Saturday, August 22, 2009

Trip up North

One week ago we were up North in the land of Canadians...It was my Mom's family reunion and it had been nine years since I had been up there. That may not bee strange for most of you considering that Rick had never been across the boarder, but to me, it was a visit long overdue. Growing up my family would make the yearly trek to Canada for our Oertli reunion. We would often travel through Glacier National park and camp along the way.
It was strange needing passports to cross the boarder considering that when I was last there all we needed to do was state our business, a few questions and we were on our way. That was in the pre 9/11 days.
We would typically stay at my Aunt Rosemarie and Uncle Heber's house. It was this huge beautiful log cabin house that my uncle built himself. The house was close to the old man river and we would spend plenty of time jumping from the train bridge or riding the zip-line from the bridge down into the river.
We would also frequently go hiking and packing with the horses into the mountains. Rarely did we leave Canada without a fun-filled summer experience. This was largely in part to the hospitality of my Aunt and uncle and other fun spirited family.
I should also note that we typically did the journey in our trusty old Travelall car (the pre-suburban) parents would put int he coolers sleeping gear and clothes and then we would all pile in on top of the mattress they would place over the top. I'm talking serious car cramming. We also often had a flat tire or car trouble of some sort...but that is a whole other story.
My aunt Rosemarie passed away while we were living in Ohio and since then my other aunt Sylvia had passed away too. The log house has long been sold and much of the things I loved about our trips are no longer accessible to us now.
It was strange driving those roads filled with wonderful, beautiful memories and when we arrived, partiality due to poor weather and the time/life that has taken place since then, it was a whole different experience.
The last time I was there was the spring before I got married, my Grandma had passed away and it was a trip for a funeral and not the usual vacation variety. That Fall I was married and in the past nine years a whole lot has happened. Not just for me, but for everyone.
I felt like I was going home. I loved seeing the people and catching up. I loved seeing their kids that I have never met and just sitting back a watching how life moves on.
On many levels it was sad too. I miss my Aunts, I miss the continuity that existed from year to year. I missed hiking those hills, and playing in the river. I wanted things to stay just the same...

(Hazel sporting her Montana shirt Mark Feltis gave her, Hey she is in Montana!!)
We left Wednesday night after Rick got home from work and traveled into glacier National Park. We set up camp at 12:30 am in a down pour of rain. We tried to find a hotel and had no luck finding any vacancies. I had come down with a whole body illness (later to discover that it probably was mastitis)...We set up tent and crashed. It was wet and cold. Not the vision of the great glacier trip where we could hike into some back lakes and do some fishing, or nice so that I could ride my bike up Logan it was wet and cold the majority of the time we were there.
We woke the next morning and the boys attempted some fishing in Lake McDonald in the rain. Poppy and I tagged along but I really felt like every piece of my body just wanted to cave.

(Don't be fooled by the was raining)

We decided we would ride the transit system through the park (which took up 4 hours of our day) to be able to see the park, but not out in the rain. My head was throbbing and the bus kept going over bumps since there was a bunch of construction going on in the park.

That evening by the time we got back to camp thing cleared up for a short period of time. We decided we would go get something warm for dinner that we didn't have to cook ourselves. After dinner we were greeted with a nice sunset and the kids got to skip rocks into the lake.

The next morning i amazingly woke up to feeling much better...My head still hurt but my body wasn't hurting so bad. I was still holding out hope that I might be able to bike up the pass...that is, until there was a bit more rain and fog.
We drove to the top of the pass and decided that rain or not it was time to take a little hike.
We took the highline trail, very pretty but there are some serious drop-offs and some hose/chain that i made the kids hold onto for safety sake.
Here is poppy holding on, if you look close you can see Oscar ahead of her.
By the time we got back to the car the fog had rolled in and there was no way i was going to bike down the back side with little visibility. We decided it was time to head to Canada.

We were some of the first to arrive and it was great getting to see my Aunt Verena and Uncle dean. She and My mom were the two who put together this reunion. We set up our tent while the rain was still holding back and then we did a bit of shopping. It was delightful getting to buy salt and vinegar chips in a box as well as ketchup flavored potato chips...those go back to some of my earliest memories of Canada. We went through three boxes...
We stopped by the Cardston Temple and were sad to see that it was closed for updates. It is such a pretty temple. We were even lucky enough to see an own perched up in one of the windows...if you look at the picture he was in the upper left window.

Saturday Morning began with a big family breakfast with loads of cousins... many we were meeting for the first time. We cleared away the tables in the lodge and played a bunch of indoor games. It was fun seeing all of the kids together. The only good thing about the rain was that it forced us all to be in fairly close quarters...well, some of us would have preferred a bit more space...but I'm just saying that if you want to get to know people again, nothing like some close quarters will give you reason to get to know each other.
Poppy got her fill of Auntie Rosa time...She was quick to make friends and to snuggle up to the cousins. Oscar too, found some to play with.
I sadly didn't take more pictures...I guess it was because I was busy being with everyone.
I would sit back, watch and just be dumbfounded with the amount of change that can take place in what seems a fairly short period of time. I yearned for the past. We looked at pictures of times ago and realized that they were great times. We were/are an eternal family. These people are the posterity of two really wonderful people who immigrated to Canada from Switzerland sixty years ago. This was their legacy.
On so many levels this trip was less than ideal, especially int he sick/weather departments, but on the other hand it was a coming home for me. I was once again back into the country of my mom and of my grandparents. It may not have been ideal but I now have a sense of peace. I hope to go back again, maybe with more favorable conditions (would someone please stop the global warming???), and although things won't be the same, i still want to be connected to my past and for my kids to know their heritage.
Ricky was a good sport and went with me to the land op north to see a bunch of people he didn't know and endured it well. I may have to go solo next time...we shall see.


Suzie-Q said...

What a great trip. I have been over the boarder only one time, all I needed was my birth certificate, It was for band tour. Fun times!
Glad to hear you are feeling better and that headache didn't ruin your whole trip.

Maren and Blake said...

What a fun trip. The picture of Poppy holding onto the chain at the mountain would freak me out.

I also love the pics from your Oregon trip. How appropriate that it was foggy most the time. Welcome to Oregon!

Betina said...

I have a strong, sneaking suspicion that we are related. All my relatives from back in the day come from that very same area.

I love the photo of your family in the rain. The look on Rick's face says "I told you this would suck!" I've never seen him smile so nicely for a camera before :)

That hike looks treacherous. I doubt I would let my kids do it.

Hooray for S&V chips!

Betina said...