Earlier this month, Rolf and I hiked to Boom Lake. We’ve done this trip several times over the years. I wrote about one trip here. Since the last time we did the trail, this new boardwalk has been added.
Clear blue skies today!
Lots of wildflowers along the trail. This is Bunchberry Dogwood.
To the west, Mount Quadra . . .
. . . and to east, the “boom” – where an old moraine touches the surface of the water in a crescent to catch driftwood floating past, as if it were a lumber boom.
Here I am at the lake.
The sparkling waters of Boom Lake!
This is a favourite September hike. We had perfect weather and finished off the day with dinner in Banff. Can’t ask for more!
About three weeks ago, I got my first Pfizer vaccine. It was almost anticlimactic. The drugstore had phoned us to set up our appointments. No waiting on the phone, no online forms. We just showed up—and no crowds. Hopefully, the booster shot will be as easy.
After a long locked-down winter, spring has finally hit the prairies. As is usual for Calgary, the daytime temperature fluctuates. We are anywhere from 0 Celsius to 17. Except for the in-town ski hill, Canada Olympic Park (COP), the snow in the city has melted.
But in the mountains, we are at that wonderful time of year when the skiing is perfect. It’s winter snow, but with springtime air temperatures. We were at Sunshine Village yesterday with the best conditions ever.
This is what the sky looked like. Not a cloud in sight.
Of course, still COVID, so must mask. I wore my black one today. At this point, I have several colours to choose from. Even when I get my booster shot, it will be masking as usual.
This sign was by the Standish lift. (Standish lift because it goes up Mt. Standish.)
The Wawash reference is to the Wawa Bowl.
And this is the pause that refreshes.
It was above freezing so you get warm quickly, and thirsty. Besides the water, I also had some Earl Grey tea . . . and a great view of the mountain from the Chimney Corner Lounge.
We picked the right day, going yesterday. Today, it’s socked in at the hill. But, in the city, it’s already up to 14 degrees and the sun is shining.
The robins have returned and when I saw some early this morning, they looked bigger than usual. But, they’re not. When it’s cold, they puff up their feathers to stay warm. (It’s called rousing.)
Although we could still get another snowstorm, things are looking good. The trees are budding and the tulips are poking up.
Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying the signs of spring.
Pfizer from Depositphotos_426520962
Last Wednesday we went skiing at Sunshine Village for the first time this season. And, for me, for the first time in three years. Almost one year ago, I got my new hip.
For a whole year before my surgery, I could hardly walk, let alone ski.
My surgeon told me it was okay to ski since I already know how. (Probably not a good idea to take up skiing after a hip replacement, but who knows?)
So, new hip. And also, COVID-19 restrictions.
You have to wear a mask in the lineups. Although, on a Wednesday in January, there aren’t a lot of people there. Still, there are times you might be within six feet of someone else. So, masks. The gondolas can carry six people, but you only ride up with your own group, which was just me and Rolf.
Sunshine Village with COVID-19 restrictions: This is what Sunshine has to say:
Face coverings or face masks are mandatory to ride, or wait for, any of the lifts. The face covering can be a non-medical mask, a face warmer or a buff, and resort staff will be monitoring visitors for compliance.
Wearing a mask was not a big hardship. I mean, consider all the other stuff we have to wear – helmets, goggles, layers and layers of clothing. Rolf only wore his mask in the lineups. I found it easier to just keep it on. And bonus, it blocked the wind from hitting my nose.
view from the top of Standish
We had good temperatures, about minus 8 throughout the day. This is a “Canadian nice” for January. It was a bit windy on the lifts but that’s usual. The snow was good with good coverage.
And the sun was shining. In the morning, there was only one tiny little cloud in the sky. By late afternoon, more clouds showed up.
lots of sunshine at Sunshine Village
Rolf stayed with me on my first run to make sure I was okay. Of course, I remembered how to ski. It’s like remembering how to ride a bicycle. But it felt different on my operative side. I guess some of those muscles are still weak. I don’t notice the weakness with walking, but making turns, I do notice it. Plus, it just felt weird. A strange sensation. By the end of the day, that strangeness went away and I was just tired, as you usually are after a good day of skiing.
On the website – skibanff.com – we learned that there were designated shelters set up for skiers and boarders to warm up in and to eat lunch while remaining seated. There are hosts on duty to manage capacity and to disinfect tables.
There’s no table service anywhere on the hill, but lots of Grab and Go food and beverages that you can purchase and take into one of the shelters. The usual eateries, like Trappers and the Day Lodge, have food for sale. There is also a Tenn Roof Co. Taco Truck.
We had heard that the Chimney Corner Lounge was only open to hotel guests, and we were disappointed because we always eat there. But, turns out, the Chimney Corner was open on Wednesday—with hardly anyone in there.
empty Chimney Corner Lounge
The greeter is behind plexiglass. You give your name and phone number in case they need it for COVID-19 tracing. Through a slot in the plexiglass, she passes you a tall bottle of water and glasses and napkin-wrapped cutlery.
Then you pick a table. Probably two-thirds of the tables have been removed. A QR code is laminated onto the table. You use your phone to check out the menu.
Then go back to the front, order, and they give you a pager. When your food is ready, you go to a pickup window.
pick up food here
So, it’s all done without wait staff.
We both got the Beef Burger—Alberta Chuck, Bourbon BBQ Sauce, Smoked Cheddar, Crisp Lettuce, Tomato and Garlic Aioli. And we each got a cup of the spicy Tomato Bisque plus a big order of fries. I love ski food.
In the morning, I was on Angel and Standish. After lunch, I skied another hour and a half with more time on Standish, then another run on Angel and then I went to the easy hill—Strawberry. Meanwhile, Rolf went up the Divide and did moguls.
By late afternoon, more clouds showed up.
At this time of year, the sun falls behind the mountains early, so the light is better up high. Right now, the lifts only run until four o’clock. Later in the season, they will go till four-thirty.
I was done by three o’clock. Rolf skied almost another hour more, almost until the lifts turned off.
In the meantime, I went to the Java Lift Coffee Bar for my usual half-sweet vanilla latte – and a butter tart. Yum! Then I sat outside and enjoyed the fresh air, and the sunshine, and the peace.
I hope you are coping with the restrictions of COVID-19 and I hope you are getting lots of Outdoor Time!
winter decoration in the Chimney Corner Lounge
QR image on phone from Depositphotos #14697937
All other images from Suzanne’s trusty phone
On 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.
Meet my Ontario friends! Here they are 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.
Water glistening on the limestone rock.
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.
And later, we watched the aspenglow.
The five of us stayed at a beautiful condo in Canmore with this view of the Three Sisters.
Gourmet dinner was prepared by these talented ladies.
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!
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”. 🙂
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.
Thank you to Caroline, Glenda, Francine and Sharlene for an excellent slice of life!
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:
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.
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