Saturday, June 24, 2017

Iceland Day 1 June 24 2017

It still doesn't seem real that I am here!  Ever since I learned there was a place on this earth called Iceland, I knew I wanted to be there "one day".  I was probably in elementary school when I learned Iceland is green and Greenland is ice. I remember thinking that concept was so cool.  That "one day" has finally come and I am here.  

Maybe it doesn't seem real because the place called Iceland sounds so far out there and it looks so far out there on the map.  In reality from Calgary it is such an easy close by Island to get to.  

Icelandair makes direct flights to Iceland from Edmonton International Airport.  I opted to drive to catch my flight instead of fly to catch my flight.  It was an easy drive at just over two hours.  I was fortunate with my seat selection having no one in the middle seat.  The flight left a little late yet arrived on time with 5:50 minutes of flying time.  I was on the first Flybus out of there, contacted my apartment owner, he met me, showed me to my home away from home, then showed me around the neighbourhood.  


Once that business was taken care off, I went around the corner grocery shopping.  I took a chance on many things, that they would be what I thought there were, some were, some were not.  Most importantly, I did purchase a load of skyr.


I was so in need of sleep but needed to push that to the way side in order to get on viking time.   With a busy day tomorrow and then on Tuesday I need to get me to the church on time, very early.  Right now was the time to test the church run.  Hallgrimskirkja Church is a 15 minute walk from my home away from home.

                                    
It was such a lovely day, I made the most of it and walked up and down those little streets for a couple of hours and walked by the sea too.  I looked in some stores at the beautiful wool products and the outdoor attire.  It was the colorfulness of the cute shops and cafes that caught my eye though.


                                            Harpa Concert Hall 

                                      see me in the concert hall


                             trying my best to fit into this viking lifestyle

                         


After all that walking and all that lack of sleep, I came home, had dinner on my deck and got into lazy mode for a few hours. Spent time looking at photos, blogging, organizing for tomorrow, waiting for sunset, oh better not wait for that, this is the end of June and I am in the land of the midnight sun.

                        I better just draw the drapes and say goodnight!




       
    

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Moose Mountain June 18, 2017

If I were a true painter, this is what my water color version of Moose Mountain may look like.  With today's weather and scenery, this was a day to be painted, to be framed, and thoroughly enjoyed.  You never know what will hit you when you do the Moose, it has it's very own weather systems that pass through.  You just go prepared and take what ever you get.   It certainly started out lovely.
We started early yet we were not the first hikers in the parking lot.  There is not much to see for the first while so it is a matter of just taking care of the business of reaching the openness.  When we exited the forest, the morning light made pretty views of all the green and wildflowers.
Those clouds that I like so much surrounded us.
We could see the switchbacks to the first hump.  
They looked so far off but in reality we came upon them quite quickly.  
Then the Moose Mountain Lookout came into sight.  We could see hikers along the bottom portion of the trail.  We could also see hikers in the meadow to our right as we passed by.  It was so calm & quiet.  We made our way to the steep slope to make our final attack.  Those ahead of us were retreating, too steep for them.
We reached the helipad and chatted with the Lookout Lady for a little while.  She asked us to be sure to sign the guest book.  Before doing anything, I took care of that business.  This was her first time working at this particular Lookout. We agreed this was a little piece of paradise.
my destination shot
My friend suggested we make an "H".  
loving the view
The Lookout Lady told us we were the first to arrive today.  That worked in our favour as we were able to have our chat with her, take our fun photos and then dine while it was quiet.  Being first, being early meant we also had the nicer weather conditions.  As others began to arrive, and as we were finishing our visit, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped.  We packed up and made our way down the steep slope.  You can see the Lookout in the top left corner.
getting ready to cross the hump
A couple of years ago I hiked up here on my own.  On the way back, I veered off to the left to check out the meadow area.  I didn't care to go too far but knew one day when I had company, I would like to go further down the meadow.  We did that today.  I called the area Moose's Meadows.  The area was carpeted with wildflowers.
We also got a different view of the Lookout.  It is in the center on the top of that little grey bump.
We added on more distance and elevation gain while we meandered throughout the meadows. The views remained pretty the entire time.  Before heading back out to the main trail and back into the forest we made one more stop to admire the scenery. Just like our first open view, this last open view would be what I would want my water color painting to look like if I were a true painter. 
This hike was an ideal send off to spring.  Today felt and looked like summer which we are on the verge off.  I had many things to reflect on today and I do my best reflecting when I am out in our mountain playground.  I felt extra thankful for today and took a little more time than usual to "remember to breathe".








Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ribbon Falls June 11, 2017

Today's star attraction is Ribbon Falls.  It's six years to the day that I last hiked along Ribbon Creek to the Falls.  That sounds like a confession and maybe it should be.  Lots occurred within this area since I was last there, mainly being that flood in 2013 which caused massive devastation.  People worked tirelessly to restore this trail and thank you for that.  While it is still obvious something terrible happened here the beauty of the area more than makes up for that.   

