Sunday, May 26, 2013

Snowy Sunday

With a much less than stellar forecast to hit the hills on Saturday, I planned a trek for Sunday just to mix things up and to take the opportunity to try a break in the routine of being "out & about" only on Saturdays every weekend.  Having a bone dry road west and then south for approximately 55 minutes, arriving at the Dawson Equestrian Area to see it clear and dry except for a medium size puddle in the middle and then beginning the hike on a dry summer-like trail, all contributed to having high expectations that we would be enjoying a summit visit today on Cox Hill and even be able to take in some of Jumpingpound Ridge.  
About ninety minutes into our ascent, we still believed we would reach our summit but maybe not go beyond it.  Then, after a good two hours of ascending, those expectations we had at the trail head came to a screeching halt and we even questioned would we be able to summit today.   We went from dry trail, to a wet trail, to ankle deep snow, then knee deep snow, then at times it was thigh and hip deep.
But oh my gosh, the scenery was so pretty!
Moose Mountain off in the distance!
We reached the open area where we could access the slope up to the summit of Cox Hill.  We could see the indent where the large switchback was.  That switchback looked doable but getting to it was questionable as were the conditions on the slope.  Time now was not in our favour as we ate up too much of it already ascending through the deep snow.  I made the decision that where we stood right now was our summit for today.
We made our way towards the more open area where the snow seemed not as deep and supportive.  The sun felt hot, there was no wind, the views were spectacular and this turned out being a fine spot for lunch and photos.  I secured my high spot shot for the day then settle down for a bit to eat.
The ripply snow and scattered fluffy clouds pair up to make a great scenery shot.
After lunch, we began our hike back from where we game but along the way took a detour to a very small open high point to play.  We built a family of snowmen and donned them in our gear while we visited with them.  Maybe we should have made them facing the other way so they could eye Moose Mountain out there in the middle! 
The balance of the descent went quickly through, now, slush and mud but even that didn't dampen my spirits.  The sun shone and it was very warm!  A precious gift was discovered by a new friend which brought big smiles and a hug to be shared.  
"Embrace Today" 
I did!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

"Embrace Today" Lost

Lately, I have been thinking lots about "Embrace Today"!  I forgot about it, and I now realize it has not been with me for many, many months.  In the past, it had been with me every time I was "out & about" and now I miss it.  I was not sure where it went, I could not remember a specific time when it was no longer with it.  I want it back!  There is so much meaning to "Embrace Today"to just let it be gone forever.  
Today was the perfect day to go in search of where it could possibly be.  I first racked my brain, trying to remember a sequence of events.  No luck!   I pondered, when in time did I start feeling something was missing when I was "out & about?" Still, no luck!  I really wanted to find it, I need it back in life, so went searching.  I began searching and finally, EUREKA!  I FOUND IT!  When I saw it sitting there in that container, it all game back to me.  I had wanted to pass "Embrace Today" along to another adventurer so left it behind on this day. 
Now is the time to get "Embrace Today" back into my life!  It is almost like a new beginning, a reason to find new ways to embrace every day.  I selected the perfect rock that could bare the sentiment, then chose new bright, colorful shades that almost shout out to you.  

How could you not "Embrace Today" when you see this?  
A new beginning!
Stay tuned!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rest = Reward

Yesterday was a big day full of doing nothing but being lazy, causing me to wake this morning feeling fresh as a daisy.  There was no way that freshness and daisiness was going to waste.   To help get out the door early, I opted to grab snacks from the cupboard and fridge for munchies instead of taking time to prepare a grand sandwich with accompaniments.  I donned what was easiest to reach from my closet instead of picking through my wares to put together a matchy matchy outfit.  

This was the earliest I have ever left home to hike up Prairie Mountain.  Stony was deserted, the 1 had scattered travellers as did all other roadways.  There was a large selection of stalls to choose from once I arrived at my destination's trail head.  From this I knew the trail would be quiet as would the summit.   Before even beginning the hike, I felt rewarded.  

