Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Denver

Hey, not a single word from my sisters about the family reunion? Not a single picture? I keep checking in hopes of reading about what it was like, what was fun and silly... But here is what we did instead. We went camping in New Denver for the Valhalla Suzuki Institute for Rhiannon's violin. We went the week end before it started and camped as a family.

Getting there was rather an adventure. We left Thursday after Dean got home from work. You know how it goes when you go camping.... We could have left at 4pm when he and Kaetlyn got home but we didn't leave until 7pm. And then we were starving and stopped to get something to eat in Lumby (15 minutes away from home) but we were happy and jolly to finally be on the road.

I love that road to New Denver - we wind away from our busy hectic lives into the green mountains. I feel the pressure coming off my shoulders - our stuff and all my favourite people and animals jam packed into our van - a little self-sufficient ark. The scenery is breathtaking and prospect of 10 days of camping before me is enough to make my heart sing.

It started getting dark and with our one dim headlight and all the deer and cattle (!) on the road, we crawled along between 60 - 80km's an hour (I know, very un-Clarke-like of me). It got later and later. At the Needles ferry, where we could see one of the forest fires burning high on the mountain, we had to wait for more than 45 minutes as the ferry was getting gassed up by a tanker truck. We finally pulled into the municipal campground in New Denver after 1am in the pitch black, to discover the campground was stuffed to overflowing. We eventually pitched our tents down by the water where there were picnic tables. It turned out that it was okay for us to do that for one night and the next day we got moved into another campsite - site 21. (Rhiannon's picture of our campsite...) It was a very nice site - close to the bathrooms and to water.

We just chilled on Friday, recovered from our mad dash. Saturday we went up to explore Sandon, an abandonned silver mine town up in the mountains above New Denver. Then Sunday, Dean and Drew left in the afternoon for home and Kaetlyn, Rhiannon and I stayed for the week.

As always, I wake up long before my family does. This afforded me time to go down to the beach and write in my journal and read Bozenka's lessons and ponder. This is the view I enjoyed in the early morning light - just me and Jodi. I thought a lot about what it is I love about camping and New Denver and about how to create more simplicity in my life. I wrote a lot about simplicity. Of course, I could make my life complicated no matter where I lived. Although it seems to me that in a place like New Denver, your life could be simpler just because there are less choices and you have be more organized. There is no pharmacy, stores close at certain times and for certain days and some things are just not available there. If I grocery shopped once a month instead of once a day, life would be simpler. Anyways, I pondered things like this in the quiet peaceful hours of the morning, waiting for my family to wake up.

There was a forest fire quite nearby. Highway 6 was closed after Silverton. The first day we were there it was quite smoky but then the winds changed and it was clear most of the rest of the time. You can see the smoke from the fire here. At night it was quite a sight to see.

Then Monday morning the violin camp started. Here Rhiannon is in some of her classes that week.

It was rather an intense week for her. She had 4 classes a day. Last year, two of those classes were without violins and involved games and rhythm and lots of fun. This year she had her usual group class and master class (one-on-one lesson) and then she had a class called 'play in' with a teacher
from Montreal originally from the former Yugoslavia. I wasn't sure about him at first. He was very stern and a little insulting and for the first two classes, I sat on the edge of my seat, wondering if I was going to have to grab Rhiannon and run out of the class. But he turned out to be an incredible teacher and I think Rhiannon learned more in that class than any other. But it was really intense.

Then after an intense morning of those 3 classes, in the afternoon we had a class ostensibly called 'exploring musical styles' but was really learning to play fiddle music. We went the first couple of times but it was just too much for Rhiannon to be trying to play a whole different kind of music. I thought it would have been better to listen to it, talk about it and play games with it but the teacher tried to get them to play it. So we stopped going to that class and instead spent the time practising. After the first day and Rhiannon realized she had no 'fun' classes, she cried. Even to the end, she declared she was never coming again because there were not 'fun' classes. However, since being home, she is talking about next year already. (although we won't be going next year - we'll be going up north to PG, Terrace and the Queen Charlottes but we'll be there the year after). Rhiannon learned a lot about violin and it was great to have the different perspectives and the group experience of playing. She has come home with renewed vigor in her practising and is already working on the next two songs and is eager to advance in the book.

But the week was not all about the institute. There were several other families from Vernon camping at the campground. We managed to save a campsite right beside us for our good friends and other violin friends camped across from us and there were other families scattered through the campground. The kids congregated at the play ground where several rousing games of 'grounders' were played. Here are all the kids on the last day.

And Jodi. I think camping is like dog heaven for her. She gets to go almost everywhere with us, she is walked constantly, petted often, fed great scraps and all the kids adore her. And everyone notices her and talks to her. She has turned out to be such a great camping dog, I wish we had tried taking her when she was much younger.

Then Saturday morning, our friends packed up and left and Dean arrived to take us home. The weather was sunny so we decided to stay one last night. Dean loves camping. And it was nice to just chill after that intense week. And then we were home on Sunday afternoon but and what I found here is a blog for another day....

For more pictures, check out my facebook account albums

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