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The Great Northern Manrique Family Reunion
OUR TRIP TO BANFF, ALBERTA
M ost Thanksgivings, members of the Manrique clan are in one of two places: either in town with my side of the family, or up in Orangevale with the in-laws. But this year, we decided to get a little more adventurous. In addition to all the beautiful, remote places we’ve gone over the past few months, we’ll be adding Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta, to the list. And this time, we’re bringing nearly the whole extended family along for the ride. It may seem like a strange place to head to for the holiday, but there’s a story behind it. A couple of years ago, one of my brothers, Alex, decided to make the trek up north at Thanksgiving. He and his family are big lovers of the outdoors like us, so along the way, they made pit stops in Yellowstone and a couple of other places. When they returned, they couldn’t stop raving about the Banff area — the deep, vivid blues of the lakes, the thick forest, and the staggering views in every direction. They loved it so much that they returned to Banff the following summer, this time driving through British Columbia and along the Trans-Canada Highway. Apparently, they still couldn’t get enough of the place, so the following Thanksgiving, they again made the trip up north (though that time they flew). When it came time for my extended family to gather for the holiday, Alex — predictably — suggested Canada. We’ve all heard his stories about the place over the past couple of years, and we figure that if he’s so eager to return to the same spot for the fourth time, it must be special. So, lo and behold, we’re gearing up for a big adventure up north!
excited to check it out. We’re not sure exactly what to expect with the weather, but we know we should pack our heavy winter clothes. Whatever happens, the whole gang is looking forward to a ton of hiking, snowshoeing, and maybe even snowmobiling. Of course, the best part will be getting together with the family. It’s been a long time since we’ve gotten both my brothers, my sisters, their spouses and kids,
and my parents all together in one place. And where better for a long- overdue family reunion than a place so steeped in natural beauty? I’m just grateful to be so close with my family that they’re all willing to spend a week in a “foreign land” with us, eager to explore and get out in nature. As far as things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, I’d say that’s pretty much the biggest thing I could possibly ever want.
I’m always up to explore a new area, and I’ve heard time and time again about the indescribable beauty that surrounds Banff, so I’m
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