Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Orphan June 17, 2018

I put the invitation out there for a little bit more than your mild cup of tea.  I quickly received an affirmative RSVP, but it came with a twist.  The twist was would I accept a stronger cup of tea if it was served up and my RSVP to that was a quick affirmative.  I am finding the mild kind is not as flavourful but it's tried & true so when on my own I have no choice. I am ready to taste stronger!  

My strong cup of tea for today is The Orphan and I am not going alone!
Adventure Designer is a pro at adding twists.  I have been twisted by her many times before and they have turned into adventures to remember.  We hit the trail head prepared with all that was needed to find our way;  pictures, track, written description, map.  We endured a few kilometers of uphill creek boulder bashing all the while surrounded by what makes me feel at home; the mountains, the blue sky, and those white fluffy puffy clouds.
Each time we checked to see if we were on track, we were.  
It was up the creek where there was lots of water but we didn't need a paddle.
 There were a few crossings here and there every now and then.  
Then the Spray Lake came into view.
We could see people paddling down there.
We came out of the creek and began to climb the open slope through the meadow to Boulder Pass.
   Yet still, we could not see The Orphan.  
The elusive Orphan!  
The Rimwall was obvious!
We arrived at Boulder Pass and the view left me speechless and somewhat teary eyed.  
We spent a little time here.  It was well worthy of it.  We eyed the Rimwall and all the mountains across the valley and we eyed the valley below.  I liked seeing across to Pigeon Mountain and being able to see where I was there when I hiked the Pigeon Mountain Loop.  It was all right in front of us.
Adventure Designer pointed out the moon!
It was working its way to snuggling up with The Rimwall.
We still had a way to go to reach The Orphan but at least it was no longer elusive.  It does exist and there it is.  We had bits of snow to traverse but that was easily doable.   I just wanted to get up there and see over the other side.
Summit Smile!
It was an incredible feeling to be up here in these conditions and with not another single person.  The only others were over there on top of Middle Sister and in the other direction at The Rimwall summit.  We could see them and eyed them and we wondered were they eyeing us.  Well if they were we did put on a show.

Making Waves & Adventure Designer on the summit of The Orphan
My solo summit shot with Charity the Little Sister beside me.
When I read the description for this scramble, it stated be careful where and when you choose to have pee breaks.  You see, this gully is used by the helicopters going to and from Assiniboine. We also had to be careful when we raised our arms forming a "V" for summit victory.
We settled down to dine and this is our view.  I enjoyed my flavourful penne salad.  This time around I mixed the penne with mango salsa.  Along with that I munched on multigrain chips with salty popcorn.  Desert was apple, honeydew melon and cantaloupe.
I told you earlier we put on a show!
Seventy minutes passed and all our summit business was taken care off.  We packed up and began the descent.  We edged closer to the edge on Boulder Pass. There was so much to see, I am not sure if I saw it all.
We worked our way down staying away from the slabs which now had water running over them.
Before leaving the alpine meadow, I captured one last memory!
The trip down went quite quickly.  It was steep in sections, at times we did short scree runs, then a little route finding, some creek crossings and boulder hopping and maneuvering around them too.  We arrived back down at the car feeling high and happy.  The gully was work but it was so worth it for the bang we got at the top.

So, back to that question, what's your cup of tea?  
We went for a strong cup of tea but we were
that tantalized our taste buds!
No more tea for me please!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

life begins

when windows open
It had been ages since, on my lunch time walk-about, I walked into the local book store.  I entered with no specific intentions in mind other than to pass time being on my feet and in motion.  That motion came to an abrupt stop after I passed through those open book store doors then executed a sharp left.  My sense of sight was permeated with photos and phrases which portrayed a particular poignant picture for this point in my life.  
I thought about this poignant picture I was facing, then my thoughts brought me back to more than a decade ago.  Back then I was enjoying living an adventurous lifestyle, well what adventurous meant to me at that time.  I became quite comfortable with what I was experiencing.  I had confidence I could conquer.  Even though I was enjoying what I was doing, where I was going, what I was seeing, something was missing!  I came to realize comfortable equaled stalemate.  It was like a window closed and I was not moving on.  

