For the last 15 years the Wings Over the Rockies week has been a major reason why Margaret and John Burlingham from Edmonton love to come back to the Columbia Valley.
The couple own part of a time share and described the first time they came to the event as something they just bumped into.
“We went down and registered and just tried some of the trips out,” Margaret said.
The retired couple have turned this trip into their spring vacation and they love coming back every year.
Avid bird watchers, they go to different events during the year.
This year they even came out a little early and “scoped out areas in Brisco and at the ponds in Radium,” she said.
One advantage of coming back year after year is that they now know many great spots in the Valley to go and look for birds.
“We know about many areas from the trips we have taken. We have had history lessons as well and have even climbed Mount Swansea,” Magaret said with a smile.
She went on to explain that learning about the area has been something both she and John have enjoyed over time.
Margaret also said that as they have gotten older, the one change is that they cannot go on some of the longer, more challenging hikes anymore.
“That is why we went on the golf cart tour this year,” she said.
Another aspect they enjoy is the information provided by some of the speakers about what environmentalists are doing to help protect the area.
“There are so many people involved. We are learning about some of the problems and issues with the groups.”
John said he was not a big fan of looking at and understanding graphs, but he always enjoys the people you meet and nature you see on the tours.
Though they admitted when they first started coming out to the event they did not think about 15 years down the road, it seems the Wings Over the Rockies Festival will have two loyal followers for as long as they can make the drive down from Edmonton.