The trail was clear of ice and snow and was dry.  Crocuses lined a portion of the treed trail.  Wind on the summit was non existent and it felt like a mid summer day.  Indeed, these are all rewards. 

I secured my summit shot then made a special placement. 

The trail beyond the summit looked inviting so I accepted the invitation.  At the end of the trail, you could not help but admire Moose Mountain.  Two friends were summiting that Mountain today.  It was 10:04 when I took this photo, so they would not have reached the Lookout yet. 
Upon my return to the summit cairn for snacks, I received the best reward of the day.  A group had discovered my placement, opened it and were sharing it around.  We chit chatted then we all carried on with our day.  I checked out the view one more time before turning my back to it.  The sun and clouds created great shadows on the greenery.
On the descent, I ran into old friends and made a new friend.  I even beat the May long weekend traffic heading home.  I question,  if I had not rested like I did yesterday, would today have played out differently and not have been full of all these rewards?  I am so gad I rested and I am thankful for the rewards!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Boosting & Building

It took almost a week to plan a hike for today.  I really wanted to have something to show for the first day of our Victoria Day long weekend.  It all started with a Monday Musing, where should I go!  I spent an hour Tuesday Trying to find out trail conditions!  Then passed time on Wednesday Wondering what will the forecast be! My Thursday Thinking was go beyond now that the gates are open!  On Friday Finalized a plan! 

Solo Saturday
Nihahi Ridge 

Two goals have unexpectedly cropped up so I figured why not make the best of the situation and twist them so they assist me in growing as an adventurer.  Goal #1 = build my endurance level so I am back to 100% again.  Goal #2 = boost my confidence level for when I am out and about.  

My expectations were that hiking Nihahi Ridge would boost & build!

After passing the campground, the view opens up.
I was able to cover the long, flat, straight section fairly quickly.  The ascending portion through the trees was at a slower pace.  At not even 10:00 am yet, it was very warm and humid which contributed to my already ascending slower pace.  It was in the meadow area where I got a clear idea of where I was headed.  I had completed this hike once before a few years ago, but no part of it was familiar.  
I knew of only two folks being ahead of me and you can see one of them half way up on the ridge in the photo below.  I was happy for them to be there in front of me.  With this hike being so close to the campground and with reported dry conditions, I knew many others would be along later and that made me happy too.  I did not want to be somewhere all alone when boosting and building.  This ascending stretch was great for building my endurance level. 
Now came time for true boosting!  
I found the diagonal crack.
Time to scramble!
I needed to get up to that flat section at the top.
With no one to hold my hand, or push me or pull me, I did it!
Easy!  Breezy!
The true summit of the south part of Nihahi Ridge was at that top point on the right where those two folks are sitting in the photo below.  Yes, those two black dots are the two folks.  But today where I stood now,  looking up there, was to be my summit.  The sky was ominous as I looked in all directions.  Rain and thunderstorms were in the forecast and I didn't know if I could make it up there and back quickly enough.  

The sky view in front of me!
The sky view behind me!
One thing I knew I could do quickly was get my summit shot.  Once that business was taken care off, I made my way back down the scramble section slowly, once again all alone with no one to hold my hand to push me or pull me,  then hiked along the Ridge to a place where I could take cover if need be.  
By the time I made it to the safe section, the dark clouds cleared and some blue appeared.  I hadn't had anything to eat yet, so this was the perfect time and place to dine.  Today's menu consisted of an avocado & tomato basil chicken sandwich, apple slices dipped in lemon juice and a honey almond energy bar.  For desert I went with a few strawberries.  
Many folks passed by while I was dining and savouring the view.   A plane passed by too.  I always look up when I hear a plane and I did this time also, only to catch it out of the corner of my eye well below me.  I guess you know you are truly high when the plane is below you.
Feeling very happy with today's boosting and building, it was time to head home!
I'm glad to report I am making progress on all fronts! 
It takes lots of self-talk to get out there and do it!  
At times, I feel like just forgetting it all!
But where would that get me!
Not where I want to be!
Which is...
Out and About with strength and confidence!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

High & Happy

I had no idea what to expect today when I woke this morning with a change of heart. I went to bed last night with a plan in place for today and that plan was to hike Horsethief Canyon in Drumheller. I woke this morning with a desperate need to get high and there is no way that could happen anywhere in Drumheller.  I needed to satisfy my fix so switched the plan from one "H" place to another "H" place.  Horsethief Canyon became Ha Ling Peak!

