Camping at Coal Lake in June, we saw that there was an excellent view of the dark night sky from our campsite. When I realized that the annual Perseids Meteor showers were going to brightest and most active on a weekend, this was a good place to return. As well, I saw that Samson Cree Nation was holding their pow wow on the same weekend, only about 20 minutes south of the campground. On the way through Wetaskiwin, we could see many people camping for a rock concert in town, camped only inches apart. At the municipal campground, only a dozen or so camping units spent the weekend, and our evenings were very peaceful. The firewood was very dry and seasoned, and it burned extremely well, as we watched the night sky. At first, nothing moved. Then, we gradually started to see movement, often slow, and occasionally extremely fast and bright, as the meteors crossed the sky. Friday night was clear, so we had very good visibility.
On Saturday morning, we went out for a hike after finishing breakfast. We searched for the Waskahegan Trail, but I realized after we were done that the trail is on the West side of the lake, not the east. Since we didn’t find a trail, we got out for about 8K on the country roads. After returning to the campground, some of us took naps, most of us read, and we tried out my “slackline”, a low and easy trapeze. Some people got pretty good at using it. I only managed a little bit, with a person on either side to hold onto! Some of the group went to investigate Bittern Lake, a wildlife area. They discovered that the grass was very long, the lake was very low, and there were many ATV users there, going fast.
In the evening, most of us went to Maskwacis, to enjoy the Samson Cree Nation pow wow. This was a really beautiful event. the vendors had a great selection, and the food was top-notch. It was fascinating to watch the hand games, a complicated version of the “shell game” at carnivals. Each team had drummers and singers, so there was a LOT of great energy in the building where the games were happening. Grand entry and the intertribal competition were both spectacular. It would have been nice to stay late, but I was worried about night driving where there are a lot of deer and moose, so we got back to the campsite about 11. There was some heavy rain on our way back and the night was cloudy, so not much good for watching the meteors.
Sunday, most people wanted to get back home pretty early, but a couple of us went over to Camrose to take a look around. The town is very well-maintained and the area around Mirror Lake is especially lovely. We visited Norsemen Brewery, located in the large Norsemen Inn. It doesn’t really have the “vibe” of a micro-brewery, being a very large pub, but their 3 beers were all tasty. After that, it was less than an hour to drive back to downtown Edmonton.