Sunday, February 25, 2018

Prairie Mountain February 25, 2018

I love blue in the sky with a blanket of white!  I knew I could have that this afternoon up on Prairie Mountain with light wind added to the mix but I wasn't waiting!  I was raring to huff & puff so got out the door, dark and early, feeling game to deal with whatever was tossed at me.  The wind was wild and the sky looked dull for the drive out.    But, this is what was tossed at me!

I was third in line at parking.  I got decked out inside the car where it was comfortably warm and calm.  I needed my spikes from the moment I set foot on the ground, plus warm layers, hat & mitts.  The huffing and puffing began within a few minutes as soon as I veered off the road onto the trail.  It wasn't long before I shed the heavies which I am always glad to do.  I was even more glad the sky was cheering up.  
The trail was packed snow the entire way but to the side were drifts, big drifts, big beautiful drifts.  Very early on I passed a couple and as I came out into the open a couple was already descending.  You know what that means!  I did the math!  I am going to outright 100% own the summit.
owning the summit 
As usual it was a tough chore to reach the top.  I began just before 8:00 and arrived to hold the flag a little after 9:00.  It was cold and windy up here but that happens more than not and I was prepared.  The blue was bright and the untouched snow even brighter.  It truly was a pretty morning up here.
I took my time in the open section on the way down to admire the snow sculptures.
Mother Nature works wonders!
It has been quite some time since I attacked Prairie Mountain.   There were some things that were new since my last visit.  In two places there are markers to mark the correct way.  I could see why they were put where they were put.  For those hiking here in the dark, they would guide you away from drop offs.
I did not notice this wildlife camera on the way up!  I only noticed it on my way down tucked in a somewhat secluded private spot. Oh! Oh!  I rattled my brain then checked for evidence did I have a private moment myself here?  Oh Oh!  Oh No!  Oh Well!  That's life!

With the Olympics over it's time to get on with my life.  I was missing my dates with the desert then the Olympics came along.  I am sure I will have Olympic withdrawals.  While these games were on I remembered back to the 1988 Calgary Olympics, I will think about and remember these 2018 games and I will now think about where I want to venture to next to make more fun memories.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park February 19, 2018

It's Family Day and I want to play!  We are gifted this day in recognition of sharing time with family and even though I am a family of one here right now, I was still going to celebrate the day in a way that brings joy.  While we are not having our cake and eating it too these days weather-wise, I will take the good driving conditions plus a blue sky and just deal with the -30C Windchill.  With a few hours to fill, I hit Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park,  just a couple of klicks east of Cochrane on the 1A. It was a nice smooth sail which continues to build back up my winter driving confidence.     

I hiked light today but dressed not light at all then went on my way down the hill into the valley where I spent most of my time.  Before heading there I did see there would be no picnicking nor sitting by the fire on this holiday.  
The trail leads to......
wide open spaces
and fenced off places
I ventured over to the other side of the tracks.  I had intentions of going down by the river but the trail  was snow covered, shin high, no one had been and I wasn't going to be the first.  Instead I enjoyed the meadow, I made it snow, burned off energy and then relaxed in the cold sun.   
I hope your day was touched by love of some kind!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Nose Hill Park February 18, 2018

When the going gets somewhat sketchy, I go to where it is never sketchy, Nose Hill Environmental Park which is just a hop, skip and a jump from my front door.  I am still working at getting my nerves back from last weekend's scare so wasn't feeling quite up to aiming for the highway.  180 Minutes hiking around this Park was quite satifying on a morning when the windchill blasted at -28C.  This was as sketchy as it got!
I wanted to be amongst lots of snow and I found it.  
It was winter white, untouched, a crispy layer on top and fluffy puffy underneath.  
This is what it took to stay warm from the cold and protected from the windchill.
There were slopes to ascend with deep snow yet no worries of avalanche activity.
This mountainous formation showed the beginnings of a cornice.  No worries though of being underneath it or on top of it even when it does grow to an overwhelming size, because you see...this mountainous formation is the same boulder in the first photo at the top.
My rebellious side peaked out today as soon as the skier skied by.   Once again no worries, these ski tracks and my foot prints were blown over within a matter of minutes.   I hiked an out and back along here and had to break trail on the way back.
Nose Hill is full of wide open spaces covered in snow.  It looked so inviting and I could not resist.  No one was around so I went for it.  It was deeper than I expected and it was not the easist to get up and out and over without making a mess.  A foot to the side of my angel is a mess.  My angel and my mess will leave no impressions with the way the wind blew the snow today.

Afer making my angel, I thought of the angel who received her wings on Friday and how the impressions from her 55 years will be ever lasting.  To all those who were touched by this angel, may Holly's memories bring smiles and your thoughts of her hugs bring comfort & warmth. 

I'm thankful Nose Hill Park is close to my home.  I was fine with driving there and it was a boost to my confidence to make it there and back with no worries.  

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Confederation Park X-C Ski February 10, 2018

I had such a strong desire to be out in all that great big snow today, 
because deep down inside, 
I am winter!

I did all my home work last evening and refreshed it this morning.  I picked my sport and my destination and made sure the coast was clear to get there.  As all locals know, the city streets are treacherous.  I never did make it to the highway!  I lost my nerves and almost my cookies when a speedster spun out of control beside me and stopped within an inch of hitting my driver side door.  He got himself heading straight then took off speeding again near hitting the car ahead of me.  I pulled off on a side street to gather my composure.  I needed to save this Saturday and it was not going to be continuing with the plan already in place.  

