Saturday, December 31, 2016

Cascade Valley & Lake Louise December 31, 2016

My stars began to align on Friday morning as I tried to formulate a plan to make for a memorable long weekend that would involve saying good bye to 2016 and greeting 2017.  When everything I checked into and about proved positive there were only two things left to do and they were to pack then head west.  When the heading west time came I knew I was in for something special when I saw Yamnuska on fire, I took that as a sign.  Then how could I deny the specialness when Cascade glowed golden!

Even though I arrived early at the trailhead to X-C Ski to Cascade Valley I had to share the track with many others.  The track was perfect for me and the surrounding views were lovely.  I skied to the campground and visited for a bit at a picnic table for a drink and a snack.  The pace back on the downhills was speedy and I felt sure-footed and confident so just went with it.  Not long after noon I was back at my car and ready to get on with the day.

I heard about there being lots of new snow in the Lake Louise area and I have always wanted to drop in and see Baker Creek.  I enjoyed the drive along the 1A to get to the parking lot where there is a hiking trail.  There was a Warden in the lot so I checked with him about the area.  He said it's beautiful and goes for about 20 kms to Wonder Pass.  I hiked for about an hour.  Some day I would like to go back and carry on further.  

                                             along the 1A
                                                              along Baker Creek
                                      I see a heart or a great big smile!

                                                 I see the top of a DQ ice cream.
I had a sneaky suspicion that the Ice Bar at Lake Louise would be open for business.  Sure enough it was so I bellied on up to the bar and ordered a shot of Kahlua. I hung out for awhile savouring my shot then thoroughly enjoyed the sights and sounds of this beautiful place on the last day of 2016.
                                                   top of the ice castle

                                              frozen in a pillar of the ice castle


I have the best room with a view in the place as I lounge in my chair by the window.  
This day was truly wonderful and I am thankful for that.  The beauty of this whole area with the snow covered peaks and the fluffy puffy mounds of snow, the groomed tracks to ski and the trails ready to be be snowshoed, is why I have come to embrace winter.  


Friday, December 30, 2016


What have you got to show for 2016?  Going into a new year, I think about what I might like it to look like.  I think of what adventures I would like to go on, I think of how I want to grow.  I work on ideas on how I can make contributions.  I want there to be a big bunch of wonderful memories so I work at producing those. When the end of the year arrives, I want to look back and be proud of what I have to show for the year.    

2016 Got off to a rough start!  It took time for things to settle at least to a point where I felt I could go forward with some kind of new normal.  I was reminded that life is fragile and so unpredictable.  For those reasons, more than ever, I needed to be sure to live life to the fullest.  That meant pushing myself out the door when I really didn't want to face the day.   It meant taking chances, it meant thinking what the heck if I get wet, it meant don't be afraid to go it alone.  It meant many things!  

If you have been a loyal follower for some time, then you would be expecting this graphic.  These are my grand totals for 2016 of kilometers covered and elevation gained for all methods of how I got there.  My X-C Ski totals need some work.  Urban Hike elevation gain is not worth mentioning.

My 2016 Peakery Badge Collection
These are the badges I collected for 2016.  
Some are for "summit again" while others are for my "first summit".  

I keep track of my yearly totals and I like to compare them.  As you can see 2016 is the 2nd lowest out of the seven years.  I realized as autumn approached that it would not be a monumental year like last year.  I did think I could rush and get some big hikes in and save my year in some way but then decided I was quite content with what I had accomplished so far and that I would just go with the flow for the balance of the year.

"OUT & ABOUT in 2017" is ready!   For the first time in seven years of keeping a chart like this, I used fun with friends photos.  Usually the photos are just scenery but its time to acknowledge its my friends that make the day!  These are adventures from 2016.  One friend stated not that long ago that my group photos are always the best group photos.  They sure are my kind of fun! 

I am excited for 2017!  I hope you are too!  I have adventures booked and paid for and others in the workings.  I have the time booked off for some and picking the times for the others.  I will get to meet up with an old friend and get to make new friends.   In between these, I will venture west on a regular basis to my mountain playground where I enjoy taking time to "remember to breathe"!  I want to have great answers to the question "What have you got to show for 2017?"  I wonder too what your answer will be!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Sea to Summit a work in progress

With some much needed down time the last little while, I invested time in working on my "Sea to Summit Wall" project.  I purchased the balance of the man made items that were needed to go with the mother nature made items I am in possession of which I collected over a number of years while being "out & about".  

treasures from the sea

A few months back I picked out beach glass pieces to build a lady standing in summit victory on a mountain top.  This project is now complete with the pieces being glued to a section of canvas and placed in a shadow box frame.   This project is a part of my "Sea to Summit Wall" along with...
 "Are We There Yet"
 "Top of the World"
 I have two other works that already hang on that wall which represent the sea, I will share those at another date.  In the meantime, here are some of the pieces for my next project where there is a place on the wall waiting for them to be hung.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016 Favourites in Photos

More and more I realize how thankful I am to live in a part of this world where I get to experience four seasons every year.  I love every season for a reason.  With the shades partially closing on 2016 (I never want them fully shut as I like to look back) it's time to acknowledge each of its months, each of its seasons, each for a reason.  

