A beary beautiful day for a stroll. And yes, I did take this from the car, but I was the passenger. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)

A beary beautiful day for a stroll. And yes, I did take this from the car, but I was the passenger. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)

Sarah Simpson Column: The best family day out came when we needed it most

Our wild trip to Youbou

At the beginning of July, I sent my youngest to the mainland for a holiday at her auntie’s house. With her Grammy just around the corner, and her cousins and their two dogs all home, she was in heaven. My sister made it everything and more for my brave little six year old, who seemed to have no problem taking the trip without her reluctant brother.

First, the Vacation Fairy came every night and left her a trinket or toy. Apparently the Vacation Fairy only comes for good little children who go to bed when they’re asked and without any objections. Kudos to my sister for dreaming that one up. It works every time.

My sister also made my child’s dream come true and took her to the zoo to see the big cats. They went to the splash pad and out for ice cream and to a museum and to the play park and they walked the dogs every day and had special treats and visited her Grammy and, as a result, she fell into bed every night exhausted from keeping up with her big cousins. The bags under her eyes could have held a week’s worth of groceries but she most certainly was having a blast.

Near the end of her week away from home, after more than two years of diligence, I got COVID. So too did my son. The best thing to do was to keep my daughter on the mainland another week so she could avoid getting it too.

Not one to back down from the challenge, my sister gave my kid yet another whirlwind week of fun and adventure. It was honestly the type of trip she’ll remember for long time. Core memory type of stuff. The resilience she showed, being away from her mom and dad and brother for what ended up being nearly two weeks, was amazing. But boy was she tired when she finally did get home. It was OK though, because we were too. Reunited as a family of four, we had quite a few really low-key days at home during the height of the last heat wave and everyone needed it. We didn’t do much at all. I don’t even feel guilty about it. We needed it.

Then, all of a sudden, we were ready for some adventures of our own.

On Aug. 1, after days upon days of lounging around inside by the fans playing Minecraft and watching sports on TV, we said enough is enough, packed up the car and headed west to Youbou.

It took a while to find our bearings out and about in the community after our time resting and recovering at home but that changed quickly when we realized that it was the day following Sunfest’s conclusion and we could make a game out of counting the passing RVs between Drinkwater Road and Laketown Ranch. There were 57. It was a silly thing to do but it got everybody in the right head space for an adventure.

We went to Arbutus Park and played on the beach and in the water for a few hours. We packed up without much complaint from the kids because they knew we’d stop for a treat on the way home and what kid doesn’t love a treat?

The treat ended up being wild. And by that, I mean, literally wild.

Driving east through Youbou we had to stop to allow a big bear to cross the street. And by golly if it wasn’t using the crosswalk and looking both ways! I kid you not. The children were in awe.

(Later on Facebook I learned a bear in the same area where we’d seen the bear crossing the street had broken into a locked garbage shed and eaten the trash that night and I can’t help but wonder if it was the same one.)

We stopped for candy at the Youbou General Store and it instantly brought me back to my days camping as a kid.

The shirtless tourists buying liquor and pepperoni sticks, arguing with each other about whether they’d be drinking tequila that evening were standing in line alongside some locals just picking up a few groceries. Neither party was particularly fazed by the other.

Snacks in hand, we hopped back in the car and I said, “Well, we’ve seen a bear, I guess an elk is next!” Not two minutes later, there it was, a massive elk eating the leaves from a tree alongside the road. It acknowledged us as we slowed down for safety, (and for the children to have a good look) but didn’t seem to care.

It was a wild day in Youbou that’s for sure. But it was the perfect day out for my family and one we won’t soon forget.

ColumnistComedy and Humour