With a sour forecast for Saturday, Sunday was the day to play this week.  
I was glad friends were keen to share today with me.
We hit the trail head early.
One of the many new bridges.
There was lots to see along this trail and if you have a sharp eye you find these things.  
My friends' eyes were sharper than mine.  
Some sections of the trail remained the same meandering along through small meadows with mountain teases here and there.  We questioned which mountain was which as they appeared above the trees. 
Sections of the new trail were carved high above Ribbon Creek.
Looking back we could see Mount Allan and Centennial Ridge.
Sections of the trail still followed closely along the Creek with safe opportunities to get close enough to feel the spray.  We took a snack and photo op break at this opening.
Then there were the parts along the trail where the devastation was jaw dropping.  Cairns marked the way through the rock field.  We chatted about what it must have been like to be here on that day when massive loads of rock washed down the mountain side onto the valley below.
After hiking about ten kilometers we arrived at Ribbon Falls. 
First things first, I captured my star attraction destination shot. 
It took a few trys before I secured our group shot.  While trying the spray soaked the backs of some of us.  The sound of the falls was loud enough we could not carry on conversations without hollering at the tops of our lungs so.......
......we opted to head to the Ribbon Falls Back Country Campground, which was just a few minutes back on the trail, to have lunch.  We were able to dine in the sunshine with a wonderful mountain view to admire.  Lunch was a little longer as it was still on the earlier side.
Of course we need to incorporate time to just be.  
Along the hike back I still admired the scenery, still tried to figure out which mountain was which, spied a few wildflowers, checked out trails leading off the main trail and stopped for more photo opportunities.  Once we gave enough attention to that, and played all the games, it was time......
.....to head to the last bridge and cross Ribbon Creek one last time.
I took one last look back.
As we were hiking out we passed many hikers on their way in.  It was nice to see this trail being a trail of choice for lots of people.  It's not a long drive from home base. While the hiking distance is on the longer side, the elevation gain is not with gradual ups and downs along the whole way.  The prettiness level ranks up there. Once again thank you to all of you who put in the hours to bring this trail back to the people.  We the people enjoyed everything about this hike today!






Saturday, June 3, 2017

Forgetmenot Ridge June 3, 2017

When my friend pulled out his Canadian Flag on our third and final summit of Forgetmenot Ridge it was like securing the knot in the bow on a perfectly wrapped package.  I appreciated everything about today as it was being unwrapped and opening up but at this moment in time sharing a summit with friends on a fabulous day on top of the world, I truly felt thankful that we live where we do in a country where we can safely live out our passion!

It had been a few years since I ventured up onto Forgetmenot Ridge and the thought to head back up came to me when I was up on Sunrise Hill on the May long weekend.  I could see the Ridge looked open for business and inviting and welcoming.  I threw the idea out there to see who would be on board and was happy to have friends quickly confirm their interest. 

I had one concern for this event and that was if we could execute a safe crossing of the Little Elbow River.  With warnings in place for waterways running high, fast and full of debris, I suggested we have a Plan B in place just in case.  I was a tab anxious as we approached the River then was ecstatic to see it would be doable.  We got that crossing business out of the way then geared up to get on with our day heading up to the ridge.  I looked back and got a shot of Nihahi Ridge off in the distance before we aimed in the opposite direction.
one of the many rock trees
for some reason many of the rocks here have holes in them
It was a very steep climb on rugged and rough terrain so was a slow go.  The hard work was so worth it when we reached the ridge where the views began.  I already knew it was going to be a day where the clouds would capture my attention.  Here I see Mickey Mouse!
For only the second time ever, what I call a "kiss" showed up in my photo.
The views were grand as we sailed along the ridge.  
I remember from prior visits that the wildflowers bloom later up here.  
Today there was bouquet after bouquet of crocuses.
We headed for the farthest summit first.  It involved the long ridge sail, a short easy scramble, boulder hopping and then arrival time, just in time for lunch.   I captured my solo summit shot first.  Then settled down to dine and admire the views.
lunch time view was pretty special
We packed up after a couple of group shots then headed for a section Short Stop eyed on the way up. It was a perfect set-up to call our yoga boulders so we put our flexibility to work and christened it.  You have to know that just like along the trail to Boulder Pass, each and every time that we arrive at this boulder section we will produce a similar shot.
steep descent back down
 time to carry on to the next neck of the Ridge and our second summit
my second solo summit shot
It became very windy as the afternoon went on and with big strong gusts at times but we still made minutes to play.  I'm happy that my friends are game to participate in crazyness at times.  I always enjoy making memorable moments especially today on Forgetmenot.
We braced against the wind and wound our way over towards the third summit.
 my third solo summit shot
 Thankful for this beautiful day!
Thankful to have such nice friends!
Thankful to be Canadian!
We were in need of fuel so descended off the windy ridge in favour of a sheltered slope.  As I fueled up and looked across at my friends I had to smile.  I commented that it looked like they were sitting in a movie theatre.   The view ahead of mountains and trees was rather spectacular.  We all had a front row seat of this open air theatre.
today's viewing at the open air theatre
Once again I was anxious as we were making that steep descent back down to the Little Elbow River.  I know at this time of year conditons of rivers can change from morning to afternoon.  I am ready!
I knew in advance I wanted to get across that river first so I could caputure the action of my friends crossing.  The river was deeper and faster at times I could feel it pulled my legs but I just faught back and safely reached the other side.  It was a busy time with lots of conversation at this crossing.
I breathed a sigh of relief once everyone was on this side.  

There was much to make Forgetmenot memorable!  I could not have wished for today to play out in any other way than it did.  Thank you for sharing this day with me and helping to make such fun memories.  Best wishes to you my friend as you move forward with the creditials to now create your very own adventures to share with old and new friends.  Congratulations!