Like most wedding photographers my summer weekends are fully stocked with weddings, but this past weekend I kept it unscheduled so that I could get in some much needed family time and celebrate my 5th wedding anniversary. Work life balance is hard as a business owner, but so important and hey if I am going to celebrate other’s getting married I have to practice what I preach and give my own marriage some time too. I decided to turn of my phone and be unplugged for the weekend, but of course I still brought my camera ; ) After all I pride myself on being a Lifestyle Photographer and opportunities like this let me exercise my creativity with my own friends and family, who often are quite grateful for me brining my camera.

Luckily for us we have some great friends who have children too and are equally as spontaneous so we invited them to join us and together we found a little cabin in Coalmont BC. Admittedly we choose this place based on location (not to far from Vancouver) and price as we wanted cheep and cheerful with water near by, which felt like a talk order since we booked it a week before we left on a long weekend, let’s just say we got lucky! It’s always fun to go places with friends as it allows you to save money while also taking turns to cook, co-parent and have more people to play games with at night!

Coalmont is just passed Princeton BC, and is an old mining town that apparently was quite the hot bed back in the day which now only hosts about 100 full time residents. It was a quirky little place which sadly I did’t get around and take enough pictures of as I was too busy enjoying capturing our little group. Our weekend away crew were: my husband Don, son Maxwell and good friends Eryne & Neil with their children Origin and baby Quilla and their cat Sparrow. This family knows a thing or two about the great outdoors, in fact Neil just won the Canadian Wilde Life Federation’s  2016 Stan Hodgkiss Canadian Outdoorsperson of the Year Award winner, how cool is that!

We arrived at the cabin first, and it was so cute and quirky. Tiny in size, but jam packed with all kinds of things to look at from books to antiques to random kids toys and other bits and bobs. The cabin had a huge yard, with a swing set (told to use to use at our own risk!), a cozy swing couch and an array of wild flowers around the perimeter, which since being in Lytton I have really grown a love for. That evening we enjoyed a lovely meal with our friends that I prepared in the make shift kitchen, and for the record you can make so much between a griddle and a toaster oven, including pizzas and quesadillas! That evening when the kids went to bed we enjoyed gin and tonics and experimented with some light painting which was a lot of fun. In fact this cabin seemed like it was set up for a photographer with so many neat little details to capture.

On the first day we headed to Otter Lake for a picnic and canoe ride, which I did’t get many photos of as I was to paranoid I would drop my camera in the water while also trying to make sure I kept my little toddler safe. I did manage to get some great shots of Ourigan on the beach in her pretty red dress before we set off. That evening I got plenty of fun photos of the kids as they goofed around, they are pretty darn cute!  The next day we found out after talking to a local that the area we were staying in had originally been the red light district way back in the day! He also shared that there was a ghost town that we could reach by walking that was once Granite City, a bustling mining town that was one of the largest cities in BC at that time in 1885, but is now stands as a forested area, with a few ruins of wooden buildings, big pits of dug up graves of the Chinese workers (the story goes that the bones were dug up to be sent back to China, but they never made it) that had once been there and a peaceful creek. The walk up to Granite City was a long and dusty road, mostly used by people going ATV’ing or off roading in their trucks. It was a pretty neat place to wander around and hard to really imagine how populated it once was, apparently having 14 hotels. We wandered there, had a picnic and we all got to learn neat things from Neil about the natural surroundings. In the middle of this ghost town we found a apple tree, abundant with fruit which was a lovely surprise and special treat.

That evening we made a fire for the kids to enjoy, and Eryne gave the kids magnifying glasses to explore the area around our cabin with which they fully enjoyed. I had packed some craft supplies to make crowns and magic wands with, a winner with both kids! All these activities made for great photo ops, which you can enjoy below : )

This area is one you should explore if you haven’t yet.  There are loads of quirky elements such as a random tree along the road full of shoes, and I am sure many which we missed as well. It’s full of natural beauty and due to the terrible reception forces you to get disconnected. Thanks so much to Eryne & Neil for being up for a last minute trip with our crazy family! We love you all dearly xo.