Saturday, February 28, 2015


Through the mid week's morning ride shuffle, "Unwritten" played.  This song from a few years back was a favourite at the time and it has been ages since it's turn came up.  It really resonated with me this time around,  so much so that the words spun into a new meaning for me which was so very, very clear.  Each time I head "out & about",  I feel I am presented with a blank page to begin a new story.

"today is where our book begins"

"staring at the blank page before us"

With such a vista as this, I see it as our blank page that we are presented with once we open the cover.
I want to "reach for something in the distance" which seems "so close you can almost taste it".  

"we're just beginning"
"the pen's in our hands"
"ending unplanned"

We four friends gathered together, all on the same page, and we let our story unfold! 

We opened up the cover to the blank page at the Lake O'Hara parking lot shortly before 9:00am.  Our gear up time was quick as to stay warm in a bitter cold temperature.  We opted to head up the road which would be work to warm us up and where there would be shelter to protect us from the wind.  
We veered off the road after a couple of kilometers to head towards Ross Lake.  It wasn't the prettiest snow nor scenery in the forest, so with no reasons to be stopping we made decent time in arriving at the Lake.  While the sun was beginning to peak above the surrounding mountain peaks, Ross Lake was still in the dark shadows and made for a rather cold setting.  We had a quick visit, then continued on with our story.
We arrived onto the Great Divide to a multitude of  paw prints everywhere.  What do these belong to?  It was unnerving, some were old, others appeared brand new.  For quite a stretch, I paid particular attention to our surroundings.  
It felt grand to now be out in the open!
sunshine & warmth
"let the sun illuminate the words that we could not find"
We arrived at the picnic shelter as the sun shone down on it.  
It was dining time in the sunshine.
While spending the morning in British Columbia and refueling there, 
we were now ready to move into Alberta for a couple of hours 
and carry on writing our day's story.  
Alberta was where we felt at home.  We were illuminated by the sun and felt energized.  Once we made it up that big hill, we went off track, through a short forest stretch and found a magical meadow.  This area appeared as another blank page and we had all the right stuff to fill it with.
our story was making great progress with being written
After about 50 minutes or so of filling blank pages by living outside the lines, at this magical meadow, we took a few more minutes to catch our breath, layer down under the warmth of the sun and have a snack & drink.  We decided this would be our turn around point, as we still had another area or two to visit on our return trip to the trail head.    
we smiled on Summit Lake
from Sink Lake we admired "Canadiana" 
a long train bottom framing a mountain vista
Yes!  How fortunate are we!
Oh Canada!
It's now time to put the pen down 
because our story is
I'm looking forward to another blank page and
"reaching for something in the distance"!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Worth the Wait

This snowshoe trip to Boulder Pass & Ptarmigan Lake was long in the making, beginning back during the winter of 2013/2014.  This is one of those places that can appear to be "out of this world" if your arrival time is impeccable.  With our persistent patience we waited, and then the stars finally aligned.  Today was the day!  We did everything in our control to give ourselves the best chance possible to make today happen and it began with an early morning start from the City.

With our snowshoes and crazy carpets strapped to our packs, we made great time micro-spiking our way up the 4km fire road.  When the views opened, we could see the Lake Louise Ski Slopes we would have to safely traverse.  The slopes were busy today, so there was lots of dodging, running, stopping, yelling going on.  I swear the skiers & boarders purposely terrorized us!
The winter route to Boulder Pass is different than the other seasons' route.  Seeing the Hut to our left, we donned our snowshoes and aimed for it.  We worked our way up the steep hill to where the open door was inviting us to come on in.  We settled down to dine.
Freezing yet fueled, we headed back out realizing it was warmer outside The Halfway Hut than it was inside The Hut.  Following our track down that steep slope, we then crossed over this beautiful meadow.  It was beginning to feel surreal and appear like heaven on earth.   
We got back to the marked winter trail.
 I looked back to see Mount Temple.
We climbed up to Boulder Pass and took time to "remember to breathe".  
Making Waves, Nikita, Short Stop, Flying Finn
This section of today's trek appeared exactly how I hoped it would.
Playing it smart right from the get-go in giving ourselves that best chance possible to make today happen, it now all came to fruition.  We passed up through Boulder Pass and came out the other end to see Ptarmigan Lake down below.  It was an "out of this world" sight!  We admired it from afar then.....
.....snowshoed down to it.
Next, we followed the red markers out..... a wide open space.....
.....with a 360 degree view!

my destination shot 
With my pack & poles dropped, I stated I was taking time to play.   My thinking was it is not cold, it is not windy, the sky is blue, the sun is out,  I am going to play!  Then just like that, we were all playing.   I was happy my friends were game to join in.

we played
and played
and played
and played some more
After going through our second childhood, we geared up and headed off.  I kept looking back then took one final look back at Ptarmigan Lake to capture this beautiful second in time. Then it was time to focus on what was in front and make the return trek.
the landscape appeared 
desolate & pretty
Mount Temple came into view along with some of the Peaks from The Valley of Ten Peaks
We decided to forego another visit to The Halfway Hut and passed by it.  
We did stop to enjoy the view and admire how The Hut sits in such a beautiful spot.  
We headed back into the forest, and then dodged the boarders & skiers again, this time though it was even busier and more of a challenge to safely get to the other side of each slope.  Arriving at the beginning of the fire road, I pulled out my crazy carpet and made my way quickly down long wide gently sloped sections.  