I have not done hikes with significant elevation gain in quite some time so I had no idea what to expect today. First things first though, I at least wanted to make it to the trail head.  While driving along Three Sisters Parkway, I stopped to check out my objective.  That's it, the top of that right peak but I would be ascending on the other side of it.
There were a couple of cars in the lot when I arrived and two folks were aiming for the trail head.  I usually like to be first but I was quite fine for others to clear the way today.  Five minutes into the hike and I'm amazed already. Ah, how I love reflections!
After the reflections and before reaching the summit, time and distance uneventfully passed by.  There were a few short sections of old packed dirty snow on the sides of the trail, but they were harmless.  Once out of the trees it was clear & dry & steep.  I reached the top feeling like the approximate 800 meters of elevation gain over roughly 2.8 kms was not really all that bad.  This is the view below from where I just came.
Firstly, and most importantly, I scored my summit shot!
I found the  perfect place to settle down amongst big rocks, to savour the view and my chicken&avocado sandwich.  There was a pleasant slight breeze which was unexpected.  I was prepared for the usual gale force winds but those did not pan out.  Thirty minutes later, I could see many hikers working their way towards me so that meant it was time to surrender my ownership.  

Spectacular lunch time view!
On my way down I looked back to capture a shot of the steepness behind me.
 See how little the folks look near the summit?
I took a short detour to get a different perspective of Ha Ling Peak.
Canmore below with Highway 1 winding through it.
When I arrived back at my vehicle, I stood with stomach in, chest out, I beamed with delight and smiled wide.  Considering I had no preconceived expectations for my performance today other then to make it to the trail head, I was ecstatic for having conquered Ha Ling Peak! 

Friday, May 10, 2013

A BIG Thanks!

I want you to know that I truly appreciate all the fun and complimentary comments each of you posted here and also for the wonderful emails you sent via "contact me".  I never dreamed when I started this blog that it would evolve into what it has become.  

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Roaming the Ranch

It has been awhile since I planned a day to meet new folks and spend the time together hiking.  While still not ready for great big days yet and only having a half day free, I picked my favourite local spot Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park.  I was excited to learn that my new friends had not been to the Park  yet.  We arrived at just before 9:00am and I was surprised to see the number of vehicles there already.  I suspected it was a running group doing a long run and my suspicions proved true.

A new trail in the westerly section of the Park opened up recently and I was curious to see what that area looked like.  First we had to follow Tiger Lily away from the parking lot and I am always happy to do that.  As those of you who are my followers know, I have mentioned over and over again that Tiger Lily is my favourite trail.
What a pleasant sight to see at the intersection of Tiger Lily and Badger Bowl.  The pond was full, thawed and we got to see a "happy feet" dance.  At least that's what it looks like this duck is doing.  I was happy too, the sun was out, it was warm and my new friends were fun to be in the company off.
At the end of Badger Bowl instead of hitting the hill down, we now aimed west along the new McPherson Trail.  What a bluebird day!  Hot and summer-like in the city but look at all that new snow on the mountains just a mere two hours west in the Rockies.
The new McPherson Trail reaches to the edge of Gleneagles .  
The Park website made notice that cows were pasturing in the area but this was all we saw.
It appeared this new trail is in the midst of maintenance.
Now it was time to work our way downhill to the Bowbend Trail and follow it for awhile.
Crocuses were out in full force.  We spent some time capturing their beauty.  I wasn't having much luck, the sun was so bright, I could not find a perfect angle and I was feeling a little lazy too about bending down to get close.  We found a picture perfect patch.  
I wonder if this sign is new or have I just not noticed it before.  There always seems to be new things everytime I go to this Park.  It was just after noon now and the trails were becoming busy with hikers and bikers, families, couples, groups, soloists.  It was a perfect day to be here.