January 18, 2016
Bow River, Lake Louise Village, Banff National Park
On a very cold day at Lake Louise, I X-C Skied the Bow River Loop.  It took forever to complete the Loop because of distractions like this.  All that was needed was that bit of blue sky for the open water to offer up its brilliant jewel colored hue, filled with reflections all framed by a layer of virgin snow.

February 2, 2016
Mission Creek Preserve, Palm Springs, California
A mere three hours flight south of Calgary, I hiked to a place so beautifully desolate looking. I think how unique for the dead of winter to look like this.  The trail lead to a section of the Pacific Crest Trail that represents a place where I can let go and just be me.  

March 5, 2016
Lake Minniwanka, Banff National Park
Today was about catching up on a friendship and renewing it.  The ice breaking up on the lake means winter is wearing away and spring is on the way.  With that comes a renewed interest in donning the hiking boots once again and seeking out bare trails to explore. 

April 17, 2016
Barrier Lake, Kananaskis Country, Alberta
I have been to Barrier Lake and Barrier Lake Lookout many many times.  Today I saw them in a  different way which sparked a whole new appreciation.  Bending low for an eye level view at The Lake and then laying low for a nap at The Lookout were new experiences in old places.  

May 8, 2016
Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta
So close but yet so far!  Right smack in the center of the metropolis of Calgary sits Nose Hill Environmental Park.  Paths in that park take me places when I quickly need to escape and get lost.  Simple scenery like this reminds me there is beauty right out my front door.

June 26, 2016
Lake Oesa at Lake O'Hara, Yoho National Park, British Columbia
Getting an opportunity to hike here is like winning the lottery, it's tough to get a winning ticket in. I was blessed to secure one seat on a day that was delightfully dreamy.  I was high enough physically to experience summer snow.  I appreciated every single second of this day!

July 1, 2016
Piegan Pass, Glacier National Park, Montana
There are so many things I enjoy about the United States National Parks especially when the drive for me is only three and a half hours to the trail head of one of the most beautiful hikes.  I shared today's Piegan Pass hike with a Ranger whose work is his pleasure.  

August 7, 2016
Fairview Mountain at Lake Louise, Banff National Park
We had days of miserable weather then an open window in the forecast appeared and I took a chance.   I was rewarded immensely when I hiked up through the clouds hoovering over Lake Louise.  I truly felt like I was "on top of the world".    

September 16, 2016
Black Point, Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia, It's where I feel at home.   Home it will always be!  

October 29, 2016
Pigeon Mountain, near Exshaw Alberta
When I head "out & about" I go prepared for everything.  Sometimes we get everything, sometimes nothing then there are times when you receive unexpected beauty and you realize how lucky you are to not take a gift like this for granted and you "remember to breathe" like you have never before! 

November 12, 2016
Junction Hill, Highwood House, Kananaskis, Alberta
I live so close to mountain playgrounds of all sorts, how fortunate I am.  These foothills present a different experience than the big mountains do.  This day we were afforded a November snow-free trek, rainbows and rays.  I enjoy variety and we received a "pot of gold" full of that today!

December 21, 2016
Bow River, Lake Louise Village, Banff National Park
My beginning and ending of 2016 favourite photos are both of the Bow River at Lake Louise Village.    That says something right there.  I love early morning visits here to experience the colors, the views and the peacefulness.  What a treasure!

I am truly thankful for every opportunity I got to be "out & about" exploring such beautiful places.  

Monday, December 26, 2016

Nose Hill Park December 26, 2016

It was time to fit in a couple of hours of close by "out & about" activity.  You guessed it, off to Nose Hill Park to fill that order.   My hours here would be before the chinook rolled in so that meant many layers of clothing.  Before hitting the trail, I confirmed with the police officer sitting in his cruiser there that things were A.O.K. in the area and he confirmed that was a 10-4.

I had an inviting view to welcome me to Nose Hill Environmental Park.
marking the way
While I was hiking, others were snowshoeing, fat-tire biking, dog walking, sledding, and even X-C Skiing.  I could have used my snowshoes here today.  My very first ever snowshoe outting was right here many many years ago.   It is nice to see this place is well appreciated by so many. 
view to the west
mountain framing
It was quite blustery at times which made for a dramatic look.  
After a couple of hours of wandering here & there, meandering up & down, 
I looked for the way to aim back to where I started trying to incorporate a loop into my day.  
I had success with that finding a route through hills and valleys.  
long shadows
That order was filled now it was time to fill another order...more turkey on that plate please!