Thunder (and Lightning and Hail) In the Valley

Yesterday (Saturday) evening Jody, Gary, and I drove out to the Crowsnest Pass to witness the annual fireworks show known as Thunder in the Valley. What makes the show so special is that the noise from the fireworks echoes in the mountains.

The fireworks are launched from the town of Blairmore, Alberta. There is always a large delay to get back to Lethbridge because of the number of cars so Jody thought it would be best for us to camp in the area. The nearest campground that would allow a single night stay was Mountain Shadows in Sparwood, BC. So we drove there (2.5 hours from Lethbridge) first so I could set up a tent (they sleep in their van) and also meet up with some of Gary’s family (the wonderful one whom we visited in Humboldt) who had gone on ahead.

Tent set up and dinner eaten, we headed back to Blairmore (45 minutes east of Sparwood) and found a spot up a dead end road. We set up chairs and within minutes I felt big, cold drops of rain hit me. Before long, the drops turned to a downpour and we ran back to the truck! The rain came down for a bit then stopped, giving us hope that the show would go on, but then it started up again. What a downpour!!! It was so violent and hail came down in loud plunks. Many people thought the show would not go on, so they left. We stuck it out and at about 11:30 the first fireworks went off.

The echoing effect was spellbounding! It was definitely worth going even if it was cold and wet!

We headed back to Sparwood after the show and I was glad to discover my tent and its contents were still dry. I did a quick toilette, crawled into my PJs, and went to bed.

The ground was hard and the noise from the highway was deafening, but I was warm and snug, so I was quite satisfied that I fell asleep immediately at 1AM and awoke at quarter to six. That’s actually a pretty decent camping night for me. We weren’t meeting up with Gary’s family for brunch until about 11AM, so I knew I had plenty of time to kill. I laid in bed and listened to an audio book for about an hour and then crawled out of my tent to use the most luxurious outhouse in the world: it has a flush toilet! There was no point crawling back into the tent so I literally wandered around the campground for three hours listening to my audio book.

This was such a pleasant morning. It was a trifle damp, but not cool, and the air felt so fresh. I took pictures of flowers and wandered up and down trails for a bit. At about 9, I headed back to our site to start dismantling my tent and packing up my gear, then sat on a dry corner of the picnic table to continue listening to my book. I decided to give Gary and Jody till 10:15, but they got up shortly before that.

We made quick work of packing, then drove out to meet up with Gary’s family. We had a nice ‘brunch’ (from the lunch menu) at the excellent restaurant attached to the hotel in Sparwood, then we headed home.

Like the first time Jody and I were in Sparwood, we stopped at Lundbreck Falls and we made a few other stops. So it was past five when we pulled in to home. My cats were happy to see me but we didn’t hang out for long since I got invited over for another Gary dinner. Yum-yum.

There’s nothing like a sleepless night away from home to recharge my batteries! 🙂

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