Today turned out being grandeur than I expected. 
I felt like I was "on top of the world"!
It was worth the wait! 

Monday, February 16, 2015

for sure certain

While I absolutely loved everything about snowshoeing on Valentine's Day near Lake Louise, I missed not sharing time with a new developing love of mine, X-C Skiing.  After finding out that Moraine Lake Road was just groomed yesterday, then seeing the temperature would be cold in that area today, I was for sure certain, I could have another day full of love.  I hit the highway early, and the two hour drive flew by.  This was the bluebird day I needed and was excited to get my skis on go.

Then go I did! 
No sticking, just gliding!
No frowning, just smiling!
No doubting, I was
for sure certain
I would make it to The Viewpoint!
under a blue sky with sunshine
a beautiful frosty cold day
I read about the fat tire bikes that paid a visit along the route yesterday.  
This is the evidence.
In the 3 hours & 32 minutes of skiing I did today, not a bike was to be seen.
While I have been trying to focus more on my ski technique then on picture taking, I am not having success.  When I see scenes like this, I have to capture it.  I do miss my SX 40 on ski outings and have been trying to make do with my 115 IS and be content with its outcome.  Having skied this track  on Feb 7th, I know when I get to this section, I am almost there!  I am for sure certain of that!
This is that view I needed to see on a bluebird day.   I arrived here two hours after leaving the parking lot.  I was first here today and owned The Viewpoint for my entire 20 minute visit.  The view of the Peaks lining the Valley of Ten Peaks left me speechless, well there was no one to talk to anyway.  I did utter "WOW"!  I took in the view, soaked up a little sun, sipped my drink then.... 
....captured my destination shot...
I was for sure certain it would be a quick trip back down to my car.  The stars were aligning for a fast track.  With seeing The Viewpoint on a day like this being what I was most excited for, coming in second was the long downhill sections where I could fly.  And fly I did!  My timing was perfect because as I was flying down, loads of folks were skiing up.  

I arrived back to an over flowing parking lot.  
Everyone was wanting what I just enjoyed. 

I was tickled pink with today's accomplishment.  My pace was more steady, I could go further longer, I had full control on the fast downhills, all this and I could still admire the views.  It is for sure certain that this relationship has worked its way to a comfortable place.  Today I opened up and gave a little more of myself.  I wasn't scared to and I didn't get hurt!  

From like to loke, to do I dare say love!   
Yes!  I am for sure certain of that!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Louise Creek & Great Divide A Valentine's Special

If there is the least little reason to celebrate, I will find a way to acknowledge it!  When the reason is big, it's so very easy to make the celebration happen and so very easy to find friends who share the same sentiment.  Today we created "A Valentine's Special" snowshoe adventure from Lake Louise Village to above & beyond.  (The credit for this day's blog post title goes to Agent-X.) 

As we geared up near the Lake Louise Railway Station Restaurant, the wrapping on our gift slowly opened to display the beauty inside.  Hitting the trail early morning, we were already layered down.  The sun was coming out, the temperature was on our side and there was no wind to contend with.
We crossed over the Bow River and followed it a short distance.
We made our way up the Louise Creek Trail which brought us to wide open spaces.
We arrived near the 1A.
The snow was deep.
The view, oh what a gift!
At the parking lot for the Great Divide, we stopped for a few photos.
Then it was time to go off trail to explore & discover.  I always wondered what the meadows were like in this area.  They were top notch!  This was turning out to be "A Valentine's Special" filled with gifts galore.   We worked our way through one meadow......
....then on to the next!
We aimed for another meadow with a track of some sort going through it.  We followed it for a distance to give our legs a break from the deeper snow.  There was so much to love about today.  As it turned out, we were on the return route for the dog sledders.  Short Stop takes time to offer up affection to Millie.  This particular sled was returning from the Great Divide Display with a newly engaged couple (just 30 minutes prior) beaming brightly, as was her diamond.  We showed our love for today by designing our own heart.
in the middle of a meadow
With a special avalanche warning posted for this weekend, we chose a place to play that was far and away from any danger.  We made today what we wanted it to be.  It was a day of adventure, exploring a new area to us for snowshoeing and discovering what beauty there is above & beyond.  We let the child within come out, we had a lengthy dining time in the sunshine, and we meandered through meadow after meadow.
one last view before descending off the ridge high above Lake Louise Village
With our gift fully unwrapped and 
having time to enjoy everything contained within 
it was time to head home.  
This will be "A Valentine's Special" to remember!