07 September 2017

The Final Countdown

This is it, guys! The last National Park on our list! Elk Island National Park! This is also the smallest (geographically) and, now that we've moved, the closest. So we decided to make a day trip out of it. Weather didn't really want to agree, but we persevered. What's a little clouds and rain, after all?

Elk Island, contrary to its name, is known for bison. It is the only fully-fenced National Park in Canada, to keep the bison in and protected. There are two genetically distinct populations of bison in the park: plains bison north of the highway, and wood bison south.
Our first stop was at the visitor's centre to pick up a map and take a quick bison-hat picture.

Then it was to drive the bison loop, hoping to see some.
And we did!
These are plains bison. And they were so close to us! We had Calista stand right next to the sliding door of the van while I perched inside it to take the picture. The bison pretty much ignored us, which was fine by us! On our way out of the park, we decided to drive the loop again to see if we could find any bison, but they had moved along. I was so excited, though! I really, really wanted to see bison, and we did! Already, this day was a success in my book.

Next we headed to a large lake (Astotin Lake) for some exploring, interpreting, hiking, lunching, and playing in the sand.
There was a pretty fun playground to play at, and the Theater had some interesting things to look at and touch.
We went on a (very short) boardwalk hike through the marshes and around the lake a tiny bit.
Lunch was food that would've been better on a warmer day, and we discovered that if we do this again, they have firepits and wood throughout the day use area so we could make nearly anything. Easy was good, though, because it gave us more time to play in the sand!
It was fantastic consistency and we built and destroyed several rudimentary castles.

Then we went on a hike. Calista kept whining that her tummy hurt, Caleb was asleep, and it started to rain, but we did it anyway.
It actually reminded me a lot of Oregon and was really nice. And we're not afraid of a little rain! Craig spent the first half running ahead, waiting for us to catch up, and running ahead again.
The second half I basically dragged him... if I stopped holding his hand, he stopped moving. But we all made it, wet and mosquito-bitten, and had a good time.

And I will definitely be going back to Elk Island again, even now that our goal is complete!

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