Sunday, May 25, 2014

adventuring of another kind

It will be some time before my pack will be on my back.  In the meantime, it makes a great source to rest my arm.  I like to keep my hopes and dreams close and having my orange pack strapped on my back where it belongs represents a goal to reach.
I learned I have a high tolerance for pain as was eventually quoted to me by those in the know.  My  thoughts were ice, elevation, Vitamin I would heal the problem as that was all I felt was needed for what I was feeling. I carried on with daily routines without much discomfort. Time passed though and there was no improvement, so I sought out professional advice.  This past week has been quite the adventure and more so the past five days in the hospital have been filled with learning experiences and eye openers.  This adventure to date, has left me with an abundance of reasons to be very appreciative of the kindness & compassion I received from every level of health care provider I came in contact with at the Peter Lougheed Center and the Calgary South Campus.

We all have mountains to climb in life and I know I have a big one right in front of me. I'm ready to begin this long climb and I look forward to reaching the summit.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Prairie Play

After making a split-second selection this morning, I was off for an early attack on Prairie Mountain. The selection was only made when I looked at skycams on and saw Moose Mountain looking spectacular peeking out above low laying cloud.  I knew Prairie would look similar. The forecast showed a wide enough window of opportunity to get there, touch the summit then get back down before being hit.

I was 3rd at the lot (the other 2 were training trail runners.)  They were long gone and then on their way down while I was still heading up. I ascended through cloud and fog then came out above it.  I could see blue through the trees in one direction and cloud+fog in another direction.  
The ascent went quickly.  
I even quickened the pace when I came to the wide open....
 ....and saw fog aiming directly for the summit flag.
I beat the fog to the flag!  
In fact, the fog dissipated while I was paying my visit.  
This is the way the May Long Weekend weather should be.
The flag has seen better days! 
Moose Mountain made an appearance for a short period!
I owned the summit for awhile before another soloist came along, then I let him have his time. Descending Prairie Mountain was like reunion central.  It was nice to run into many hiking friends from earlier times.  While I am guilty of only an attack on Prairie, the British Army invaded with a full out assault on the Mountain.  The way they were moving, it looked more like work than pleasure for those men.  They agreed it was work!

time to enjoy the view
Once back in the forest on the descent, it was business as usual to just get it done.  While doing so, I slipped out of control on the mud-fest section.  My wrist hurt like crazy.  After as thorough of an exam as I could do of it, I realized I would be fine.  

Remember that window of opportunity I talked about at the start?  As I exited the forest to the trail head and road, that window shut with a slam and I was hit.  For the 5 minute walk to my car, I was pelted with hail then pouring rain. Just call me a drowned rat!  I was drenched, soaked from head to toe, through all levels of layers.  But I was done so it didn't matter.  I'm just thankful it was perfect otherwise.  

I love when Mother Nature offers up perfection when it is needed.
 This is my way of showing it!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Hike Up To An.......

....old Lookout, done with a new outlook, made today one of those that are special in many ways!  Well into May and feeling like winter is still with us, I wanted to be open-minded and play the flexible card, to optimize my "out & about" weekend experience.  This could be the new outlook to go forward with if today is any proof.  Normally I hit the highway on a Saturday but opted for Sunday due to its stellar forecast.  I shared today's hike to Barrier Lake Lookout with old and new friends.  