I missed trying, learning and growing!  
It was time to move beyond that comfort level!
Windows opened and I pushed boundaries! 
At times I was scared and I was hurt!
I fell down but got back up again!
I call them badges of honour!
Back then surrounded by supportive friends, I began growing again.  I reached new heights both physically and mentally.  I realized I had capacity within to go above and beyond safely with that great support circle.  I learned what true support is, I learned that I do have limits and it is OK to have them.  
Since back then, I pushed more windows wide open.  It seems the more that open, the more there are to yet open.  Never have I been "quite comfortable" again.  I have gone beyond where I ever thought I would go.  I still fall, I still get scared and hurt, I still get back up again!  I have to get back up again to get through those open windows.
Now a new window is on the verge of opening.
In a short period of time it will be fully wide open.
Right now it is open enough I can see a poignant picture on the other side.
It's time to begin charting a new course!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Minnestimma Lake at Larch Valley June 3, 2018

Once I heard Moraine Lake Road was open, I looked at my calendar to decipher what day would I be able to drive up it and head off hiking in the Larch Valley area.  I penciled in today and then just hoped the weather would be favourable when the time came.  I have been up to Minnestimma Lake at the base of Sentinel Pass a couple of times over the years in the spring.  The experience has been different each time.  For this time, I sketched out a mental image of my wish.
Well, the time came, the weather was favourable, I hit the highway early and arrived at the Moraine Lake parking lot early.  From my trip here today, my belief is the parking situation is going to be no different than it was all of last year for Canada's 150 Celebration.  

The trail was snow-free until I reached the bench at the intersection.  
After that there was intermittent snow of various depths.  
I was excited for the first teaser opening.  
 Lots of the snow sections in the early wide open spaces were easy to maneuver around.  
 eyeing the conditions higher up
There was still an abundance of snow covering the area.  At times I sunk to over my knees, other times the snow was solid enough I stayed on top of it.  I could see movement up on Sentinel Pass.  There is a person up there in the center.
The time arrived, I reached Minnestimma Lake to see exactly what I wished it might look like.  
First things first, I captured my destination shot.  
This was not intentional that my shirt closely matches the color of the ice.  
The big boulders were easy to get to so I settled down on one then took time to just be, to just be here, to just be here taking in all the beauty.  It was just me and the soloist up on the Pass, oh and a marmot.

There was just too much snow to descend down to the lower lake.  
 Exploring the upper environment, I found open water at the edge of Minnestima Lake.
 I was doing 360s.  
The beauty surrounded me.
some of the Ten Peaks from Valley of the Ten Peaks. 
Exploring even more, I found another little lake, or I guess it would be a tarn.  It's not here later into the spring.  It was a dreamy discovery and captured my attention so I invested quite a bit of time admiring it from all angles.
 perfect reflection
 There was so much to reflect on today and this was the perfect place and ideal time to do it.  

My wish for today was granted!  

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Kayak Bowness Lagoon June 2, 2018

Ever since my first kayaking experience last September when I was visiting family in Nova Scotia, I knew immediately the sport of kayaking would play a part in my life down the road.  Well, down the road arrived today.  I had my first lesson at Bowness Park through the University of Calgary Outdoor Center.  What a pleasant surprise to find out my instructor was the same guy who I took X-C Ski lessons from in December of 2014.  I knew I would be in good hands and come away with a wealth of knowledge and an improved kayaker. 
I arrived early and did a walk-about before checking in.  After a miserable last few days weather-wise, today kicked off with sunshine and warmth, ideal conditions for hanging out & about on the water.  The water was calm and surrounded by colorful scenery.
I picked up two items that would assist in making for an enjoyable dry experience.  The dry bag and waterproof case will come in handy.  There is room in the waterproof case for my other small camera, keys, ID, iPhone, money.  The following kayaking photos were taken with my iPhone while it was in the case.
I like the recreational kayaks.  They are not as long and are wider for better balance.  I learned how to get into it from off the deck.  It wasn't pretty but I did it.  I learned how to paddle properly, how to go backwards and sideways.  I learned how to stop, how to turn left and right, how to do a 360, how to meander down a winding canal.  I learned how to quickly straighten out when veering off.
We practiced all these things as we paddled around the lagoon, under the bridge and down the canal.  We were fortunate because this early in the season there is deeper water and we could continue on further.   I didn't want to turn around but we still had to paddle all the way back.  I already knew those unused muscles would be sore in a couple of days.
We arrived back at the lagoon and our instructor showed us how to pick up the pace and fly.  
He then flew and I did for a bit.  
I followed him to the far end and then back to the dock. 
While learning how to get into the kayak from off the dock, he also showed us how to get out of it once back at the dock.  I got the kayak snuggled up to the dock, I got the paddle placement right, but after that, once again it wasn't pretty.  I got onto the dock and was still dry and that's all I cared about.  Doing this properly will take practice.

I thoroughly enjoyed being back in a kayak.  
That past September wasn't just a passing phase.  
This sport is in my life to stay!