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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

North America’s Finest Cowboys at the Calgary Stampede – Northwestern Odyssey

North America's Finest Cowboys at the Calgary Stampede - Northwestern Odyssey

Dear Families,

After a wonderful break away from the modern world and 5 great days of camping, we arrived to the Western town of Calgary and our home for 2 days the University of Calgary. What a week we’ve just had!

Starting off with a day on the water in Penticton, British Columbia, we all tried our hand at one water sport or another; Alexa P and Mike M set the bar high by getting up on one slalom ski for the first time ever.  Zac Po., Harrison, Danny and Ty challenged themselves with the new sport of Wake Surfing – once you build up some speed, you drop your line and literally surf the wake made by the boat. Tucker and Sid showed us how it’s done by getting up on the Wakeboard on their first try too!  Drew G, Adam P, Eric M, Jared and Zac Pe. had a rockin’ ride around Lake Okanogan on the Banana Boat with lots of slips and spills into the warm, refreshing water.  It was an amazing day for all.

That night we hit the local Bowl-a-rama where Adam C. taught us all a thing or two about bowling by rolling 3 strikes in a row (a Turkey!) and then 2 spares to follow that up. Erica and Ali got a cross-cultural lesson by playing the thoroughly Canadian game of 5 pin bowling. We had a great night at our Cosmic Bowling party.

The next three days were spent in one of the most beautiful places in Canada, Banff National Park in Banff, Alberta. As we checked into our camp site, we enjoyed a clear sky, a late setting sun (it’s light until 10:30!) on the mountains that surrounded us there and some delicious, homemade Fajitas. For our first full day we started off at one of the greatest sites in Canada, Lake Louise. In groups of 3 we enjoyed a peaceful paddle in our canoes on the turquoise glacier water of the aforementioned lake. Spencer, Danny and Zach demonstrated a certain, previously unknown, mastery of canoeing by being able to go both away from, and back to, the dock. The skies cleared a little more, the sun shone a little brighter and with our bellies full, we began our ascent to the Tea House at Lake Agnes. While Harrison, SJ and Zack L. preferred the view from the front of the group, (those trail blazers set a steady pace to challenge the group to be their best) Lea and Andrew P. enjoyed a much more steady pace from the comfort of the back of the group. In the end, we all, eventually, made it up.

After an adventurous day like that we switched to a more sightseeing activity, and boy did we get one with our visit to the Athabasca Glacier in the Columbia Ice Field. Riding upon our very own $1.5 million Sno-Coach we conquered the slopes, the ice and the water to get to the great viewing location so that we could taste the freshest of fresh glacier water. Our slow and steady return to our campsite brought along the excitement of seeing a black bear on the side of the road. From the safety of our own Coach, we got a few nice photos of nature up close.

And as this is written we are tonight, in the dorms at the University of Calgary. We were met with the renowned Midwestern hospitality when the father of John, offered to host us for lunch at the Calgary Stampede in the Avison Young Club restaurant at the Saddledome – thanks, it was delish!!  Our day continued with our very first Rodeo. We saw ropin’ and wrasslin’, we saw hootin’ and hollerin’ and we saw some of the North America’s finest Cowboys ply their trade. Although it wasn’t for everyone, Zack A. surely enjoyed the fairground rides as we explored the foods, and fun, available at this annual Western celebration.

We’re heading back to the USA and into Glacier National Park for the tail end of the trip. Looking forward to sharing more stories but we know that just means the trip is coming to an end.

The Northwestern Odyssey team

The Westcoast Blogger