Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good-Bye 2009! Hello 2010!

Today was the first time in 11 days that I physically felt capable of actually being outside doing something active.  I'm not quite ready for an all out fun-filled day of go-go-go but I could handle a slow, short walk.  I could not let the year end without being filled with what is good for my heart and soul.  A favourite place of mine is Elbow Falls! It's so close but yet so far from the city!  Today was my first time visiting there at this time of year.  What a feast for the eyes!  It looked frosty cold and sounded raging yet I felt at home by the river surrounded by the mountains.   

Not only are water and mountains good for my soul but how about sunshine and Belgian hot chocolate.  The original plan was for a tea-time today but  I thought the Belgian hot chocolate mixed with a peppermint stir stick would be more heart-warming.  The sunshine was appreciated considering the temperature was -21 Celsius.

Instead of strolling the path through the trees alongside the picnic benches, I took the trail less travelled which was along the rocks on the rivers-edge.  I could hear the water running under the ice and hear the ice crackling.  Nature creates such pretty sights!  When you look for beauty it is amazing what you can find!

After two hours of strolling, reflecting, taking photos and just plain enjoying I thought it time to head back to the city.  I felt healed and fulfilled and besides that, snow started to fall and the wind picked up.

I thoroughly enjoyed my day in the foothills.  It was a great way to say good-bye to 2009 and to contemplate what I would like the new year ahead to look like for me!  Hello 2010!

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Feeling Festive

One could describe today as being light-hearted, snowshoeing along in lightly falling flurries under a sky of ever-changing lighting!  Rummel Lake is a little lake tucked away beneath Mount Galatea and Mount Engadine and which is elusive to some but it did not elude us today!  Once above the forest of young trees this was our vista off towards Tent Ridge and the Spray Lakes.

With only a few more days to go until Christmas, I'm full of the spirit and in the mood to celebrate!  I took a touch of the spirit along with me for our trek.  It's the little touches that do it for me.  One of today's little touches was a Santa hat.  Festive?  Yes!

The other was a reindeer carrying presents!  Festive?  Yes!  I like to believe the little boxes are filled with chocolates!  He piggy-backed on my pack the whole way up to the Lake.  If you can believe it, we are both standing on Rummel Lake.   This area had a humungous amount of snow.

The day started out with cloud and snow flurries, not allowing much of a view but we brightened the day with our play and conversations.  As the sky began the ever-changing parade of lighting, it brightened our day too!  It was so quick to change, that I had to be quick with taking photos!  Here are a few photos I captured of the display!

This one is my favourite!  The mountain is called "The Fist"!  Can you see why?

These get-a-ways to the mountains are the opportunity to take the time to let the child within come out to play.  I like to let my eyes roam and look for the unusual, the unique, the beauty and to let my imagination run wild making believe I see something that others might not!  Is there a Santa Claus?  Adventure Designer and I think we saw him today!  Festive?  Yes!  

I needed today to be exactly as it was and for that I am thankful!  I am thankful too, to have the play pals I have!  Being with them in the mountains, feeling festive, makes me feel like I am "on top of the world!"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas in the Rockies

If you are having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit then I suggest you do what I did today!  Even though I'm feeling somewhat festive, I still needed an extra little boost!

A day off work to spend in the mountains did the trick for me!  Today was my Christmas in the Rockies.  I left home at 8:00am and hit the highway that takes me west.

After about 90 minutes of driving, I landed in Banff.  On a weekday this town doesn't get going until 10:00.  It was peaceful along the path that follows the river.  

I drove out to the Vermillion Lakes and what amazing scenery.  Even though it looked beautiful today, one day I would like to be here when the sun is rising.

It's easy to tell Christmas is just around the corner.  The reindeer were fueling up for their big trek.   A week from today and they will be flying high.

We all know who this is!   I extended my stay at Vermillion Lakes, which was not part of my plan.  There were lots more deer and elk blocking the road.

Once the crew moved on, then I moved on.  To down town!  To shop!  In addition to my photos, I wanted something else to remind me of my day and I knew right where to go.  The Spirit of Christmas store was calling my name.

I bought two tree ornaments to add to my collection.  Joy!  Celebrate!  That's what my day was all about!  That's what gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling, in addition to standing by an outdoor fire. 

By 2:30 I realized I accomplished what I set out to do.  I took a quick trip to Bow Falls before turning around and driving down the main street that leads to the highway to my home.  I enjoy days like these!  They are like treasures and are golden!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


WARNING! Always check the forecast! I did! Always go prepared! I thought I did! The forecast is not always right! It wasn't! I was not prepared for today's forecast of -18 Celsius dropping as the day goes on with a windchill of -38, overcast with flurries! This was what today looked like! Overcast? No! Flurries? No! Sunshine? Yes!