I knew we were in for something special right from the get-go!  Our first view was breathtaking.  In the many, many times I have come to Barrier Lake, I have never seen a display like this. While we were admiring this view, I realized there was not a breeze to be felt.  I knew though, crossing the damn that the wind would whistle & whip but that never did materialize.   
A load of snow must have fallen here last night.  While I am tired of snow, even more so now that we are into May, there is no denying it made for incredibly pure, sweet scenery.  By now I worked my way down to a short sleeve shirt and would have gone to shorts if my bottoms zipped off.  
There was an amazing amount of snow!  
I couldn't believe it!  
Here is a snow bank framing Mount Yamnuska.
We took a little time at the Prairie View viewpoint.  
Still just mid-morning, the sun was already offering up lots of warmth.  
We stayed a bit, we played a bit.
The kinds of clouds and the amounts of them were a perfect addition to the day especially if you enjoy shooting shots.  As we were climbing, of course the snow was getting deeper.  The snow drifts, cornices and just plain amount of snow in general was crazy.  This wall of snow was taller than us when we were beside it.
Voila!  There it is, the Barrier Lake Lookout and somebody is home which meant we were not permitted to go on the veranda.  We dined on the helicopter pad which was surrounded by super-sized snow banks.  
After lunch, we worked our way along the very narrow path to the back of the Lookout. 
The views up the Valley were outstanding.  
Today's summit shot!
This was as high as the weather flag would fly.
Others were making their way to the helicopter so we packed up and hit the trail back allowing those folks to experience the same space and enjoyment we did.  It was a tad slow descending the steeper sections but we were still making excellent time.  Back at the view point on Prairie View, once again we stopped but not for just a bit and we played but not for just a bit.  The snow was ideal snowman snow so we built one on the right and a snowwoman on the left.  
This weekend it paid to have that new outlook.  When I think about the adventure we just competed, I now believe our stars aligned.  I could not have asked for anything more.   The day was ideal, friends were fun, Mother Nature was on our side and Kananaskis put on a show worthy of an academy award.  

Friday, May 2, 2014

Boynton Canyon Sedona May 2, 2014

Boynton Canyon is to be my last hike of the day and of this trip.  The parking lot was only half full and that was a good sign.  As I was going in, I met lots of folks coming out.  I was happy about that, it would not be a busy canyon.  At the start I could see the area that I would end up at, which is somewhere in around between the back of that formation.  Oh yes, Boynton Canyon is a vortex!
As I went along the views were stunning.  What?  A few clouds?  Out of the blue?  Just like that?  Looking odd?  I stood here awhile watching those few puffs as they danced and transformed.  
For the first section there was not as much shade as I was expecting but that would come later.  
But I always love very defined shadow shots as seen here.  
X marks the spot!
What spot?
It is a pretty sight!
The last half kilometer was a brutal climb in the heat along a steeper rocky section.  I was determined to get there so just pushed on.  I was the only one there so took time for a destination shot by the cairn.  There was a slanted slickrock slope to settle down on for awhile and just feel the moment.  
I tried to feel more than just the moment, as this is a vortex, but no luck.  
All I noticed was this was absolutely a gorgeous sight and I took the time to appreciate the beauty. 
The hike back was a quick trip until I got out into the open again.  There we go again, that blue sky and greenery and red rock captured my attention.  I wanted to linger, not to let go, I wasn't ready to move on.  Moving on means its over!  I'm not ready for that!  But I know I have to close one door to open another.  So move on it is!  
I came to my own realization on what a vortex is!  From my experience, every vortex I visited in Sedona had absolutely beautiful scenery.  Beautiful scenery captures my attention and draws me in.  It takes me away from reality, away from stress and all cares and worries.  I feel good when I am taking the time to enjoy scenery.  I am always saying "I just want to feel the moment", or "Remember to Breathe"!  I know what taking time to do these things does for me, it brings me to a good place in my heart and in my soul!  I know now that my vortex is wherever or whenever I want it to be!  My mountain playground right here is full of them! 

This past week has been fabulous!  I cherish ever moment and have made wonderful memories.  I have new patches to sew on my pack meaning these memories will be with me for years to come every time I head "out & about".    

Fay Canyon Sedona May 2, 2014

As each day came, the temperature rose and that means today was the hottest day yet.  My timing was perfect because my next two hikes today were into canyons.  Fay Canyon was just a hop skip and a jump from where I did Doe & Bear Mountains.  The trailhead was gorgeous with the blue sky, greenery and all that pretty dirt.  Clouds are few and far between these days.
Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness
This reminds me of something but I don't know what!
Fay Canyon was quiet and peaceful.  
The trail was narrow enough, soft enough, pretty enough.  
It meandered through the forest between the walls.  
It got narrower the further I went in.  
Can the desert be lush?
This forest seemed to be!
Today's shadow shot!
Getting near the end of the Canyon the walls were more vibrant in color.  
Once in as far as I could go, I scrambled up to a high place with a view.  This was the perfect spot for lunch and a rest.  In the far off distance was Courthouse Butte & Bell Rock.  I could see folks hiking the trail below and when they got to the open they all looked up.  I believe they wanted to be where I was but no one else ventured up.
This was not a long hike, but it made up in prettiness what it lacked in distance.  

