Well, that isn't precisely true. We had always intended to use the long weekend as an opportunity to do some much needed work around the yard and house, in preparation of some long overdue landscaping were hoping to sort out before the snow flies. Then news of a residence life reunion at our alma mater took care of the second weekend, but this still left 3-4 days in the middle unaccounted for.
My go-to in this sort of situation has always been, "hey, Jasper is only 3 hours away, we can always camp there for a few days", but Audrey is pretty much Jaspered out at this point, so we needed to look elsewhere. For a Tuesday to Friday excursion, we required somewhere close, a treed campsite with power, and a few things to do or see in the vicinity.
Having lived in Alberta almost all our lives, it surprised me that neither Audrey or I had ever been to Slave Lake, but the Alberta Parks website showed it as meeting all our needs,so we booked a campsite and drove out on Tuesday. It is about a 3.5 hour drive to the Marten River campground in Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park, 28 km north of the town ravaged by wildfires a year ago. It's a nice enough drive, especially for someone used to the flat dullness Highway 2 from Edmonton to Calgary.The lake itself is quite the sight, measuring more than a hundred kilometers across. Wednesday afternoon we took advantage of the 28 degree heat and hit Devonshire Beach for a couple of hours. It turns out there was a smaller but comparably sandy beach right in our campground, but Devonshire wasn't too crowded. A severe thunderstorm blew in right after we left the beach, so we grabbed two pizzas in town, drove back to camp and ate them in the car while watching X-Men: First Class on the iPad while we waited for the worst of it to blow over, hailstones and all.
We took a tremendous hike Thursday afternoon to Lily Lake, which is probably the remotest area I have ever walked to, but those pictures are still on the camera and will have to wait. Parks staff also had a wildlife display set up in the campground that day.