This was what today felt like! -18? Yes! Dropping temperature? No! Windchill? No! Less then 30 minutes into our snowshoe, I removed two upper layers, packed away my heavy hat and hot shot filled double mitts in favour of light gloves and a thinner hat. I wasn't able to remove one of my three bottom layers or my -44 boots! I was not prepared for the favourable conditions that were not forecasted!

We had reason to celebrate today! For that, we were prepared! One of the crew was celebrating her one year anniversary of being a Canadian Citizen for which she is very thankful for. I was happy I could share today with her!

The red maple leaf looked very pretty against the pure white snow. Any bright colour looked gorgeous today against the white, just like this orange snowshoe sign. You can't loose your way with markings like these to follow.

Although, after lunch at the Elephant Rocks, on the return trip, we did go off trail for the chance to play in the deep stuff. We looked for every little hill possible to experience that glissading feeling, some times standing up others times on our bottoms. The laughter was plentiful along with loud shrills from the thrills.

It was a very quick trip back to the trailhead. The fun wasn't over yet! After gearing off, we aimed for Woody's Pub for drinks and dinner. What a day! How fortunate were we! Amazing weather! Fun times! And then this! I have never seen a moose up this close! I could not believe the size of it. We watched for a bit, took photos and then it passed in front of us to cross the road. The legs were as tall as our car.

I had ideas of what today might be like because I have been to Chester Lake a dozen or so times. In all my trips, it never looked as beautiful as it did today! I was speechless at times! You may find that hard to believe but yes I was! You would have been too! My plan was that this snowshoe trip to Chester Lake would be the only visit there for this season! I am already nixing that thought! After a day like this how could I not go back to a place that makes me feel like I am "on top of the world!"

Monday, December 7, 2009

Barriers in Place for Barrier

For today to be an enjoyable experience, barriers had to be put in place to make our trek to the Barrier Lake Fire Lookout happen when the high temperature for the day was a forecast of -22 Celsius. The barriers were not the road block kind but doing whatever it took to keep the cold out and the warm in.

As you can tell from this photo there were six of us today! You can also tell there were three boys and three girls and that all of us are bundled up. The photo also tells you is was a sunny day with a blue sky. I hiked up to this lookout a few times and each time the wind howled. Today was different! I was prepared for the wicked wind crossing the dam by the lake but it never materialized. With that in mind and the blue sky, I took this as a sign.

As we cleared the open area and headed into the woods for the uphill climb, I delayered, down to two instead of four layers. It was cool but yet comfortable. See my hair! Yes, the air was cool!

The snow was just over our ankles in some parts and in other areas it was just at our knees. No need for snowshoes but need for icers in the steep sections and need for probing as we went looking for big holes between snow covered boulders and rocks. We reached the lookout and cleared the picnic table for lunch. We took time for summit shots and scenery shots too. I thought we had amazing views today. We could see forever!

At 2:00 we began our descent. It was a much, much quicker return. A fun one at that! It was almost like running down a scree run. I even wished I had my Pelican Snow Flite. We made it down to the Lake and the lighting was beautiful. I took a quick detour down to the shore side to snap some shots and look at the driftwood formations.

Our distance for today was just over 12km which is significant for a cold snowy day. In the summer this would be a walk in the park but today I called this the Barrier Lake Lookout Expedition. Our total elevation was short of 700 meters so that took us quite high. It was high enough to make me feel like I was "on top of the world"!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree!


Doing my part by participating in the Salvation Army's 5km Santa Shuffle today is a no go!

I can get out my front door and to my car but that is about as far as I can go right now!

I can see cleared roads out my upstairs window but from here to there is littered with snow and vehicle barriers!

I entered the race! I picked up my race pack! I meant well! I tried! I feel sad! I have missed a race due to injury! I have missed a race due to being in a car accident on the way to the race! I have never missed a race due to weather conditions! Darn you Mother Nature!

Friday, December 4, 2009


I picked up my race pack for tomorrow's 5km Santa Shuffle Fun Run in support of the Salvation Army. I have a feeling I will have to add many more pieces to complete my ensemble because...

...this is what Calgary's weather radar looks like! Green being snow and the darker the green the more the snow accumulation!

At the moment this is what it looks like out my window! This is why I am home from work early. I did not want a repeat of last Friday! So, a good evening to stay home...

...and decorate my Christmas tree! This is my newest decoration as of today. I like where Santa lives! I can relate to "top of the world"! What better time then on such a wintery eve... enjoy a Big Rock Winter Spice!

Oh, to be home safe and cozy and warm!