Sunday, May 25, 2014

Family Retreat on Vancouver Island

We spent the Victoria Day long weekend away at a family retreat with a huge group of families from Walter's Out of School Care group (in Canada Victoria Day falls on the last Monday before May 25th - this year that was May 19th).  There must have been over 300 parents and kids relaxing, challenging themselves and each other, and eating.  Occasionally, they let us sleep!

Be warned, this is photo-heavy ... but oh so beautiful ...

Camp Qwanoes, near Crofton, on Vancouver Island.

There were various accommodations to choose from.

Cabins ...

Treehouses (unfortunately, not open at this time of year) ... 

and dorm rooms ...

The advantage of the dorm rooms was that they were heated, had indoor plumbing (including showers), and relatively comfortable sleeping ... they were made up of multiple bunk beds, but heah, this is a camp that tends to see a huge number of teenagers each year and bunk beds hold a lot of people.  We chose a dorm room.

For me, it was about the beauty of the surrounding area.  Despite my height-induced vertigo these stairs led to a beautiful expanse of ocean.

The view beyond the stairs ...

With the tide out it was a great place for wandering and gazing off ...

From Manuel's perspective it was all about the climbing challenges.  He managed three quite different, but way-up-in-the-sky ones.

First up, the Elevator challenge, so called because of that rectangle floating way up in the sky (an old elevator shaft metal frame).

Manuel climbed up it so fast ...

I barely had time ...

to frame my pictures.   And then?  He had reached the top!  Apparently, he broke their record :)

After coming off of that he decided to try a simpler wall climb.

After climbing the easy and medium walls on this, the difficult wall defeated him because the stones were so far apart that he wasn't tall enough to do it.  I think, with practice, he would learn how to overcome that kind of obstacle.

He took the rest of the day off (!), but was back at it again the following day with the Sky Scrapper challenge.  Because of my height issues another parent partnered up with Manuel (you had to be in pairs to ensure you clamped on and off properly).

Not sure which of these pictures shows just how high up they went.  There were three levels.  Originally, they were going to start on level three and work their way down, but Manuel's partner realized how daunting it was once they got to the second level, so they worked their way around that one.

Crazy!  Manuel said it was really hard work and doing just that one level was good enough.

We were exhausted, and coming home to a softer bed was heaven.

Walter wants to go again next year ... I guess we have a year to re-energize.

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