I didn't get to play out in the mountains in that great big snow but I did get to enjoy the early morning peacefulness X-C Skiing at Confederation Park.  It was me and a skate-skier for the first while.  The tracks were groomed last night and I was the first in them this morning.   The sun was coming up as I stepped into the tracks.

Shy of two hours later I aimed for the parking lot which was now about a third full.  I was able to let go of my staying in the city disappointment and be thankful for this wonderful facility right smack in the middle of Calgary at Confederation Park.  Tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

La Quinta California Date with the Desert Thoughts

I arrived early at the Palm Springs International Airport.  It was a smooth sail down the 111.  The car return was quick as was checking in and off loading my luggage to the airlines.  It was nearing noon and already +28C.  What I like most about the Palm Springs airport would be the benches outside in the shade that offer up this view.  I already knew my flight would be late.  The plane was coming from Calgary which was dealing with wild weather.  I sat outside enjoying every last second of +28C as I could because three hours after boarding the plane I would be greeted with -28C when landing in Calgary.  I sat and embraced the weather and the view.
It was by Wednesday when I woke that I felt settled in and relaxed and unwound.  At that point I began to wish my stay was a bit longer.  I forgot that I felt the same in my prior visits to Palm Springs.

I made a list of hikes to choose from to accomplish.  I began opting for others that were not on that list for one reason or another.  My intentions were to include day hikes of sections of the Pacific Crest Trail.  What I had on my list would be hikes that were to add to both ends of the PCT that I have covered so far.  I had success in only adding a few kilometers to the north side of the PCT that I completed from the Mission Creek Preserve area.  This is the full stretch I stitched together that I covered to date.
I have lots of ground to attack.  I would like to connect the dots leading left (south) here to meet up with a portion of the PCT I covered up near Idyllwild.  A part of this goes through the Whitewater Preserve which was closed due to three feral pittbulls in the vacinity.  The Preserve opened two days before my vacation was ending but they believed one dog was still in the area and the others moved on south.  For me on my own, this was a no go.  While hiking the Mission Creek Preseve this time I could have carried on north but used up too much time following an off trail to an overlook area.  I have unfinished business!  I will see what my future holds and if another visit to this area fits in.  
This time I stayed in La Quinta which I truly enjoyed.  I had a sweet suite that came with everything I could possibly want or need.  The views from my balcony were incredible.  Every morning I enjoyed the sunrise with my coffee and every evening I admired the sunset with a beer. 

My dates with the desert showed me a variety of scenery and landscape to hike across.  Some days I came home with my boots full of sand, I got cactus scratches,  plus I got to experience that high I like  to feel from elevation gain.  Some days I owned the areas and other days I politely shared trails with a few others.  I grew up by the ocean, it will always bring me to that feeling of being home and where I belong.  The mountains give me that place to escape from reality and while they look big and rough and rugged and sometimes scary and intimidating, I feel embraced by them which brings comfort.  The desert!  I love it!  I feel a little wild when I play there.  These are some of my favourite photographs and it is sights like this that draw me back down there.
The sun has set on this date with the desert!

I was truly fortunate for my stars to align on this escape and I am thankful for that.  
I came away with many wonderful memories of each date.  

Friday, February 2, 2018

La Quinta CA February 2, 2018 Date with the Desert

I can't remember ever twirling as much as I did on today's  Bear Creek Oasis hike.  I completed this hike a few years back on my first ever trip to this paradise.  I opted to visit it again because now it means something different as it is in the area that I have been seeing every time I look out my front window or sit on my balcony.  I needed a hike close by because I wanted to be out in the midst of it all as today woke up.  I was at the trail head at 6:30am.
The moon was still up, the sun was still behind a mountain peak, the colours were glorious and in amongst all the beauty the coyotes were howling.  It was an eerie feeling so I was comforted there were other people already out doing their morning constitutional.  

To the west was colourfully glowing yet to my left was dramatically dark. I did not want to miss the second the sun shone above the peak.     
The moon seemed to begin moving quickly so I did too.  I wanted to catch it setting between the peaks.  I knew I was witnessing a special sight.

The coyotes were still howling, by now the other people had returned from where they came, for me it was time to get going through the wash and begin the ascent.
                  The tips of the foothills were lightening up.
I wanted to catch the rays the second the sun peeked from behind the peak.  This took a little time.  I moved back and forth trying and trying, I took many many many photos and got one that works for me.
The ascent was so enjoyable with many turns and switchbacks, I was seeing in every direction.  I was excited for every turn.  I could not remember much from when I was here before.

I did remember that eventually I would be high enough that I could see San Jacinto off to the west.  I continued climbing and there it was.  I climbed some more until I reached the high point of the trail.  This would be today's destination so worthy of my summit shot, some snacks, and some time to just be.

After just being, it was time to head back down.  There was so much going on in the sky today.  I thought about all the plane trails and where people may be coming from and how lucky for them.
Boo Hoff is away out there somewhere.  It all looked the same so I was not able to pick exactly where I was the other day.
By standing in this exact spot I was able to line up the cactus to the clouds.

I arrived back down where it was wash time again but did not last long.  I could see two coyotes down the wash coming in my direction so I moved to the right and found a way up onto a low ridge where there was a mountain bike trail and followed it back.

I arrived back at the palm tree picnic area and carried on through back to my car.  
It was a hot day with the heat high even at 6:30am when I started hiking.  Today I didn't mind it, I guess I have acclimatized. I wondered about many things along the way today.  When I am "out & about" soloing not only do I take loads of time to "remember to breathe" I also invest time in working through life's happenings.  I covered lots of ground today physically and mentally.