Airport Loop & Table Top Sedona May 2, 2014

This is my last day to hike in Sedona and then it's time to head home tomorrow.  There are still so many places in this paradise that I want to see.  I shot out the door early today to make sure I had a large window of opportunity to fit hikes in, yes hikes, not just a hike.  I started my day off just a few minutes drive from my room at the Airport Loop Trail.  Before hitting the trailhead, I scooted to the side to capture Sedona as it comes to life this morning. 
Not only was I beginning the day early, others were too.  On the top center are folks looking like they are into a vortex-like feeling thing. Then, just down from them, a couple starts a new beginning as husband and wife.  The bride looked beautiful and what a handsome groom.  
The early morning light in areas was so pretty.  
This took finesse and I got exactly what I aimed for.  
This trail does loop around just below the Sedona Airport.  I was buzzed by small planes every now and then but I was O.K. with that.  At one point along the trail, there was a warning sign for low flying aircraft.  Not once did I have to duck though.  The views were wide open and I could see forever.
I took the Table Top extension.  The Airport area is suppose to be a vortex place.  I had to give it another go.  So, I opened myself up, went deep inside, I tried and tried, but no luck.  What does one have to do to feel what you are suppose to feel.  All I noticed was that this was absolutely a gorgeous sight and I took the time to appreciate the beauty.  I am noticing these vortex places have a trending theme...the views are gorgeous.
After getting off the Table Top, I hit the backside and the views of Sedona began to appear again.  Sedonians sure have wonderful scenery at their front and back door steps.  By the time I reached the trailhead, this place was happening.  Time for me to move on!   
Airports are not my favourite place but this Airport Loop hike this morning certainly was a beauty.  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bear Mountain Sedona May 1, 2014

I didn't know what exactly to expect after doing my homework, but I had a rough idea of what there could be.  The only thing to do is go and see and if it gets to be too much then just be smart and turn back.  Well, I never did turn back, in fact I would have liked a little more of what the Bear threw at me.  It turned out being a fun, steep at times, sweet, slickrock easy scramble to a mountain top with amazing views.  That's part of Bear Mountain as I saunter down the trail. 
stand alone rock formation
As always, the higher you go, the bigger the reward.  Now I can see right across to Doe Mountain where I was just a short time ago.  Also running down the middle is the road that got me here.  This was a very quiet trail.  I knew of two already ahead of me and a couple behind me.  
I took a short detour to this slickrock flat section.  You can see Doe Mountain in the middle down below, that plateau.  This could be a wonderful destination spot on its own but I felt so far so good, let's give this a go. So off I go!
fun slickrock to scramble through and up and over 
view on my way up
I bypassed a wide open scenic section in favour of reaching this high point for a summit shot.  It was fun to be up there but no views behind me for my photo.  I stuck around for a little bit then went lower with a wider sitting area to relax and refuel.
This makes a better summit shot with that amazing backdrop.  
I settled in for a visit.  
tree & bush beside me
my dining pleasure
I shared a short visit with the couple who were behind me.  They didn't stick around long.  Once they were gone, I owned it.  The couple before me left before I reached the top.  While this is not a vortex, it has that appeal of having an absolutely gorgeous sight so I took time to appreciate the view.  On my way down, once past the slickrock scramble parts, it then seemed to be more of a garden path with all the blooming cacti.  
It was not as much of an attack on Bear as I thought it might have to be. I thoroughly enjoy playing on the slickrock.  I feel safe scrambling on that stuff.  It's far from slick, I call it sticky!  This area is only about a 25 minute drive from my room but it feels like a world away from bustling Sedona.  As with every other day after hiking, once back at my room, it's reward time!