Wednesday, December 18, 2013

More Family Arrives!

Yes, the excitement just wasn't ending anytime soon! A long anticipated visit from my dear aunt and uncle from Ontario was finally happening!

They were on the trip of a lifetime themselves!  For her 50th birthday, my aunt had been given money towards a cruise to Alaska.  She saved that money, and kept adding to the fund for several  years until she had the funds ready to take the trip of a lifetime!  As part of their trip, they had made plans to come and see us here in Idaho! How special!  We were more than thrilled that they had planned a visit to us in their itinerary!  They weren't able to stay long, just a weekend, because their next stop was to visit the Grand Canyon, but we were so thrilled to have them make the effort to stop and see us!!!


They were one exhausted couple when I picked them up at the train station at 2 in the early morning!!!  They had gotten on the train in Seattle, after the train had been delayed, and then there were many delays along the way, and so they had been up almost 24 hours.  Not to mention that the seats on the train aren't that comfortable, and really no way to sleep.  

It was so wonderful to see them step off the train, it was only them, and one other man who got off, and the train was barely stopped longer than a minute!


By the time we got back to our home, it was about 4:00 in the morning.  Since it was not quite daylight yet, we all went straight to bed, and slept in.

When they awake, and we had a light breakfast/brunch, they were up for a sightseeing tour!  There was no slowing them down, even after being up half the night!


So, we all piled in our van, our family, my mother, and my aunt and uncle, and amazingly...  we all fit comfortably!  Our destination was Priest Lake.  We didn't have a lot of time, and they wanted to see the "best" of what Idaho has to offer... and everyone knows that Priest Lake is the highlight of any trip to this area.


We arrived in the Priest Lake area, and drove down to one of the resorts on the lake, and found out we were just in time for a wedding!


Except that they hadn't invited us.... and had even closed off most of the resort to any other guests because of the wedding party.  We waited around for a bit to see if the bride would make an appearance for us, but she never did.


So we continued our exploration of the Priest Lake area ... it was another beautiful day, certainly a perfect day to have a wedding!  This is a view from the Elkins Resort looking out towards  Priest Lake.

 

We found a place to park at the Ledgewood Picnic area and walked down to the beach.  There were a few people swimming, but not nearly as many as when we had come earlier in the summer.   The lovely view of the mountains, clouds and water was majestic... as usual!




The afternoon was passing by quickly, and we still had quite a bit of territory to cover before it got dark. We made our way next into grizzly bear territory...




.... although we have never yet seen one... but that is probably a very good thing!  If I ever see one, I hope it is within the safety of our vehicle!


Here is one of the streams or creeks that flows down to Priest Lake.


Then we continued on our journey down the dusty gravel road to Huff Lake.


I love the serenity of Huff Lake!  This is the lake where we got to observe a momma moose for about 30 minutes or more come out and have her evening meal at the lake's edge, a stone's throw away from where we were standing on the dock.  It was an incredible experience.


We have come back many times since hoping to see her again, but to no avail...


The beauty and stillness of this lake are incredible all by themselves though!



Our goal was to show our Canadian family the huge cedars north of Priest Lake.  But, sadly when we drove out there, the whole area was shut down due to a terrible storm that had passed through a couple of weeks before, and a huge cedar had toppled over, killing a man camping there in a tent.  We could see the effects of the storm damage as we drove through the area, with huge trees uprooted everywhere.  We were disappointed that we were not able to get into the campground to see the huge trees, but we knew it was for the best.  Apparently the Park Service was still inspecting trees for damage.


As we turned around from our day of exploring, off in the distance, there appeared to be "something" far off in the distance in the field.  I took several shots of "it", but never was able to get a close enough zoom to see if it was a moose, bear, or elk.  We were hoping to show our tourists some of the wild animals that we have been able to see on our many trips out here, but it was not to be.

What I've kind of noticed about these animal encounters, is that they always come when you are a) not prepared; b) have no battery power left in your camera, c) its too dark; d) or they are moving too fast for you to get more than a glimpse of them anyway!


So we contented ourselves with the gorgeous sunset as we drove home.  The sun was busy sending her fiery flames over the blue tipped mountains, and the tops of the pine trees seemed to wave and dance as we drove by them.


No matter how many times we've taken this drive, it seems that it is still as enchanting as ever each time we go.

Our travelers rested up over the weekend, and on Monday we went to some shops around town, and relaxed some more, and just enjoyed visiting and sharing one another's good company.  Tuesday was a busy day, as my aunt and uncle flew out early, and my mom's flight left a little later.

So we dropped my aunt and uncle off at the airport, and then Mom and I spent a couple of hours together in downtown Spokane before her flight left.


It was a beautiful morning, and the air had just a nip of fall in it, crisp and clear!


We walked through downtown Spokane through the River Park area.  It was a beautiful morning to be out walking and enjoying our last bit of time together!



The Spokane Falls had calmed down a lot since we had been here earlier in the summer after the winter ice melt, but they were still very impressive!


As we strolled through the park, the ducks tried to keep up with our pace, they are beautiful to watch, so graceful in the water!



We didn't walk through the entire park, because of the construction that was going on, and they had a huge area of the park blocked off, but we really had just enough time to see the falls, and to walk through part of the park before trying to find a coffee shop and eat some breakfast.



We found a lovely quaint coffee shop close to the mall.  It was a bookstore/coffee shop, and vintage store all in one.  We shared a croissant and each ordered a coffee... I was quite impressed with the shape of the cream in the coffee... a heart shape!  Wow!  What a unique touch!



All too soon, it was time to take Mom back to the airport and wave good-bye to her too!  It was sad to see all my company leave at once!  Yet, we had made so many wonderful memories while they were here, and I think they all enjoyed their "Taste of Idaho" and I certainly hope they will come back to visit us soon.... and stay longer!!!

Even though the bulk of my company had departed... I still had something to look forward to... and I'll share that with you in my next post...  :)

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