/*from pinterest*/

A Walk in the Park

Upper Falls Johnston CanyonOn Thursday, I visited Banff National Park with some friends from Ontario. We hiked to the Upper Falls at Johnston Canyon, then toured the town of Canmore.

I usually do this hike when the snow is gone. On this day, May 25, it was still slushy in parts. I found my walking sticks were useful to keep from slipping.

slushy catwalk

Meet my Ontario friends! Here they are at the Lower Falls.

Ontario friends at the Lower Falls

This is the view looking down at the Lower Falls. We walked into the cave for a closeup of the water crashing into the pool below.

the Lower FallsWater glistening on the limestone rock.

water on the rocks

Snowy in May.

Following our hike, we were revived at the JK Bakery in Canmore.


Turkey and all the vegetables on multigrain with tomato basil soup. Perfectly delicious.

We walked around the town, visited a Farmers Market and admired the wall art.

wall art in Canmore

And later, we watched the aspenglow.



The five of us stayed at a beautiful condo in Canmore with this view of the Three Sisters.

The Three Sisters

Gourmet dinner was prepared by these talented ladies.

gourmet dinner

These shooters are called “mini beers” and were useful for cheering on the Ottawa Senators in the Stanley Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference final game. I didn’t have any of the “mini-beers” because it’s necessary to down one in a single gulp and that just didn’t seem right.

Too bad Ottawa didn’t win, but it was an entertaining game with two periods of overtime. Congratulations Penguins!

mini beers

A fair amount of wine was consumed. This is a partial sample of what was available. And, no Alan, we didn’t get into the really “expensive stuff”. 🙂

wine, yum!

The next morning, I sat on the balcony with my tea, admired the mountains with clear blue skies and felt like all was well with the world.

clear blue skies

Thank you to Caroline, Glenda, Francine and Sharlene for an excellent slice of life!


The New Me

The New Me


I finally got another profile picture. What do you think?

My last one was from 2011—taken by the University of Calgary people when I was enrolled in Spanish classes there. Now, five years and one grandson later, I am embracing my grey and silver and white and blonde hair. It’s like having natural highlights. Mother Nature has given me changing colour.

Besides the new ‘me’ you will notice a new layout for my website. I used to blog more often, and maybe I will again, but for the time being I am heavily involved with the Thurston Authors. I will tell you more about the project next week. Right now, I can let you know we are launching our first book on September 29th.  My book is the ninth in the series and it will be released on November 24th. Here’s the cover:

The Thurston Heirloom

My book is set in the month of September. That background image on the cover is of Larch Valley in Banff National Park, Canada. In autumn, the Larch turn golden and lose their needles.

Larch Valley

Yes, these trees that look like evergreens lose their needles.

There are several ways of classifying trees. One is by hardwood or softwood. Another is by the leaves and seed production—in other words, the tree is deciduous or coniferous. Deciduous comes from the Latin ‘to fall’ and means the trees lose their leaves in the autumn and are bare during the winter. Usually we think of maples and oaks when we think of deciduous trees. Deciduous trees change colour in the autumn, turning red or yellow or orange.

A coniferous tree bears seeds in cones.

An evergreen keeps its leaves (needles) year round, and as such, it is the complete opposite of a deciduous tree. Pine, fir and spruce are evergreens. They are also conifers.

But not all conifers are evergreens. Some of them, like the Larch, are deciduous conifers.  Mother Nature has created what looks like an evergreen and has let it change colour.

The Larch typically grow in the cool temperate zones and high in the mountains. Every year, a huge number of hikers head to Larch Valley to see the trees change colour.

Have you ever been to Larch Valley? Do you like watching the leaves change colour. Do you colour your hair?

Larch Valley image from bigstockphoto.com # 127344314

Boom Lake

Boom Lake

Quadra Mountain and Bident Mountain at the end of the lake

Yesterday Rolf and I hiked the five kilometre (3.2 mile) trail to Boom Lake in Banff National Park. There’s an elevation gain of about 175 metres (575 feet) and it’s nice, gradual climb.

mushroomsWe’ve had a wet summer this year, so the trail was muddy in places, but nothing serious.

flowers along the wayThe rain has provided lots of moisture for the vegetation.

Boom MountainWe had lunch sitting beside the lake and looking up at Boom Mountain.

