Montana.

Following our visit to the famous stampede, we ventured back to Banff to continue our camping marathon of five consecutive nights. We spent the subsequent day at the Athabasca Glacier, which is the most revered part of the Columbia Icefields, in central Alberta.  The Glacier, which has receded over 60% of its original mass, played host to a very unique adventure in a special-made “Brewster” bus that resembled a tank on 5-foot-tall tractor wheels.  At the end of our drive up the glacier, Chloe got to take her family-tradition photo, dipping her water bottle into the runoff of the thousand year old ice pack.  The guys, in a perfect example of fun-loving spirit, stripped off their shirts for one of the more legendary photo opportunities.

The next morning, we packed up our campsite on Tunnel Mountain and travelled back up north for a remarkable day at Lake Louise.  In the morning, we had the once in a lifetime opportunity to canoe on the turquoise lake that John Barrymore used as the backdrop to several of his masterpiece movies, where, while canoeing, Matt, Toby, and Joel L; demonstrated their paddling prowess.  Following our lunch on the scenic shores, the trip ventured up the mountain neighbouring the lake up to the Lake Agnes Tea House, where Dylan was engaging everyone in intellectual debates and leading brain-using, vocabulary-expanding games the entire trip up and back!  We stopped at the aquamarine-colored, dog head shaped lake, Peyto Lake, on our expedition from Lake Louise to Calgary, where we spent the following two nights at a dormitory at the University of Calgary.  That night, our final night together, we spent an incredible couple of hours playing laser tag, where Carter and Ean won their respective games, dominating the competition, while they could often times be heard yelling “pyew, pyew, pyew,” while shooting their lasers.

The next morning, we had to say our sad farewells  to  Adam, Aaron S, Dylan, Ean, Jake, Joel K, Joshua, Macie, Noah S, Ryan A, Ryan C, Robert, Stefan, and Stephen.  While those unforgettable trip members were departing for the airport, the 25 day trip members and staff  trekked over to the Canadian Olympic Park, in Calgary, where we got to bobsleigh on the 1988 Olympic Track.  Whitney, Rachel and Jenna E (Trip Director) posted the fastest time on the track for the day, averaging 92 km/h.  Following the runs down the track, we caught a shuttle up the slopes to the top of the hill, where we checked out the Olympic museum in the Ski Jump structures, before heading to the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.  That afternoon, in order to raise spirits, we went to the Calgary Recreation Centre, to enjoy the wave pool and various water slides, saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms.  Sami K and Jenna L were surfing the waves in the pool, while Noah M and Zach slid the slides 30+ times!  That evening, we went to do our final loads of laundry for the trip, where we met a very special man, Joshua Lee, the owner of the Laundromat, whose inspirational proverbs and misspelled signs gave each and every one of us a much needed chuckle.

The following day we headed south, through Lethbridge, Alberta, to the Can-Am border, where we crossed into Montana and ventured into Glacier National Park, which, as it is partnered with Canada’s Waterford National Park, is considered to be one half of the “Peace Parks.”  While in Lethbridge, we stopped for lunch at Park Place, where afterwards we were lucky to be the first customers at a brand new operation, Crumbfusion, an ice cream-like shop that instead of selling scoops of ice cream distribute scoops of cake with dollops of icing and toppings per request!  Jonah was the very first customer of the vendors, which he was honored with an autographed members’ card that gives him free Crumbfusion for life, should he choose to return to the remote town in Alberta.  We later reconnected with Jesse, our first campsite manager, who helped us kick off our re-entrance into the US with an Italian smorgasbord.  That night, a friendly trip competition commenced with the teams being Taco Time (blue team), Tim Hortons (red team), Subway (green team), and Red Robin (red team).  Captained by four of the five staff and judged by Jenna E and Jesse,the games went on for the next 24 hours, with individual and team activities and competitions such as cheering, orange passing, egg toss, rock picking, musical chairs, with the big event being the Apache, a huge, hour long medley relay race.  At the end of the day, Red Robin proved themselves as the victors, triumphing in events throughout the day, asserting their excellence.  While in Glacier National Park, we journeyed deep into the park, where we caught a boat ride on the Little Chief, one of the original boats used in the park, made in the 1920s, on St. Mary’s Lake.  We got off our boat ride 40 minutes later and commenced a beautiful two hour hike that took us to the St. Mary Waterfalls, where Sami S helped blaze the trail through the forest before catching the boat back along the 10 mile-long glacier-fed lake.  For dinner, Tyler helped me barbecue 55 steaks and chicken breasts before grilling a massive salmon for our final camping feast!

On our way to Bozeman, MT, we made a lunch stop in Helena for lunch, after which we commenced a friendly competition of Battle of the Sexes.  With questions ranging in topics from makeup to sports, the feud was a tough match for both sides.  With much needed help from the all-stars, Tyler and Seth, the gentlemen were victorious and succeeded in defeating the tricky women!

Over the next few days, our trip will be journeying on through Montana to Bozeman, where we will stay at the Montana State dorms, travel to Jackson, Wyoming, where we will visit Yellowstone, before concluding our trip in Park City, Utah!

Although the trip has been extremely speedy, every minute has been beyond incredible! We look forward to the upcoming days and will make sure you hear all about our adventures in the next blog post!

The Westcoast Blogger