Opium Dens. Rum Runners and mobsters. Paint thinner and the Blind Pigs. A corrupt, scandalized, polygamist AND wanted-criminal for its longest serving mayor. Unbelievable racial tension. The site of Canada’s first drug bust. Massive, incredibly violent multi-day race riots.
Talk about an incredibly checkered past for such a beautiful, modern city!
When we were recently in Vancouver we went on a fascinating walking tour with “Forbidden Vancouver” where we heard stories that brought alleyways and buildings, street corners and intersections, neon signs and historical figures to life. Read More
The Bow Valley is an incredible playground. A landscape feature that follows the Bow River as it winds its way down from the huge Bow Glacier in the Canadian Rockies near Lake Louise, the Bow Valley wraps Canmore & Banff in pine forested valleys, and protects those iconic townsites with magnificent, towering, sawtoothed peaks like a fringe around its edges.
When it comes to playing in the Bow Valley, hiking and scrambling your way up Heart Mountain is a right of passage, sort of like hiking up Ha Ling, a popular hike that perches you high atop the Canmore Town site. Both are challenging as their elevation gains happen over very short distances, as the ravens fly.
Heart Mountain, and in particular, the more difficult Heart Mountain Horseshoe traverse, is better than Ha Ling. Hands down. With its spectacular views of the outer edges of the rockies extending in 3 directions, and views of the prairies rolling out to the east in the fourth, it is a far more fun “check-in” hike to do each year. It’s slightly more difficult (read that as seriously fun!) with climbing sections that have a bit of exposure…. making it way more challenging, and far more of an adventure than simply a grueling hike…. and it has the bonus of being less crowded, once you leave the Up-To-The-Peak-and–Back-Down-Again day trippers behind. Read More
Vancouver is, perhaps the most beautiful city in all of Canada. We were fortunate enough to spend a week there for my husband’s work recently, and I plan to highlight some of my favourite experiences there in the next couple of posts.
Armchair travellers take note: as far as Canadian urban destinations go, with its food scene, its architecture, its active lifestyle, its incredible parklands, its hordes of coffee shops, and its fresh fish (did I mention the food scene!?), it’s right up there at the top of the heap of places to put on your bucket list! Read More
Fancy talking about what I want to be when I grow up at a time like this… our daughter has just finished her university undergrad degree. She’s the one growing up, not me… right?
In many ways, my baby IS grown up. After her last exam, she decided (with a lot of persistent prodding from me, I’ll admit), to go through her room and tidy up a bit. You see, she is a hoarder and I am most definitely a purger on the spectrum… and therein lies some persistent conflict which I’ve struggled to keep in check over the years. Read More
Bill and I celebrated Canada Day (July 1st) last year by heading outdoors and enjoying one of the things we love most about this amazing country that we live in: it’s great, big, wide open wilderness spaces. If you are planning on visiting our incredible National Parks this year, on Canada Day, be warned: this is Canada’s 150th Birthday, and all Canadians have free access to National Parks passes this year, so it is expected to be very, very busy. (If you are Canadian, and want to get your free parks pass, you need to order them ahead of time as they won’t be available at the park gates, so click HERE.)
In case you are wondering where to escape the hordes this Canada Day, here’s an idea: trek on up Wasootch Ridge in Kananaskis Country’s Wildland Provincial Park (on the eastern edge of Banff National Park) as we did last season. There were wide expanses of wilderness to see, heights to climb (like a series on mini mountain peaks), a picnic spot with tremendous views, and some terrific sunshine. Along the ridge itself, we only came across a handful of scattered hikers, so it was a great escape and adventure. Read More
An interesting thing happened to me yesterday that got me really thinking, and pondering times and trips gone by. A wonderful young woman, a very good friend of my daughter’s, is finishing up university and heading off travelling to Europe, backpacking with a friend. Talk about an exciting adventure! Oh, to re-live our year long backpack trip way back in 1989! She wrote this to me:
“Hi Sheri, in about 21 days, I’ll be heading off to Europe for two and a half months. Emily told me that you’ve been quite a few times. I also love reading your blog, so I was wondering if you had any tips, tricks, and suggestions about backpacking in Europe. “
Seamus & I went for one of our exercise walks today… nothing special, just a wee hike we’ve done countless times before. Because we hike there often, my mind tends to wander and novelty… the idea of seeing and experiencing something new… doesn’t snap it back to reality.
We’ve had an unfortunate cold snap, of late, with temps plummeting down into the minus 20’s (that is, around -25C or -13F), just when spring is supposed to be upon us. With the amount of daylight increasing rapidly, it is nice and bright at 7:30am now (where it used to seem as though it was the middle of the night, when the clock face read the same in the depths of December). So those extra minutes of daylight we’re gaining each day, at a rate of about 3 minutes a day where we live, is such a tease when it is so cold!
UGH. I am so ready for spring, I’ll tell ya!
These rather bleak thoughts were going through my head as I was hiking up the Highline. But there’s only so long that this kind of negativity can pull you in… when the exercise endorphins start to kick in, when the rhythm of your footsteps work their trance-like magic, and when you begin to be aware, visually, of your surroundings, like the dawning of a new day, creeping up on you.
The snowfall, of late, has been coming in horizontally, driving its way through the forest canopy and catching itself on the tree trunks. The resulting patterns it has created on the roughness of the tree bark, the hairs of the lichen and moss and the expiration of the trees (I imagine them actually breathing) are beautiful. These features have created sticky patches that have snagged themselves lines of snow… but only on one side of each tree trunk, throughout the forest.
And then there are the faces, staring out at you, from the trunks alongside the trail…
It’s hard to keep miserable when faced with smiley tree sprites all around you. Or maybe it’s just the cold temps, and the prolonged winter, messing with my head and driving me a little bit insane!