Suzanne and RolfHere are Suzanne and Rolf. They play minor characters in my next book THE THURSTON HEIRLOOM which will be released on November 24th.

clear cold waterBoom Lake has clear cold water and good fishing.

the "boom" for Boom Lake

“the boom”

Near its east end, the lake flows over an old moraine that barely touches the surface. The crescent-shaped moraine extends just beneath the water and catches the driftwood floating down the lake, thus creating what looks like a lumber boom. For this reason, the lake is called Boom Lake.

I love hiking, especially in the Rocky Mountains. I love the views and the quiet and the way the air smells. Hiking is one of the best ways I have found to relax, rejuvenate and reorganize my mind. Plus, it’s pretty good exercise.

Autumn in Banff

Autumn in Banff

Yesterday was officially the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, a time referred to as the Autumnal Equinox. An equinox occurs about March 20 and about September 22. On this date, day and night are each about 12 hours long. This is an approximation because it depends on where you are on the planet.

The word equinox comes from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night).

To celebrate the equinox, and just because we wanted to, we spent the day in Banff.

After all the snow we had in the second week of September, the Indian Summer is beautiful. Nights are cool, days are warm, there is no wind and the sky has that haziness of autumn. We drove the hour and a half to Banff townsite and parked by Central Park. Walking along the trail by the Bow River, we passed the canoe docks.

boat house beside the Bow River in Banff

boat house beside the Bow River in Banff

 At this time of year, all the silt has dropped out of the river and the waters are green and sparkling.

The path links with the Fenland Trail, a 2 Km loop that winds through a forest of white spruce along Forty Mile Creek.

autumn in Banff

Forty Mile Creek

Forty Mile Creek

Forty Mile Creek

Forty Mile Creek

Vermillion Lakes, Banff

Vermillion Lakes, Banff

When we reached the creek, we crossed over and followed Vermillion Lakes Drive to the dock.

Vermillion Lakes, Banff

Vermillion Lakes, Banff

Perfect weather. Not too hot, not too cool. No bugs, since we are past the first frost.

Vermillion Lakes

Here I am, at the Vermillion Lakes

We relaxed, watched the ducks getting ready to migrate and enjoyed the sun and sparkling water.

Vermillion Lakes BanffReturning the way we came, we finished off the Fenland Loop.

We completed the day with a stroll along Banff Avenue, had a salad at McDonald’s and then—to make it a balanced diet—we had ice cream at Cow’s, Canada’s best ice cream. They make it in Prince Edward Island and my current favourite flavour is Moo Henry.

I love Banff any day, but on a Monday, it is relatively quiet. There are still lots of tourists, but no crowds for the in between seasons of Summertime and Skiing.

Autumn in Banff

Bow River by Banff townsite

Today, I am back at my desk, refreshed and renewed, and ready to open the Work in Progress.

Head Mya 6 – My New Skis!

Head Mya 6 – My New Skis!

Last Friday was our first day of skiing for the season. We drove the hour and a half to Sunshine Village, rode up the gondola and stepped out into a perfect winter day: sunny with the temperature hovering right around zero Celsius.

I love January snow. It’s soft and creamy, and often referred to as Hero Snow, because you can do no wrong in this kind of snow.

This year I have new skis. Head Mya 6. Every time I get new skis, they are lighter and shorter and wider than my old ones. At the rate skiing technology is going, skiers will soon be skiing with a snowboard on each foot. 😉

Sunshine VillageWhat I mostly noticed was that I was going very fast. My first two runs were from the top of the Angel to the lift, without stopping—which is unusual for me. In fact, I was faster than Rolf, but he was taking harder runs. I stayed with green all day, except for up on Divide where it’s black but I can do black as long as there are no bumps. And with these new skis, my hubby says I’m carving better than ever.

After those first few runs, I started to get tired and needed to take more breaks on the way down. By lunch time, I was definitely ready for food. We always eat at the Chimney Corner Lounge and I had the gluten free pizza with roasted zucchini and Portobello mushrooms.

gluten free pizza with roasted zucchini and Portobello mushroomsThen I skied another hour and came in for a mocha latte. After all, half the fun of skiing is eating. Rolf stayed out longer but even he was getting tired by four o’clock. Neither of us had the energy for the ski-out so we hopped on a purple gondola and got carried down.

I’m already looking forward to our next trip.

How’s your winter going?